Festival Review: British Summer Time - Bruno Mars | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Festival Review: British Summer Time – Bruno Mars

Amelia Hiller journeyed to Hyde Park's British Summer Time for a day of sun and music headlined by pop sensation Bruno Mars and told us all about it

The British Summer Time festival has been an annual occurrence in Hyde Park since 2013 and this year it was held over two July weekends. As well as some big names in music, BST boasts outdoor film screenings (this year also showed the England vs. Croatia World Cup semi-final), street food stalls, bars and a funfair. I travelled to London on 14 th July ready to watch Bruno Mars headline in the scorching heat.

Having had 'Cake By The Ocean' by DNCE in my head for the entire summer of 2016, I was buzzing to hear it live in the sun
Live music didn’t start until later in the afternoon so I had some time to explore the festival site beforehand. I could tell that there was something for everyone at BST as I spotted every type of person: families, hen parties, teenagers, OAPs. The queues weren’t too bad and although drinks were quite pricey, this was to be expected from a no re-entry event in London. I didn’t buy any food but there was plenty of choice across the festival site. Instead, I chose to queue for a free McFlurry which was extremely needed in the heat. Opening the live music were Sofi Tukker, an electronic dance music double act from New York. I’d never heard of them and don’t regularly listen to EDM but my friends assured me that they were good fun. They weren’t wrong! Though the crowd was quite small, we all danced together and enjoyed Sofi Tukker’s incredible stage presence. Their enthusiasm was infectious and, by the end of their set, I’d vowed to add their music to a Spotify playlist to listen to on the train home.

My friends and I then headed to the Main Stage, where we spent the rest of the afternoon. I was quite surprised at the huge volume of people who had set up picnic blankets around the stage and seemed to have been there for several hours waiting for Bruno Mars. We weaved our way around all the blankets to find a somewhat decent spot to watch DNCE. I’d been really looking forward to seeing them. Having had 'Cake By The Ocean' in my head for the entire summer of 2016, I was buzzing to hear it live in the sun. DNCE didn’t disappoint, although, if I’m being entirely honest, I did only recognise three of their songs.

It felt like a very long wait for Khalid. 45-minutes in the sun with nothing to do except stare longingly at those sat on picnic blankets enjoying their fourth glass of Pimms was torture. I enjoyed Khalid much more than I thought I would. I’ve not really listened to his music before and only heard his main hits on the radio, but he was an excellent performer despite playing a few too many slow songs for my liking.

Bruno Mars was completely full of energy and was complimented amazingly by an array of backing dancers, lighting and effects
Of course, the main attraction was Bruno Mars. He kept the audience waiting slightly, but I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute in saying that he was completely worth the wait. Coming onto stage wearing a jersey and erupting straight into song, the entire set was incredible. Bruno Mars was completely full of energy and was complimented amazingly by an array of backing dancers, lighting and effects. What I really love about Bruno Mars is that I don’t find any one of his songs better than another. Every single tune is brilliant and it seemed like the crowd at BST agreed with me. Everyone surrounding me was singing along and the crowd gave him a great reception. My personal favourite was 'Perm', a song from his latest album, as it was just so energetic, although equally impressive was his older song 'When I Was Your Man', which actually made me tear up a little bit. His final song was 'Uptown Funk', which is still just as much of a hit as it was when released in November 2014. Listening live proved that it was completely deserving of the seven weeks it spent at the top of the UK Singles Chart and it was the best possible way to end such a fun-packed day.

I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to go to BST this year as I got the chance to listen to new music and finally got to see Bruno Mars live. Though the heat was sometimes too much, it didn’t distract from amazing live music and an upbeat atmosphere in Hyde Park. I’d definitely recommend BST to anyone as everyone seemed to be having a great time and it was a day that I won’t forget for a while.


11th August 2018 at 9:00 am

Last Updated

11th August 2018 at 4:30 pm

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