After five years away, Gatecrasher returned to Lotherton Hall to launch a merciless attack on the senses of the 15,000 assembled clubbers and boy did they do it well.
To say I had even heard of half the 100-plus DJs and performers on offer during the 13 hours would be an ambitious statement, but boldly going where someone at musicOMH might have been before, I set out to sample the highs and lows (musical ones, I might add) of the traditional festival space of a big muddy field somewhere not really near anywhere.
Across the seven arenas, some exceedingly large speakers were pumping out an array of choons in every genre going with the likes of The Ordinary Boys and Franz Ferdinand spinning some indie classics mixed in with a bit of everything, even someone who for a moment may have thought that 13 hours of hard house wasn’t their thing had somewhere to go.
From the mindbending trance to earth shaking drum and bass everything about this festival happened at an alarming volume. But more importantly, everything happened on a pretty monumental scale.
I wont try to claim I’m a seasoned Ibiza veteran, hell, I cant even remember the last time I consciously set out on a night out to go clubbing, but there was something about this event that actually rocked. If you wanted something euphoric, it was in the Radio 1 / Crasher arena. If you wanted something hard hitting, then there was Hed Kandi. And it goes on. Sets from Matt Hardwick, Mr Scruff and Marco V were just a few of the many standouts, because simply put if there ever was an event is was actually tough to get bored at, this was it.
As Judge Jules brought the event to a huge, sparkling climax and the pyrotechnics showered across the Radio 1 / Crasher arena, the entire tent seemed to lift, driven by Jules’ as ever innovative and awe inspiring ability to skate between genres with ease. Mauro Pictotto has long been a mainstay of the Crasher line-ups and remains a pioneer and a dynamic force in dance music. Ripping through a set of techno, house, electro & trance, if anyone thought after Jules’ it would be downhill they were very much mistaken, with lasers cutting through the smoke (or was it steam?) you would never have guessed some of the folk had been dancing for eight hours as Pictotto tried his best to take the roof off the tent.
Capping off the Gatecrasher arena was London production team Dogzilla, playing a rare live set. Flying through a proverbial pile of of massive floor-fillers including Dogzilla and the equally monstrous Without You the the trade mark dark side of dance fused with serious melody and dynamism.
Throughout the other arenas, DJs were ploughing through every dance record known to man, and some new ones. It’s impossible to give you a rundown of every set i saw, as that would imply I actually knew who was performing at the time.
Over in the Goodgreef/Sundissential arena, Illogik expanded the sensual assault with a set of thumping house with perfectly synched graphics, while later Lisa Pin-Up launched into an epic set of tricks, reloops, slices, cut and remixes that simply kicked ass. DJ like that and you deserve to have several thousand people waving their hands in the air in adulation.
Forget waiting for bands to change over, that eerie numbness that descends over a festival when the failed DJ tries to play The Clash and seem as important as the people gracing the stage, here everything gelled it was literally just one big monster night out.
Yes, there were acts that bored me. But I just turned around and went to another tent. No queueing, no needing to worry that you might not be able to see, no problem. See what lies around the corner and if you still don’t feel it, move on.
So to all the promoters out there, I have one message. More like this please.