No. 2 Natsu Fest: The Last Dance

No. 2 Natsu Fest: The Last Dance

When asked to explain the ethos that grounds Natsu Clothing, Dhara Nat Sufraz Patel, founder, leans on three words: ‘Sustainability, inclusivity, community’.

Natsu Fest: The Last Dance was no exception to the brand’s morals. Many attendees wore Natsu tees, once screen-printed by hand in Dhara’s student flat, now sustainably produced by manufacturers local to Manchester. Student performers played a mixture of genres: soul, R&B, rap, hip-hop, afro swing, and funk. A portion of the profits made from merchandise were donated to charity. Indeed, all three of Natsu Clothing’s values rang true at the event, but it was the sense of community, however, created by Natsu’s supporters, Dhara's friends, which sang the loudest at Natsu Fest: The Last Dance.

The event borrowed its name from the Netflix documentary series of the same title. The mini-series follows Michael Jordan throughout his career, with focus given to his final season with the Chicago Bulls. Natsu Fest: The Last Dance, followed much the same idea. The night played homage to Nastu Clothing’s birth, four-year run, and departure from Manchester, as Dhara’s time at the University of Manchester came to a close. Regretfully, the 28th of June 2023 marked Natsu Clothing’s final gig in Manchester.

Photo: Oscar Cloud (@oscarcloud)

Sam Seccombe – dubbed a ‘multitalented artist’ by Dhara - opened with vocals and acoustic guitar. He was followed shortly after by Sasha Little. Having played the previous Natsu Fest, and venues throughout the Withington-Fallowfield-Picadilly stretch, she was a veteran of the Natsu Fest line-ups, well-known amongst the Manchester student population. From those who were in attendance at the event from the very start, the two received an excited welcome.

Dhara’s fancy for variety (he describes Natsu Fest line-ups as ‘genre-jumping’) saw 6ray5ackey next up on stage. The rapper brought with him a heavier beat and smooth lyrics. Most notably, he previewed a soon-to-be-released track, leading the audience through the hook and chorus. Again, much applause, more drinks, and more well-deserved celebrations.

Two DJs closed the night with blends of hip-hop, rap, funk and donk. Both DJ Sketch and Mixle exist as part of the DJ collective, Anthro, which has collaborated considerably with Natsu over the past year. Young creatives are a demographic Dhara wishes to support through the work of and donations from Natsu.

Photo: Oscar Cloud (@oscarcloud)

Natsu Fest: The Last Dance was stylishly timed. Habitually, student housing leases expire on the final day of June; the 1st of July sends students packing for their family homes, to bide their time, enjoy summer, and wait for their September return to university. Yet, for many of the students in attendance at Natsu Fest: The Last Dance, after three, or four years in the city, Dhara included, their university careers had come to an end. Natsu’s The Last Dance gave the opportunity to celebrate, together, one final time.

Even without a student status tying them together, Natsu Clothing will undoubtedly continue to exist. From his new university accommodation in China, Dhara plans to continue selling Natsu Clothing remotely and supporting local businesses. Although the sea of Natsu t-shirts which graced the floor of Academy 3 will disperse – across the UK, to China, and beyond- Natsu’s community will expand, and grow, too. Natsu Clothing is, after all, a brand for the people.

Noted by Alice Henderson 


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