Radio 1's Big Weekend is famous for its unlikely settings (previous venues include Sunderland, Wiltshire and last year's Carlisle), so this year's decision to hold the free event in Hackney in support of the Olympics was somewhat of an expected anomaly. Previous headliners include Lady GaGa, The Foo Fighters and Madonna, but this year's lineup promised to deliver a higher grade of artists throughout.
Early comers who beat the two-mile tailback were treated to local resident and festival ambassador Leona Lewis, who opened proceedings on Saturday's main stage with a rendition of Diddy Dirty Money's 'Coming Home'. She sounded re-energized and apparently hungry to release new material as she debuted 'Come Alive' from her upcoming album.
Rock was catered for almost solely by Kasabian, who struggled to compete against the urban-pop heavyweights including Trey Songz, Ed Sheeran and a blonde-wigged Nicki Minaj, who each packed out their stages with ease. Jay-Z later confirmed it really was a "Roc Nation party" as he brought out label employees Rihanna, MIA and Kanye West for a stunning headline spot that included an encore of recent hit 'N***az in Paris', which even got his wife Beyoncé moshing at the sidelines.
Sunday's R1BW had a lot to live up to, hampered further by an early morning washout. Santigold proved surprisingly popular on the New Music stage, while Jessie J delivered her usual vocal acrobatics (even to a cover of Luther Vandross's 'Never Too Much') on the main stage. A shoeless Florence + the Machine delighted crowds in the afternoon with their own brand of anthemic ethereal-pop, and Nas's intimate set on the 1Xtra stage proved as popular as expected.
There was a mass exodus to see Rihanna, for which an Egyptian-style set was built on stage in anticipation of her arrival. The singer looked every inch the soon-to-be East London resident dressed in only biker boots and a baggy T-shirt as she powered through a selection of her biggest hits, save a song or two from her latest LP. Jay-Z repaid yesterday's favour by appearing towards the end of her set, leaving the crowd suitably pumped for closing number 'We Found Love'. It was a fitting finale for a festival that lived up to its promise of being the biggest music event of the summer, and one the Games will seriously be hard-pushed to beat.
Click through our gallery of Radio 1's Hackney Weekend below: