‘The perfect soundtrack to your Sunday’
Citadel is a fabulous day festival plonked in the middle of West London! This fantastic festival was one I’d never been to before, but with the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen, Friendly Fires, Bears Den and Jade Bird performing, along with its family-friendly nature, wealth of activities on offer (including yoga, educational talks and prosecco on tap), it was bound to be a banging Sunday!
Citadel Festival is located in Gunnersbury Park, a stone’s throw from Acton Town tube station so getting there for me was easy. As I am based in South West London (Wimbledon) anyway, so getting to Gunnersbury Park was surprisingly easy. Only a short walk from Acton Town tube station, it was very easy to find and there were signposts and festival staff dotted about that could provide directions if needed. Not only that, they had provided toilets en route which was great as it meant you didn’t have to wait until you were inside and past security to break the seal!
As I was Press the entry process for me was slightly different, but I picked up my Press wristband at the box office with no problems or queues whatsoever and wondered through to security. There were plenty of staff on hand to check bags and tickets and so again, even in the general admission lanes, there weren’t huge queues of people.
As with most day festivals, there was no re-entry and so wristbands to general admission ticket holders were not given out. However, accessibility and Press did get them to distinguish the specific ticket type which was nice – I always openly admit that I do love a wristband, so I am glad I got one – it’s always a nice little memento of the day.
Gunnersbury Park as a venue was great. It was big enough for you to feel like there was enough space to explore, but not so big that you felt like you had to prepare for a voyage to get from stage to stage, the toilets, or to find a specific food vendor/bar.
There was a fantastic little woodland walk-through area between the two main fields which housed some yummy food options and cool cocktail bars which I have to admit, I sampled. It also meant that there was plenty of shady spots to relax in when the sun decided to make an appearance. However I must say towards the end of the day, this area was pretty dusty, but nothing to cry home about.
What I did like was the layout of the festival! You could walk through small archways or through woodland areas and pop out into another little area which made it exciting to walk around and explore. I really liked that everywhere you turned you could find another avenue to another area – it made the site really interesting.
On another note, there were plenty of toilets and water points scattered around the festival site and all were well signposted so as well as being interesting to explore, the site was also practical and well thought out.
There was a vast array of food options available at Citadel Festival. Anna Mae’s Mac & Cheese was a personal favourite, I got the Don Macaroni option and had ZERO REGRETS, it was DELICIOUS. If mac and cheese isn’t your vibe, then perhaps crispy duck wraps, Indian, Mexican, burgers, buddha bowls, jerk chicken, churros, cookie dough, vegan wraps, burritos and more, might have wet your appetite.
There were plenty of bars at Citadel! The queuing system was fantastic at the main bars which meant that it wasn’t a free for all – a snake-like queuing system was in place which managed the numbers and meant that you actually got served pretty quickly once you were at the front.
Bars were well staffed and had good drinks options available at reasonable prices. A pint of beer or cider was £6, a glass of wine was £6, prosecco was slightly higher at £9, and mixers & spirits ranging from £6-£9.50. The only thing I would have liked would have been blackcurrant cordial/squash – I like a cider black and they didn’t have the squash available to make this which is a shame as I think for a lot of people it is a festival favourite.
There were also great speciality bars onsite like prosecco on tap, cocktail vans and even a little area with a DJ which was sponsored by Smirnoff selling delicious vodka soda combinations which are always a welcome relief from cider and beer (as much as I love them).
Citadel Festival had a great lineup of music for the Indie, alternative rock fans amongst us. If you are into your house, techno, trance, R&B, soul etc then this festival isn’t for you. Sunday saw Catfish and The Bottlemen, Jade Bird, Bastile, Friendly Fires, Bears Den, The Coronas, Honeyblood and more take centre stage!
One band that I had never seen before but actually really enjoyed were Dream Wife. If you like bands like Wolf Alice then you will love these guys. Heaps of energy and singing about feminism, racism and supporting the LGBT+ community meant you could really feel them singing from the heart and it was great!
Of course, as always, a fantastic and high energy set by Friendly Fires was a must-see! Everyone was bouncing along to the beat and thoroughly enjoying the quite frankly outrageous dancing and liquid hips of Ed Mac!
The Coronas put on a great performance, playing some of the favourites which made everyone get up on their feet. I have been listening to their music for a while now but until now, I have never seen them live and I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed.
Having just seen Bastile at Glastonbury I knew they would be good! They always use the stage so well, putting on almost live theatre in front of you with the use of steps and spinning stages and props – it was an action-packed set that’s for sure. Dan (lead singer) also celebrated his birthday at Citadel and you could tell at the end of their set that emotion got the better of him. Tearing up, he thanked the crowd for their energy and you could see just how much it meant to him!
Bears Den were FANTASTIC! I absolutely adore their music, and considering they have a song called ‘Sophie’, how could I not love them! They didn’t play on the mainstage which I thought was a shame, but a tent made for a really intermate feel to their set. Having said that, the tent was bursting at the seams with the amount of people inside, so hopefully next time (yes I hope they play there again) they will be on the main stage so that all those that were sitting on the grass at the main stage with a drink, could enjoy their music too.
The headliners – Catfish and The Bottlemen – WOW. I have never seen them live before so didn’t know what to expect, but the buzz in the crowd, the talent on that stage and the beautiful sun-lit sky behind the main stage made for a breathtaking set!
Ok, so I have one small niggle… Sound – TURN UP THE VOLUME!
The sound quality itself was great, however, unless you were centre stage at the main stage and near-ish to the front, the music was really too quiet! I understand that the festival is in an urban location and it’s a Sunday, however, the music finishes relatively early so TURN UP THE VOLUME PLEASE! I did feel that especially during Bastiles set, where I was stood towards the side of the stage, the music should have been much much louder. You could hear conversations and talk to the person next to you really easily considering you were at a festival main stage!
Kids and Families…
The one thing I noticed at Citadel was the number of kids and families that were there, some with TINY babies! The festival was very accommodating for families and had plenty to keep kids occupied. There was plenty of space around the main stage where families could sit and enjoy the music without being in the crush of the main action at the front.
There was a Pepper Pig meet and greet, kids yoga, storytime with a drag queen and much more on offer specifically in place to entertain the little ones which I thought was fantastic!
More than just the music…
Citadel Festival had so much more on offer than just the music. There was yoga, educational talks, comedy, a 70’s disco workout, Reggae aerobics and Hoola Hooping lessons all happening whilst the stages and tents were in full swing. I loved the variety on offer throughout the day as it meant that if a band or performer didn’t take your fancy, there was always something you could get involved in or watch!
Would I recommend it?
Apart from the volume of the main stage needing to be cranked up a few notches, I thought it was a fantastic way to spend a Sunday and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fab Sunday day out filled with music, cold drinks and fun activities for the whole family!