Hood punks and TikTok teens: a look inside ALT+LDN 2021

Meet the punks and punters bringing London’s first trap-hip-hop-nu-metal-alt music festival to life over the weekend.

After a few major headline dropouts and rumours of poor organisation and sound quality, ALT+LDN – London’s first festival merging trap, hip-hop, nu-metal and alternative music – was predicted to be Fyre Fest 2.0.

Thankfully, for the organisers, punters, and performers, it was a smooth sail. The first of its kind, the festival’s bill captured a movement of underground music existing on the fringes of the internet, bringing together a delicious mix of freaks, TikTok teens and overgrown emos for a day of electrifying sounds.

While Soundcloud rap, emo trap and metal-influenced pop has been growing in popularity online over the past few years, ALT+LDN brought this subculture of angsty, Extremely Online music fans into the physical realm – Clapham Common. Think Download Festival… in a K‑hole.

Curious to worm down the rabbit hole, we chatted to a few punters on site. Meet ALT+LDN’s finest.

Iona, 27, Somerset

Who are you most excited to see today?
Dana Dentata, she’s pretty much the only reason I’m here. I was gonna come for Princess Nokia but she pulled out.

Describe your outfit:
Alternative, punky and Bladerunner-esque is the vibe I’m going for.

What new music are you listening to at the moment?
Actually, quite a lot of the artists that are playing here today! I hadn’t really listened to much of Wargasm and stuff like that, but from checking out the line-up, I’m now really into them. Other than that I don’t really know… I kind of just listen to the same stuff over and over again.

What do you think of Clapham Common?
I’ve never been to this part of London before but it seems pretty nice.

Pia, 21, London

Who are you excited to see today?
Just saw Zand and they were really sick. Also excited to see Girli!

What new music are you listening to at the moment?
Uhh, I don’t really know. Emo anthems, basically.

Describe your outfit:
Plastic?

Do you lean more towards the hip-hop or alternative side of today’s line-up?
Definitely the hip-hop side. I would’ve preferred a few more bands today, although Architects are pretty cool. Emo has bands, right? Although there’s Nu Emo. Wow, I’m such an e‑girl.

Snog, marry, avoid: Lil Yachty, Playboi Carti, Architects
Snog Yachty, marry Carti, avoid Architects – I’m sorry!

Who do you think should be cancelled next?
Probably me.

What were you like as a teenager?
Troublesome.

Mel, 50, Peterborough

Who are you most excited to see today?
Architects now, obviously Machine Gun Kelly but he dropped out. My daughter really wanted to see him, but we just have to get on with it really.

What new music are you listening to at the moment?
Probably no one that you’ve heard of, but I really like Wilderado, they’re an American band – I love their stuff.

Describe your outfit:
I don’t really think about my outfits too much! I probably dress a bit young for my age haha.

Do you lean more towards the alternative or hip-hop side of today’s line-up?
I love old school hip-hop.

Is there even a need for labels anymore?
Absolutely not. I think whatever makes you happy – it’s about the music here.

Snog, marry, avoid: Playboi Carti, Lil Yachty, Architects
Probably marry Architects and… Who were the other two again?

Who do you think should be cancelled next?
I don’t know… I’m not too keen on these actually [points to Wargasm playing on mainstage].

Describe your teenage self to me.
I was a bit of a naughty raver! Illegal raves back in 1988.

Oh wow! Do you go to festivals often then?
Yeah, I’ve been going to festivals for like 30 years. Glastonbury over the wall! I’ve never bought a ticket for Glastonbury.

Bonnie, 18, Surrey

Who are you most excited to see today?
Nova Twins, they were so sick.

What new music are you listening to?
After today, probably that Bob Vylan, he was really good. I’d never heard of him before.

Describe your outfit:
Sex Pistols reject.

Do you lean more towards the alternative or hip-hop side of today’s line-up?
Probably the alternative stuff, but we stayed for the hip-hop gigs and jumped around and it was a lot of fun.

