This year's We Love Green Festival, which made a welcome return to Paris' Bois de Vincennes, had its work cut out following last year's environmentally-friendly triumph. Impressively, they met the challenge head on, repeating and in some cases surpassing their mission to provide a sustainable festival. Talks, panels and debates were held throughout the day as the increasingly pressing issue of climate change loomed over us all, not least because of the barely manageable heat. It wasn't just words either, solar panels could be seen dotted around the festival site and recycling the festival's plastic cups (the only containers available) was rewarded, cardboard was kept to a minimum and glass was nowhere to be seen.
In terms of music, We Love Green 2019 had a varied line-up that included a deft balance of hip-hop, pop, rock, indie, house and techno, soul, R&B, calypso and more. The billing was also pretty flawless, sound bleeding between stages was minimal and there weren't really any artists who you felt were on too small or too large a stage. Not only that, but depending on your tastes, there weren't that many clashes and despite the 80,000 people who descended on Bois de Vincennes that weekend, it never felt crowded.
Special mention has to first go to South Londoner Flohio who repped hard for the UK and introduced Parisians to that part of London's impressive rap pedigree. Despite being on one of the smaller stages, Flohio managed to whip up one of the weekend's most intense moshpits (impressive given the punk and rave acts that dominated the festival).
Erykah Badu was on fine form: a streamlined and mesmerising performance with very little pause between tracks and a captivating run through her hits (with some well-received deep cuts thrown in for good measure). Trinibago legend Calypso Rose was an underrated treat too, played some much needed T&T heaters, including, of course, "Calypso Queen", which went down very well under the sweltering Parisian sun.
FKA Twigs provided one of the most talked about highlights with a huge crowd swarming to catch her acrobatic, theatric display. All the highlights from LP1 still packed the punch they did when the album first came out and the more recent "Cellophane" proved without doubt that even after a couple of years of no music, it was as if she'd never left.
The dance tent was the place to be for much of the weekend. Masterful sets from Marie Davidson, SebastiAn (with a special appearance from recent collaborator Gallant), Laurient Garnier, Ricardo Villalobos (who eschewed the leftfield in favour of the bangers we hoped for) and Peggy Gou were impossible to tear yourself away from. But it was Mr. Oizo (and Flat Eric) who stole the show. Everything from trance to gabber to bassline and, of course, his signature fidget electro tunes like "Flat Beat" were crammed in, leaving us all feeling worn out and sweaty by the end.
Tame Impala closed out Sunday with style. Whether you knew every last track or not, it didn't really matter; and besides, finishing off the set with both Eventually and Same Old Mistakes, with almost the entire crowd gathered, was the perfect end. Even from our vantage point, way at the back, the almost euphoric effect was just as potent as if we'd been front and centre.
Being one of the central dates in Paris' summer calendar, and with 80,000 attendees flooding in this year, hotels and hostels fill out pretty early. Our advice would be to hit up Mama Shelter; it's a pretty direct route to the festival and since most artists tend to stay there, you have a solid chance of "accidentally" bumping into them at breakfast.