With performances from Solange, Anderson. Paak and the Free Nationals, Action Bronson, ABRA and a host of other artists, Paris’s Bois de Vincennes this year played generous host to the fifth edition of the city’s eco-friendly We Love Green festival. Yet, despite the self-evident size and weight of the 2017 lineup, even among those intimately familiar with the European festival circuit — that’s your Primaveras, your Sonárs, your Field Days, etc. — We Love Green is a relative unknown outside of France, and perhaps even outside of Paris. But, having watched people from all over the world thoroughly enjoying themselves over the course of its two days, it’s hard to contest the suggestion that — as of now — what we have on our hands is a fully-fledged contender.
After some early disappointment owing to the cancelation of A Tribe Called Quest‘s much-anticipated appearance — you can thank Q-Tip‘s shoulder injury for that, by the way — still-heavy hearts were lifted in the blistering 88-degree heat on Saturday night when Solange made her inimitable presence felt. Having lost her wardrobe and backdrop en-route — for that one you can thank a certain airline — a stripped-back affair enhanced, rather than hampered, a sublime performance of politically and personally charged R&B and soul, accented by minimal choreography and what may well have been a line of bright red Zara basics. Later on Justice predictably delivered their signature brand onu-disco to a rapturous home crowd in the dwindling light, dropping ‘We are Your Friends’ to frenetic reaction, yet — unforgivably and to 360° looks of utter dismay — cutting ‘D.A.N.C.E.’ from the show altogether.
For anyone that knows Action Bronson it won’t be a surprise to hear that — playing in Paris, after all — he gave a shout-out to côtes de bœuf. It probably won’t be too much of a surprise, either, to hear that — complete with a portion of beats and a heavy side of bars — he served up some serious meat of his own. Or that it was swallowed whole by an eager crowd who could probably have managed another course. For those in the audience still hungry for more, Anderson. Paak and the Free Nationals dug deep into their neo-soul pockets — turning up every last piece of swagger they had on them — in a performance emblematic of all the best things that genre has to offer, Paak himself dancing so consistently for the duration that he may well have briefly become a liquid — the pure personification of groove, with a setlist to more than adequately back it up. The perfect accompaniment to a Sunday-night sunset in Paris.
For anyone confused about what exactly an eco-festival is, the best way to describe it is probably to mention the sawdust in the toilets and the distinct lack of any litter elsewhere — but, given the strength of this year’s showing, we expect you might just want to find out about We Love Green for yourself next time.