Citadel 2019 Review
So last weekend was a busy one for us. We spent Friday and Saturday at Gunnersbury Park for Lovebox and then returned to Gunnersbury Park on the Sunday to hit up for Citadel. We’re just going to put this out there now.. Citadel is just a lovely festival. It pretty much is the ultimate summer Sunday but we’ll let you be the judge of that. It’s perfect for everyone that isn’t looking to get too hectic, like they would have at Lovebox. It is a great place if you have kids because there is just so much going on to keep everyone entertained. It is also a great place for couples and friends to hang out in a park, drinking cans and listening to live music – on a Sunday.
The Citadel Sunday was a huge day for sports in the U.K. We had the GP at Silverstone, the Wimbledon final and the Cricket World Cup final all on the same day. We were running a little behind on the day because we were glued to the tele watching England vs New Zealand in the cricket but eventually built up the courage to make the long journey across London for the 3rd time that weekend. When we finally arrived at the Citadel site, it was stress-free to get in. Our first port of call was to catch up with Andrew Davie from Bear’s Den, we had a lovely chat with him about a whole host of things, all of which you can read in the interview here – he is the nicest guy!
The sun was shining and we felt we deserved a beer! The first area by the entrance was where you could find the Communion stage and the Blu stage. There were two big bars in this area but we had already stumbled across the absolute gem that was the Carlsberg Export bar at Lovebox. The bar which never had much of a queue AND the drinks were all in fridges…which meant they were cold…COLD!! All the other bars were handing out coldish drinks which we avoided at all costs and made our way to the Carlsberg Export bar each and every time. You remember the old ‘If Carlsberg Did’ adverts…well on this occasion, they bloody well did do the best bar, in the whole entire festival!!
Probably the best bar in the festival was located next to the Sweet Stop which was pure karaoke vibes giving everyone life. Packed full of high energy…we thought it was the perfect hangover cure. We joined in with all of the cheesy bangers like Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up…you know the words! The other side of probably the best bar in the festival was the spandex stage, we didn’t take our spandex unfortunately but that didn’t stop festival-goers joining in with Yoga, Aerobics and even a Boy-Band Boot Camp.
Heading over to the main area, we managed to catch some of the DMA’s set which actually went off. There were colourful smoke flares going off left, right and centre – literally. The security were on it though, they were back and forth from the crowd pulling out all the culprits. Need to stay safe out there guys, flares are banned at most festivals and we’re not being funny, you’re pretty easy for security to spot if you let one off!
As we mentioned earlier, it was a big day for sports. England and New Zealand were in the middle of an incredible final and lucky for us (and everyone else) Citadel had put up a big screen in one of the bar tents. I say big screen, we could barely see what was actually going on because there were so many people watching it. The atmosphere though was on fire! Spoiler alert, England won the cricket World Cup for the first time and. It. Went. Off! That was probably the most fun celebrating a sporting event that we couldn’t even watch properly. Instead of taking our word for it you should probably watch our Insta story. Citadel are good at considering their clientele, last year they had a big screen up for the World Cup Final – good work for thinking about the sports fans, Citadel!
After all the jumping around, we worked up a bit of an appetite. We were really set on going to Anna Mae’s for some mac n cheese but the queue was HENCH…all credit to Anna Mae’s, they are definitely doing something right but we did not fancy queueing all that time. Lucky for us, there was a mac n cheese alternative with a much smaller queue. In all fairness, the alternative was great and the portion size was perfect, we opted for the pulled pork topping which banged. Not going to lie, we did share a Churros Amigos after too and they were also dope. We did 60,000 steps across the weekend so we thought a few churros for desert is completely acceptable.
We rounded off the day by listening to some more of the fine music that was on display. We managed to catch the Bastille set, where Dan, the lead singer was celebrating his 33rd birthday. Straight from the Bastille set, we went to catch the Bear’s Den lads in action. Their set was actually our favourite of the day…those boys can’t do anything wrong. To end what was a great day, we watched the Catfish and the Bottlemen close the night in style, playing each of their bangers.
The great thing about Citadel is that there is just so much going on to keep everyone entertained. The only problem is, having enough time to check it all out. So what do you think, the ultimate summer Sunday, uh!?
The Journey to Citadel Festival
Travelling from East to West London may sound simple, and it does only require one change but it also means over an hour sat or stood, more than likely stood, on the underground. Going there, not much of a problem, coming back a bit of a different story. Gunnersbury Park isn’t the easiest place to get to unless you’re local and taxi drop off seemed to be a bit of a myth from the people we know who travelled from South, to be expected considering road closures etc. Your best option was getting the tube into Acton Town as Gunnersbury Park is only a short walk from there.
