Festival Review: One Day Only – Manning House (21.11.15)

For years now Sydney hip-hop collective One Day, made up of seven high school mates, have been running their One Day Sundays and watching it grow into a nation-wide success. Touted as “block parties”, the events often sell out and demand has pushed them from venue to venue as capacity stretches to the limit. It then only makes sense that they channel this collective curatorial talent into a boutique festival for the spring, and that’s exactly what they did for One Day Only, a music festival held inside and outside of Sydney University’s Manning House with a massive list of local and international acts spanning hip hop and electronica.

Unfortunately, I could only stay for half-day on the picture perfect Sydney Saturday but that was more than enough to soak up the general atmosphere One Day and their long list of friends gifted attendees. Whether it was spacing out on the lawn eating one of the perfect AF burgers from Mister Gee (their first festival stall mind you) and watching live graffiti from Australian and international artists, or watching acts like Thandi Phoenix, Left and Jimblah play early sets on the main stage, the vibe was tight and this definitely had the feeling of one, big, communal house party.

The two courtyard stages on the bottom floor were split by the day’s dominant styles of contemporary hip-hop (One Day Sundays Stage) and electronica (Peacock Garden) to give people some variety. DJ duo Lazer Gunne Funke drew people in with tracks from Fabolous, Toni Braxton, and Busta Rhymes at the front of Manning House while the back courtyard was set-up for DJs like True Vibenation’s Klue who dropped his silky, spring-appropriate productions like the garage-leaning “Way I’m Lovin’ You”.

One Day themselves took to the main stage at 4:30pm and all of the sudden it turned from a casual most-people-are-rocking-up-later party to a frenetic wall-to-wall hip hop concert, all seven artists on stage taking us through a high-energy performance of tracks from 2014’s Mainline. The reggae-inflected “S.D.R.O” was a perfect showcase of how they can lift even the most chilled out track and turn it into a monstrous live jam, Joyride especially directing a lively crowd through the hook, which they had no problems echoing right back at the bassy crooner.

The success of One Day as a live collective really relies on their on-stage chemistry, which feels natural and flows throughout the set, each knowing when to rap in harmony with everyone else for added effect, or let each just do his thing and go in on the mic. The five emcees (Kai, Solo, Jimmy Nice, Nick Lupi, Joyride) and two producers (Raph and Adit) complement each other perfectly, a collective talent that can only come with the history they share, all of which adds greatly to the effect they have and which is why this felt as wild as a headline set at some large-scale festival. It probably helped that almost everyone in the crowd were rapping every single word back at them.

It seemed around 6pm was the time most had picked to rock up to the festival; I overheard that many were in the queue for hours. This could have been due to the surprisingly excessive police presence, but once everyone was in the dancefloors went from roomy, easy-going spots to scenes of unrestrained turn up. At this point I had to duck away from all the action, but those who stayed on were treated to undoubtedly huge moments from The Meeting Tree, M-Phazes, Jackie Onassis, and headliners Anderson.Paak and P-Money.