Jay-Z and Rihanna Headline Hackney Weekend
This weekend saw an area in East London usually used for local football games taken over by some of the biggest names in music as part of Hackney Weekend. 100,000 lucky fans got free tickets to the two-day music festival which was part of the London 2012 Festival and organised by BBC Radio 1. They were treated to performances from Jay-Z, Rihanna and Dizzee Rascal among many others.
A Festival for Locals
Hackney was chosen as the location after it became clear that many local people felt left out of the Olympics despite it being so close. BBC Radio 1 controller and head of the festival, Ben Cooper, explained:
"Here at Radio 1 and 1Xtra we wanted to make sure that we marked this in a way that would give young people from London and beyond, who might not necessarily be engaged with the Games, a chance to celebrate as part of Festival 2012."
Indeed, the opening act on the main stage on Saturday had a very local feel to it. Leona Lewis who grew up in nearby Islington kicked things off along side the Hackney Empire Community Choir and local rapper Wretch 32:
Leona Lewis on Saturday
Community Work and Mega Stars
Alongside the festival, Radio 1 has been running workshops and talks in the area for the last week, with stars that grew up in East London, including Plan B and Dizzee Rascal. Numerous performers who used to live in the area gave their backing to the festival. Tinie Tempah announced to the crowd that "East London is the epicentre of a lot of cool things at the minute. Radio 1 coming to Hackney Marshes is so incredible", whilst Plan B went on to say: "For so long, this part of the city has been deprived. It's great to see stuff like this happening here, because the people deserve it".
However, it wasn't all about local performers, and it was left up to legendary US rapper Jay-Z to headline the main stage on Saturday. He was joined by a whole host of other stars, including a brief appearance from Rihanna, a single song from MIA and a longer collaboration with Kanye West. Jay-Z's wife Beyoncé was even watching from the sidelines, dancing in the photographers' area. Watch his set here.
The following day, it was left to Rihanna to headline, as she got the main stage to herself. As one of the biggest stars in the world, she didn't disappoint and seemed to be enjoying herself, shouting to the crowd: "Hackney, you're crazier than they told me! You guys are making this such a memorable show for me".
Rihanna performs on Sunday
Overall, the festival was seen as a huge success. With 100,000 people and some of the biggest names in music, it was seen as a dry run for the Olympics, and came off without a hitch. You can see highlights of all the acts here.