Sasquatch 2015, Day 3: Kate Tempest

Jacob Webb
photo by Brittany Bollay

On paper, an English slam poet doing a mid-afternoon set in the sweltering heat doesn't sound like a winning success for a major festival. Then again, Kate Tempest is more than a poet. The South East London artist was undoubtedly one of the weekend's surprise breakouts, drawing people in with her heavy beats but retaining them with her skill and message. What started as a meager crowd turned into a hands-in-the-air throw down, with Tempest at the center of the storm. Backed by a drummer, backing singer, and keyboardist, Tempest was a revelation, just like the performance was to her. "I have been rapping since I was 19 years old," she said in a rare reprieve from her fast-paced rapping. "And to perform my art in front of you at a music festival in America is unbelievable." When Tempest did stop the onslaught of music to do an acapella rap about seeking individuality and identity confidence, there was one line in particular that stood out from the jaw-dropping performance: "when you want to lose your shit to your new favorite English rapper". It was the only line that even came close to hip-hop braggadocio, but to be fair, she earned it.

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