Review: Rudimental, Forest Live, Thetford Forest, June 30

Rudimental were at Thetford last night

Rudimental were at Thetford last night - Credit: Archant

Two years ago Rudimental were performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury when it was powered down because an electrically charged storm was exploding overhead.

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Their set was cut midway through and fans started to disappear in search of stages offering some form of shelter from the elements.

But they came back and worked harder than ever to revive the moment, and succeeded.

Last night the group played the opening night of the much smaller, much more sedate Forest Live concerts at High Lodge, Thetford.

Did their unique blend of drum and bass, house, soul and dance translate to the more intimate venue?


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Was there ever any doubt?

We were all well prepared for a downpour – and potentially another scene like that of Glastonbury 2014 - but someone was looking down on us because we were instead afforded a balmy summer evening.

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It was the kind of evening that organisers must have had in mind when they gave birth to the Forest Live concept – families, couples, groups of friends all lounging on tartan rugs and camping chairs lazily grazing as they watched the support acts on stage.

The earlier picnics were suddenly forgotten and the ambience switched from calm to mock-festival as Rudimental arrived and launched into Right Here.

They sounded good, bringing a clear sound to the entire arena area and their energy was contagious.

They used the customary two track intro before rolling out Not Giving In, knowing this would crack the audience if nothing else had.

They didn’t need it, we were there with them, jumping around in an eclectic mix of wellies, flip flops and slightly grubby trainers – no-one really knew what the evening would throw at us weather-wise.

Jumpers and waterproofs were cast aside as we realised the rain was holding off and a festival air descended.

The Forestry Commission have worked hard to fine tune these summer concerts, bringing a mix of music over the four nights, perfecting the AV and continuing to allow chairs and picnics when so many other pop-up alfresco venues have now banned them.

And they work. It was never going to be a repeat of Glasto 2014, the crowd are older, more reserved and have not connected with one another as you do when you live side-by-side in a muddy field for three days.

But they bring a taste of that festival fun to a beautiful corner of Suffolk for four nights a year, allow those who love live music, but hate the concept of camping and long drops, to dip into that experience.

Rudimental closed the night with a two-song encore, although the delay was slightly too long for some and they sadly left expecting the set to have finished.

Sadly, they missed the best of Rudimental. The last two hits were electric.

James Bay plays tonight, Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott are live tomorrow and Simply Red close the series on Sunday.

We will, no doubt, be back next year.

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