Over a year ago Louis Tomlinson had an idea. He wanted to create a festival. As someone who has a big interest and love for music and attended festivals, he shared the idea with his team at s e v e n 7 management. They liked the idea and The Away From Home Festival was born.
With live music not happening all across the world due to the global covid pandemic, the idea of creating a festival to welcome back live music and people attending gigs in person gave The Away From Home festival a real sense of purpose. There was also a secondary purpose to the festival. It was a thank you. A thank you to Louis’s fans for all their continued support. For those who supported his career from day 1 when he was a contestant on X-Factor, to those who heard his debut album Walls and became a fan and to all those in between, this was for them.
Tickets for The Away From Home festival were free. Fans just had to register to attend. 3500 pairs of tickets were given out at random, fans from all over the world could apply to attend the festival which would take place in London at Crystal Palace Bowl. A stunning outside venue, where the stage is built near a lake.
Louis and his team decided not to fill the venue, due to covid concerns and wanting all those who attended to feel safe and have space away from others if they needed to.
Then came who should perform? Louis has always had a passion for giving up and coming artists a platform, previously giving the likes of 5SOS and Only The Poets a platform to show the world their music. Bilk and The Snuts were the bands chosen to play with DJ set’s throughout the night by Jess Iszatt, with Louis headlining the festival.
The lead up to the festival, the planning, the venue set up, the rehearsals, all of it were filmed and directed by Charlie Lightening and his team at Lightning Productions. The documentary and Louis entire set will air on Veeps on Saturday 4 September (Tickets, here). It will also include a look at Louis and the entire team celebrating the incredible achievement of putting on the festival and the return of live music.
The Away From Home Festival was a night that no Louie who was lucky enough to attend will ever forget. Jess opened the show with a DJ set, she’d been given a strict mandate, play indie music and that’s what she did, as the fans entered the venue and took it all in. From being given a free commemorative wristband when they walked in, to the walls where you could write a message to Louis, to the merch stand which featured a couple of exclusives pieces available only at the venue, to the bars and the numerous food outlets that catered for every dietary requirement. Louis and his team had tried to be as inclusive as they could, with a raised platform and area for those attendees who had a disability be it physical or hidden. They created a real festival vibe.
After Jess’s first set, Bilk hit the stage. They certainly got the crowd warmed up while singing tracks off their new EP. Songs like “Billy Big Bollocks” most definitely were extremely memorable and had the crowd singing along. Bilk are a band that keep it real and are very relatable as their tracks cover many topics unemployment, toxic masculinity etc.
Jess then came back on for another set while the stage was set up for The Snuts, whose setlist included tracks such as “All Yout Friends”, “Always” and “Somebody Loves You”. The Snuts are a band that thrives on live performances and it was clear to see.
After one more set from Jess as the stage was set one final time. Louis Tomlinson’s trademark smiley face logo taking pride of place on the stage. The excitement began building in the crowd.
The stage went dark, the screens on either side of the screen flashed with writing. Writing many at the gig did not see as they were too focused on the stage. “Faith in the future” were the words they missed. Louis took to the stage, the screams reached fever pitch, as he opened his set with the very apt “We Made It“. Something he certainly did. He and his team made a whole festival. He and his fans made it through many tough months of lock down and now they were all reunited together, in one space, ready to enjoy a night of live music together.
Next came “Drag Me Down”, one of three nods Louis gave during his set to his One Direction days.” Drag Me Down” essentially became Louies featuring Louis Tomlinson as they screamed the words back to him. Something that was a common occurrence throughout the entirety of his set.
A special moment in the show was “Two of Us”, the whole crowd lighting up the venue with the lights on their phone, was truly beautiful.
“Only The Brave”, covers of Catfish and the Bottleman‘s “7” and King of Leon‘s “Beautiful War” and brand new tracks “Copy of a Copy of a Copy” and ( the worlds first listen of) “Change“, cemented a fact we’ve known for years, Louis Tomlinson was born to perform at festivals.
The Away From Home Festival was Louis’s way of thanking his fans, something he did regularly in between songs. At one point telling them ” I fucking loves you all”.
“Little Black Dress” and “Through The Dark“, were two more nods to his past. He also had a string section on stage which he utilised many times throughout the evening, including for the album title track Walls, which led to more banter with fans when the wrong lyrics were sung.
He ended his electric and high energy set with “Kill My Mind“, a song which any Louis Tomlinson fan needs to experience being sung live, as you will never be the same again.
The Away From Home Festival is an event Louis and his team are looking at making an annual thing, with it being held in a different country each year, which would not only give fans all around the world a chance to experience it, it would give artists in other countries a worldwide platform to showcase their music.
After Louis took to Instagram he said “Music is nothing without people”. And he’s correct. The Away From Home Festival was unforgettable because the people made it so. Louis, his team, everyone who worked on the event behind the scenes, the staff working at the venue on the night, to the fans who attended. Every single individual helped to play a part in welcoming back live music, and showing music unites us all no matter what else we have going on in life, going to a gig full of like minded people is a connection nobody can ever take away.
Did you attend the Away From Home Festival or are you excited to watch it live stream on Saturday? Let us know on @TBHONEST_UK!