In July 2021 many fans of Louis Tomlinson were surprised and delighted when he announced his own festival. Fans of Louis always knew that he had always wanted to play festivals so when this was announced it was met with unbound excitement from the fandom.
Then we, as fans, found out that not only was Louis putting his on own festival, but he wasn’t charging anything for the 8,500 fans to attend the show. He gathered some incredible support acts and the line up was incredible, with The Snuts, Bilk and a DJ set from Radio 1’s own Jess Iszatt. Louis himself stated that he wanted to thank his fans for their support and that he was excited to celebrate the return of live music, since we’d all come through a year and a half of isolation under lockdown.
Fans were balloted and the excitement was palpable as everyone waited with baited breath to see who would be able to attend the Festival and see Louis live for the first time since his December 2020 livestream show. Fans were ecstatic and as the tickets were allocated everyone was over the moon for their friends who got to attend (and a little jealous too).
When the date of the show finally arrived, Twitter was abuzz with set list predictions, outfit predictions and predictions of attendees. Monday August 30th 2021, saw Louies from all over the UK and further travel to the Crystal Palace Bowl for the first ever Away From Home Festival.
Fans were left delighted when Louis took to the stage, performing hits from his incredible first album Walls, such as the title track, Don’t Let It Break Your Heart, fan favourite Habit, and gay anthem Only the Brave, plus One Direction hits Drag Me Down, Little Black Dress, and Through the Dark. He also performed a new song Change and Copy of a Copy for the second time.
The show was incredible, and Louis had it recorded to enable fans from around the world who were unable to attend to livestream it. His outfit choice was something of his own design and was a green long-sleeved top with white trimmings and Tudor and York roses in an entwined bouquet.
The livestream contained a mini documentary which gave fans an insight into Louis preparing for the festival and warming up. It also showed how nervous Louis was before his performance and humanised him in a way that we, as fans, had never seen before. It was lovely to see his family and friends present for his very own festival and to see the level of support he has from all the fans.
As he said afterwards, ‘with these lot behind me, who’s gonna fuckin’ stop us.”
Away from Home 2022
Almost one year later, it was time for Away from Home Festival 2022, announced and sold out within a few hours. I, myself, was lucky enough to get tickets to Fuengirola and it was an absolutely incredible experience.
I met other Louie’s, had a wonderful break in the sun, and then spent the afternoon in the pool before going to the festival. The line-up was incredible with some amazing acts like Sun Room Band, The Voodoos, Stone UK, Hinds, Carl Barat, and The Vaccines all of whom were amazing and the lead-up to Louis coming onstage was incredible.
He came on stage, bounding out to We Made it, followed by Drag me Down and off the show went, until the sixth song when a melody that the fans weren’t sure of started. It lasted a while and fans were all quiet as we waited for the song to kick off. Louis introduced the song, by saying ‘let’s hear you sing,” and then started Night Changes. The first line of the song was everyone going ballistic before we all joined in and danced, sang, and screamed along.
The atmosphere of the show was electric, and Louis was full of confidence as he moved around the stage, commanding the attention of the audience with ease and finesse as he sang song after song. The finale of Kill My Mind was wild, and he seemed to love the vibe of the fans reacting to his music. He made a point to thank all the other artists who played at the festival and ensured everyone was safe by providing free water to fans.
All in all, it was an incredible performance and an amazing experience surrounded by 17,000 fans which was wonderful. My mum, who hadn’t heard much of Louis before, was very impressed with Louis’ stage presence and voice.
Away from Home 2023
The next Away from Home Festival is in Lido di Camaiore in Italy and has a capacity of 45,000 fans. The line-up is incredible with Blossom, Hot Wax, The Cribs and Andrew Cushin announced so far. Many of my friends are going and I wish I was too, but I’m seeing Louis in Oslo a few weeks after and can’t go to both, however, I hope everyone going has the most amazing time.
The artwork for the AFHF
Since its inception, the artwork from AFHF has changed and each year has had a different yet incredible poster. Year one’s poster was a road leading to the horizon with blacks, reds and whites. Year two was an eye in the sky with blacks, reds and oranges and year three is more vibrant and colourful with greens, yellows, whites, reds, blues and oranges present.
Each poster seems to represent an evolution and a growth/ change and as Louis’ music and stage presence evolves so does the artwork for his festival. The artwork has changed to become brighter which hopefully indicates that the dark days have passed and the future is looking clearer and brighter, (that’s my interpretation at least.)
Where it’ll go from here, we don’t yet know, but it’s growing from strength to strength so far and, I for one, cannot wait to see what it evolves into. Louis is incredible and brings us new talent, new places to check out and gives undiscovered artists or unsigned artists a chance to shine and grow their own fanbases.
We can all look forward to more of this in years to come and I genuinely, seriously hope it evolves further into a two day festival and beyond. The sky’s the limit and with Louis’ fanbase holding fast behind him and supporting him in everything he does, we’ll make sure he achieves everything he sets out to do and that AFHF succeeds beyond expectations.