Young people with tattoos at Alt LDN festival 2021
All photography courtesy of the author.

Subcultures Aren’t Dead, They Were All at Alt LDN 2021

Impeccably dressed emo girls and pissed lads from Ipswich down to see Smokepurpp unite at the UK's first alternative hip-hop and metal festival.
September 2, 2021, 8:15am

Hip-hop and metal have long boasted dedicated followings. The two worlds have been paired in spirit ever since Anthrax and Public Enemy collaborated on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 classic “Bring The Noise”, and together they birthed the objectively amazing nu metal genre of the early 00s.

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Now, with acts such as Bob Vylan and Dana Dentata harnessing the mighty powers of punk, metal and hip-hop, the rockers and rappers have been reunited at last. Over the bank holiday, Alt LDN – the UK’s first alternative hip-hop and metal festival – tapped into this energy and booked a line-up that made every British teenager with face tattoos lose their heads. When massive acts such as Machine Gun Kelly, Architects, Lil Yachty, Sleep Token, Playboi Carti and many more confirmed to perform on Clapham Common, it seemed the line-up was too good to be true. And, sadly, it was.

First off, Die Antwoord were dropped following calls from artists to remove them from the line-up due to their history of racism, homophobia and abuse. Machine Gun Kelly then pulled out due to COVID restrictions, swiftly followed by Princess Nokia, Chase Atlantic, Mario Judah and Lil Skies. Ticket holders were upset and very vocal online, continuously requesting refunds but getting no response.

Less than 24 hours before the doors opened, the bookers announced that Sleep Token and Ski Mask the Slump God had also pulled out due to “stage and flight complications”. The words “Fyre Festival” started popping up on social media, which is never a good sign.

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It seemed like Alt LDN was either severely disorganised, a total scam, or a bit of both. So, expecting the worst, I headed to Clapham Common to see things for myself – and I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Everybody I met on Monday was having a blast, from groups of pissed lads that had come from Ipswich to see Smokepurpp, to impeccably dressed emo girls from Bristol who were dead set on Architects.

Aside from the chaos in the build-up and the very questionable decision to not give people refunds when the headliners dropped out, Alt LDN was a great window into the many subcultures of 2021.

To prove it, here are some photos of people I met there having a good time:

Alt LDN festival 2021 crowd shots Jak Hutchcraft
Alt LDN festival 2021 crowd shots Jak Hutchcraft
Alt LDN festival 2021 crowd shots Jak Hutchcraft
Alt LDN festival 2021 crowd shots Jak Hutchcraft
Alt LDN festival 2021 crowd shots Jak Hutchcraft
Alt LDN festival 2021 crowd shots Jak Hutchcraft
Alt LDN festival 2021 crowd shots Jak Hutchcraft
Alt LDN festival 2021 crowd shots Jak Hutchcraft
Alt LDN festival 2021 crowd shots Jak Hutchcraft
Alt LDN festival 2021 crowd shots Jak Hutchcraft