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British Summer Time Hyde Park kicked off its 2024 edition on the highest of highs when SZA took to the stage to bring fans a show that was bigger and better than what we have seen from her before. 

Before arriving at that moment, the day was a beautiful offering of music, food, and vibes that made for a perfectly spent day in the sunshine of Hyde Park. Kicking things off on the Great Oak Stage was up-and-comer Elemine, who set the tone for the day. He entertained audiences as they arrived at the park, bringing his velvety vocal talents to the crowd. 

The sunshine was a great backdrop against all the vibes and energy that spread across the park. Amongst the music, there was a variety of food and drinks, and overall, the atmosphere of the festival made for a very chilled and relaxed day in the park, taking in everything.

Other artists, including Sekou, Hope Tala, and No Guidnce, graced the stages throughout the day. All of them brought their unique style and energy to the stage, showcasing the diverse and rich talent present throughout the day. No artist felt out of place on the line, and in the lead-up to the headliner, each brought a different aspect and sound, displaying a perfectly crafted lineup for the day.

Standouts outside from the main moment was Snoh Aalegra. Her return to the UK after a two-year absence was a moment many fans had been eagerly awaiting. Her set was a powerful reminder of her talents as she dazzled fans for an hour. Not bringing anything else apart from beautiful vocals and a stunning voice, it was a stunning reminder of her artistry and reminded crowds of the absence in the music space since the release of her last album. It further cemented the UK's love and appreciation for her as the crowd sang along word for work, soaking in her vibe.

Sampha also did not disappoint, bringing his multidisciplinary talents to the stage at the afternoon's peak. Having experienced him earlier this year at his headline show and previously in the context of a church, the Oak Stage was a different setting for me; however, he once again delivered on all fronts. Engaging in the energy joined by his band members on stage, they brought a solid set to the audience. They brought forward all his musical vibes and talents as he executed a fun and energising hour-long set. 

As the moment of the day approached, the crowd was filled with anticipation, eagerly waiting to witness the build of her set. The unique stage design, a departure from what was seen at the SOS Tour, added to the excitement. Those like myself who have witnessed her play on a festival stage know that she can deliver a show, and so it was a thrilling anticipation of what that would be. 

When she finally emerged, she delivered something that surpassed anybody's expectation of what that show would be. Her fresh production to the stage, unlike anything seen before, left the audience in awe. It was a show that not only displayed how she continually evolves but also how she surprises and impresses her fans with something new every time.

Taking us through her eras of CTRL and SOS, her mic was crystal clear and smooth as she flexed her artistry and showed us why she was worthy of headlining the Great Oak Stage. 

The setlist highlighted all that is great about her, from fan favourites like 'Broken Clocks 'Supermodel 'Drew Barrymore' 'Normal' 'Kill Bill' 'Snooze' 'And nobody Gets Me', to name a few. The entire set kept the crowd's energy at an all-time high, creating a shared experience from the moment she stepped on stage to when she left with them singing along word for word for every single song.

This performance and its placement at this point of her career signified a shift toward the next era we will step into post-S.O.S. while also reminding us why she will always remain one of the most relatable artists out there. Her storytelling and artistic ability continue to let her shine.