Singer Leona Lewis has spoken of her pride at performing on home ground to open Radio 1's Hackney Weekend.

The 27-year-old showed off her flower power in a floral kimono, black crop top and black trousers, as she took to the main stage at Hackney Marshes in east London as part of the BBC's biggest free live event.

The X Factor winner said backstage: "I really wanted to open when they asked me to do it. When I went on I saw 30,000 people running towards the stage.

leona lewis

Hackney pride: Leona Lewis performed at Radio 1's event


"It was lovely performing in front of a home crowd. It was good, I swear half the audience was my friends and family."

She added: "This has been in the works for over a year, so to finally see it happen and come to fruition was great."

About 100,000 are expected to attend the concert over the weekend, with 50,000 there today. In excess of 250,000 people applied for tickets for the two-day festival, with most reserved for people from the neighbouring Olympic boroughs.

Bleeding Love singer Lewis, who won the X Factor in 2006, was introduced to the stage by DJ Trevor Nelson as "the most famous singer to come out from Hackney".

Singing from a microphone covered with synthetic flowers, Lewis's first track was the aptly-titled Coming Home, originally sung by Diddy Dirty Money, which featured a guest appearance from rapper Wretch 32.

Pop singer Rita Ora wowed the audience when she took to the stage later, wearing a matching printed shirt and trouser outfit that resembled a pair of white pyjamas.

Other acts to perform to the crowd included Rizzle Kicks, N-Dubz's Dappy, Michael Kiwanuka, Ed Sheeran and Example. Tomorrow's biggest headliner is Rihanna.

Revellers' spirits weren't dampened by the rain showers throughout the afternoon, though some took the opportunity to shelter in the site's marquees.

Organisers have been working closely with police to ensure safety at the show, part of the London 2012 Festival which kicked off this week.

The site is surrounded by two rings of security barriers, one of which is 12ft (3.7m) high and more than 1,200 security staff will be on hand.

The event is more than twice the size of the radio station's Big Weekend event and has been two years in the planning.

Hackney Weekend - taking place over the weekend usually occupied by Glastonbury Festival, which is resting this year - is being broadcast by Radio 1 and screened on BBC3.

Even Diane Abbott, the MP for the area, is checking out the gig.


Diane Abbott MP
Haven't been to a concert in years. But is a mega event in the constituency. So here checking it out.

Unlike many festivals which have given gig-goers a chance to watch crucial football matches, organisers will not be screening England's Euro 2012 quarter-final match against Italy at the site tomorrow.

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  • Radio 1's Hackney Weekend - London

    Leona Lewis performs at Radio 1's Hackney Weekend at Hackney Marshes, London.

  • Radio 1's Hackney Weekend - London

    CAPTION CORRECTION CHANGING EVENT FROM ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL TO RADIO 1'S HACKNEY WEEKEND, KEYWORD FROM FESTIVAL TO HACKNEY AND BYLINE FROM PETER BYRNE TO IAN WEST. Ed Sheeran performs at Radio 1's Hackney Weekend at Hackney Marshes, London.

  • Radio 1's Hackney Weekend - London

    Delilah performs at Radio 1's Hackney Weekend at Hackney Marshes, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 23, 2012. See PA story SHOWBIZ Hackney. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

  • Radio 1's Hackney Weekend - London

    Rita Ora performs at Radio 1's Hackney Weekend at Hackney Marshes, London.

  • Radio 1's Hackney Weekend - London

    Delilah performs at Radio 1's Hackney Weekend at Hackney Marshes, London.

  • Radio 1's Hackney Weekend - London

    Fearne Cotton at Radio 1's Hackney Weekend at Hackney Marshes, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 23, 2012. See PA story SHOWBIZ Hackney. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

  • Radio 1's Hackney Weekend - London

    Leona Lewis performs at Radio 1's Hackney Weekend at Hackney Marshes, London.

  • Radio 1's Hackney Weekend - London

    Dappy performs at Radio 1's Hackney Weekend at Hackney Marshes, London.

  • Radio 1's Hackney Weekend - London

    Jessie Ware performs at Radio 1's Hackney Weekend at Hackney Marshes, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 23, 2012. See PA story SHOWBIZ Hackney. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

  • Radio 1's Hackney Weekend - London

    Jessie Ware performs at Radio 1's Hackney Weekend at Hackney Marshes, London.