What are your thoughts on labels?
It’s hard to say, because people just get labels wrong anyway. Like, you’ll type in goth into Depop and it’ll be like, Hello Kitty and shit. So I don’t know, it seems like we’ve kind of got rid of them anyway.

Snog, marry, avoid: Lil Yachty, Playboi Carti, Architects.
I honestly don’t even know them well enough. But if I could, I’d snog, marry, and avoid Nova Twins. Well, I wouldn’t avoid them, but they’d probably avoid me.

Who do you think should be cancelled next?
Charlie [her friend] because he won’t buy me an ice lolly. And also Yung Blud because he’s a poser twat.

What were you like as a teenager?
Emo, very emo. Gerrard Way bangs.

V0, 25, Leyton

Who are you excited to see today?
Carti, he’s the whole reason I’m here.

Describe your vibe today…
Hood punk.

Would you say you lean more towards the hip-hop or alternative side of today?
I label myself as no genre. But, for me, I listen to rock music half the time so I don’t know.

Snog, marry, avoid: Playboi Carti, Lil Yachty, Architects
I’d snog all of them, bro.

Who do you think should be cancelled next?
Kid Laroi. Send him back to Australia, he’s dead.

Describe your teenage self?
Grunge Robin Hood.

Nico, 23, Germany

Who are you most excited to see today?
Carti.

Describe your outfit today in 3 words.
XXXtentacion [laughs].

Would you say you leaned more towards the hip-hop or alternative side of today?
Definitely hip-hop. The alternative people that are here, I don’t really relate to them. I don’t even know the Architects.

Snog, marry, avoid: Lil Yachty, Playboi Carti, Architects?
Kiss Lil Yachty, marry Playboi Carti and kill Architects.

Kill? That wasn’t an option!
It is now.

Who do you think should be cancelled next?
Kanye West for bringing a homophobe and rapist on stage, DaBaby and Marilyn Manson.

What were you like as a teenager?
Annoyed and eager to grow.

Vicky, “Old As Fuck”, Nottingham

Is there any new music you’re listening to?
Dana Dentata, we saw her earlier and she was so good. Some of the Texas boys like River Kin and that kinda stuff.

Can you describe your outfit today in a few words?
Kid dressed me.

Are you more hip-hop or alternative?
Definitely a bit of both.

Is there even a need for labels anymore?
Nah, enjoy what you enjoy. Fuck what anyone else thinks!

Snog, marry, avoid: Lil Yachty, Playboi Carti, Architects
Just snog them all and avoid all of them after!

Who do you think should be cancelled next?
I still think Die Antwoord should be cancelled.

What were you like as a teenager?
The same but with less confidence.

What would your teenage self think of you now?
I think she’d like me, but I wanna tell her to fuck them all off.

Tamzin, 20, Kent

Who you most excited to see today?
Playboi Carti! Any single Black artist, to be honest. Big up Black artists.

Any new artists you’re listening to at the moment?
Allen Love, check him out.

What’s been the highlight of your day so far?
Honestly being invited, meeting chill people, and good vibes. Always great to see people after Covid, we need that connection.

Describe your outfit today in a few words:
Carni, Black love, BLM, good vibes, beautiful, Rihanna.

Would you describe your taste as more hip-hop or alternative?
Honestly everything. I’m not a label, I’m fucking everything baby.

Snog, marry, avoid: Playboi Carti, Lil Yachty, Architects
Oooooh… Why is there not a female on that list?! Playboi Carti’s an asshole, I think we all know that. But snog Yachty, man, he needs a little bit of love. I’d also marry him because he’s a beautiful little guy – I could do his little braids and give him a Sunday roast.

Describe your teenage self:
Wild, imaginative, sexual.

What would your teenage self think of you now?
Big, bold and proud. Honestly, self-love is the best fucking love you can get.

What do you think of Clapham?
Big up Clapham, full of gentrification. Move out whilst you can, go to Kent, go to Yorkshire, get the fuck out of London. It’s gonna be taken over by businesses. It’s not worth it, honey. Just move.

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