Getting In to Citadel Festival
Getting in this year round was much easier, box offices were easy to locate and most festival-goers had the e-ticket on their phones ready to go which definitely sped up the process.
There were several check points on the way in, thinking about it, tickets were checked twice. Security were pretty strict on the size of the bag festival-goers could take in, no bigger than A4 or it had to be stored in the cloakroom style tent by the entrance. A final ticket check, small bag search and a pat down before being allowed in, all very quick and thorough.
How Much Were The Drinks at Citadel Festival
Citadel if you didn’t know is brought to you by the same organisers as Lovebox which means drink options were the same across the two festivals.
There was at least one bar next to every main stage, all of which were open and each with a queuing system in place. Cans weren’t very cold most of the time but luckily we discovered the Carlsberg Export bar tucked away which had dedicated fridges, seating and basically no queues across the whole weekend.
Carlsberg Danish Pilsner 500ml £5.50
Carlsberg Export 330ml £5.00
Somersby Cider 440ml £5.50
Wine 187ml £6 / 750ml £25
Prosecco 200ml £9
Spirit & Mixer 25ml £6 / 50ml £10
Smirnoff Ice 275ml £6
Water 500ml £2.50
Coke, Sprite, Fanta 330ml £2.50
Prices in the VIP area were slightly higher but you could actually get a pint which was pretty nice in the afternoon sun.
The Food Options at Citadel Festival
The food options are always really good at Citadel, we banged on about them in our Citadel 2019 Preview which got us even more excited. As we’ve already mentioned we did over 60k steps across the whole weekend so were planning on going in on the food. Seems like this was everyone’s intention, or they read our preview because the queues for the proper decent food spots had massive queues all day long. We did make the effort for some Los Churros Amigos, because, well because churros. Everywhere was accepting card which meant you didn’t have to worry about cash and could eat until your hearts content. Roughly £7-12 for food at all the good spots.
The Facilities at Citadel Festival
Right by the entrance was the health tent and next to that the HELP tent which dealt with things like lost property. Now, if you follow Charlie on Instagram you’ll realise he lost his set of keys on day 1 of Lovebox, without giving too much away you’ll have to read the Lovebox review to find out if he got them back or not.
As we mentioned earlier, Citadel is pretty big time and it’s sister festival even more so which means the organisers know to have plenty of toilets available in all of the right places around the festival site. Not a huge amount of areas to sit and shelter from the sun but you are in a park so do have the option of just sitting down wherever you fancy.
Citadel Festival Security
Plenty of security and a small police presence at from Acton Town to the Citadel entrance and not in a bad way. It was the same getting into the site which acted as a deterrent, once inside there was plenty of security around in all the right places, offering directions, handing out water for those in the front row and catching DMA fans who let off flares.
The Stages and Music at Citadel Festival
The Stages had a re-up on Sunday morning with new sponsors bringing a completely different vibe to Gunnersbury Park. Main Stage had a solid line-up all day including DMA’s, Friendly Fires, Bastille and headliners Catfish and the Bottlemen. As you’d expect Bastille and Catfish drew the biggest crowds, this is also because all other stage areas wrap up around the same time as the headliners kick off. This was Catfish and the Bottlemen’s first official headline slot and they certainly did a good job of it, they’re a great festival band with some solid tunes, well worth seeing if you get the chance.
Our new mates, Bears Den headlined the Communion Stage, which also saw performances from Jade Bird and Honeyblood. The DIY stage welcomed the likes of Talos, Fontaines DC and Tinariwen. Both great stages to enjoy a civilised beer too and discover your new favourite artist.
We mentioned the Sweet Spot and boy did if provide an eclectic line-up throughout the day, from Vibe Roulette through to Das Brass, this was certainly the feel good place to be. Sitting not too far from the Spandex Stage, this area certainly had all of that good energy, House of Yoga, Reggae Aerobics and Boy-Band Boot Camp meaning you could leave Citadel a completely new person.
If karaoke and spandex weren’t your vibe and you fancied something a bit more electronic then the Blu Stage and Smirnoff Waterfall kept everyone two-stepping with DJ sets from 2pm until just gone 8pm.
What Else Was At Citadel Festival
There was no VIP area at Citadel because instead there was a dedicated area to host Sunday Papers Live a really interesting concept that brings journalists and comedians together to discuss world topics. The bar next to the Sunday Papers Live tent served pints, it also had a tv showing the England vs New Zealand Cricket World Cup Final which ended up being a very popular spot.
There was also dedicated kids areas, from a Science Camp to a Messy Art Studio to keep those little ones entertained if the live entertainment wasn’t enough.
The live entertainmemt was certainly enough for us, we highly recommend Citadel as a very lovely Sunday festival, just make sure you get down there early enough to ensure you have enough time to discover it all!