I like things to be organised in my life, I appreciate function and efficiency.
The festival itself consisted of a main stage and 3 tents (I only remember finding 3 anyway).
I spent most of my time at the main stage – Richy Ahmed impressed me greatly first off, with an excellent warm-up, keeping it deep and underground, I expected a lot from him and he really delivered. I caught a bit of Maceo Plex too though annoyingly missed his ‘future music’ track which is just simply amazing that I kept replaying on repeat last week at work for an hour in some kind of pretend other-worldly state. Then later on I caught Azari & III, who were playing live, and I have heard lots of rumours about them and erm, to put it mildly they are quite a show. I strongly urge anyone to go watch them. They are very, erm, unique.
Then came Damian Lazarus of whom I never know what to expect – I was disappointend at fabric when I saw him earlier in the year, but heard an amazing set of his last year which I still cannot stop listening to which I think was recorded at Burning Man? He was good but didn’t stand out – except for his rebellious acts such as smoking on stage. Check out his Lazpods too – a whole different world of music.
Finally on the main stage was Jamie Jones. He seems to have a few people that don’t like him for silly reasons, like “why does he have so many people on the stage with him?”. So what? He clearly has a lot of friends. Musically was a bit slower than what had gone before with his disco house sound…and the sound quality was not always that good compared to previous DJs and acts (yep…laptop…I really do not get why people stick with laptops other than laziness…surely if you are that popular you can employ people to carry enough records for you?) and he definitely lost some of the crowd.
Otherwise, I was impressed with Kerri Chandler in one of the sauna tents, surprised to enjoy ‘E Samba’ about 15 years on but he did create a really exciting atmosphere – though I don’t tend to spend too long in sauna-like conditions – perhaps a suggestion for next year is to ensure there is the possibility for air to flow through the tents instead of it being stuck there?
I went to see Nina Kraviz, whom I was most looking forward to seeing when she came on at 6pm, and she played some fantastic music but again the heat and the ridiculous overcrowding got too much. I don’t mind it too much as I am used to fabric but in the end I did give up and went outside again. Annoying but I will see her again as soon as the opportunity arises.
I also saw a bit of Pan-pot. I don’t really get why some of my lovely friends so admire him. Didn’t really get him. Each to their own I guess.
The sound system was probably the best I have known for an outdoor London festival both in terms of quality and volume. It isn’t nowhere near as loud as fabric or a festival in the countryside would be but everyone should be wise enough to know this is the case. The queues for toilets weren’t exactly delightful, and the speed of service at the bars was slow – and they run out of many drinks by the end, including water, though one of the staff did eventually decide to get me a glass of tap water which was appreciated. It was however a festival – not a well-run nightclub that has honed its customer service skills over many years.
Going home though on a tube full of people that had just been to the Olympics and were clearly a little, erm, disturbed by those who got on a North Greenwich was probably the least enjoyable “walk of shame” since I had to do the ultimate walk of shame after a heavy night out straight into 10,000 running the Reading Half Marathon several years ago. I am still scarred but unlike walking into a half marathon, I should recover much sooner.
I think my only real gripe of the festival is that there was too much happening, and most of the tents were a very similar underground house style, with a bit of techno and disco thrown in. This meant that it was very hard to choose what to do and meant much walking around confused deciding what the hell to do and losing friends many a time. I much prefer the set up at Cocoon In The Park with one stage, with DJs doing decent length sets, so you all share the same experience with the crowd.
However these are only minor gripes in the scale of things and it was a very good day out and at about £27 a ticket because I was on the ball enough to get an early bird ticket meant that it was fantastic value for money. I think I will give it 8 out of 10 for enjoyment.
And a big shout to the friends who accompanied me on my adventure, and those people I bumped into that I knew, those randoms I talked to and the people who recognised me and wanted their photo with me even though they had no idea who I was and vice versa. Maybe they read my blog?
The crowd in general was a decent crowd – a few people moaning and complaining, a few drunken twats but mostly a Shoreditch kind of crowd which suits me fine.
Oh and to the weather too for being perfectly nice for 98% of the time with just the odd shower.
Apologies for the lack of pictures but despite having a good camera now, I am still shit at photography. My friend Carrie is however much better so I look forward to her photos, and she has done an excellent review here if you want to know more (and it has a few pictures).
It was definitely a good bit of chaos. Would I go next year? Not sure. But I would definitely recommend it.