Live Music + Gig Reviews

Glade Festival 2009: Day 1 @ Matterley Bowl, Winchester

17 July 2009

Glade Festival 2009:Day 1 | Day 2 |Day 3

Electrocentric boutique festival Glade 2009 lived up to its pre-billed promise – this rainy summer’s weekend in Hampshire was certainly “Louder, Later and Longer” than ever before.

Winchester’s Matterley Bowl seems to be the perfect location for Glade, acting as a natural amphitheatre and nestling the festival within a picturesque landscape away from the delicate ears of local residents. Volume was not the only advantage of this new site – the festival as a whole felt smaller and more intimate, perfect for wandering from stage to stage surveying the various dancing options.
A Skillz‘s joyful mix of funk, hip-hop and breaks was the perfect start to Friday afternoon, entertaining a soggy crowd as they sheltered from the first of many downpours. His debut album TrickaTechnology, released with immensely popular breakbeat DJ/Producer Krafty Kuts in 2003, put him firmly on the British dance map. Here his intentions were obvious – to gear the crowd up for a day of partying. This worked a treat, and the crowd left ready to brave the rain and determined to dance the rest of the day away.

A straw poll of festival-goers cited German duo Booka Shade as the highlight of Glade 2009. Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier headlined the famous Glade stage, roaring out their European electrohouse to a captivated audience. Whereas some found their slow beats slightly challenging to dance to (it was easier to wobble rather than stomp), the majority of the heaving crowd seemed utterly seduced. After the lights dimmed over the enormous outdoor arena, the revellers dispersed into the night energised and hungry for more.

The aforementioned Krafty Kuts got the crowd dancing over at the Avalon Stage, but his set quickly became half-hearted and he degenerated into an unhealthy amount of self-promotion (we already know who you are!), mixing pre-recorded MC shout-outs into his tunes. Then again, he has won the Best DJ title at the Breakspoll awards for the last three years in a row, so perhaps modesty isn’t his strongest point.

Wandering into the Interstella Circus and Cabaret Bar in the early hours of the morning we happened upon a beautiful woman dangling from the ceiling by two silk ribbons, contorting her body into enviable positions while a transfixed crowd gazed up with their mouths open. After this dreadlocked goddess landed daintily on the ground, DJ Marcus started playing an ebullient set of leg-kicking gypsy Ska, quickly filling the tent with bed-bound ravers called in by the sound of trumpets.

Arcadia was already one of the highlights of Glade 2009. Hosted by Merlin and the Interstella Vixens (Google results: none – perhaps a side effect of Glade? – ed), it was an apocalyptic vision created by a collective of young artists and engineers from the West Country who enjoy building immense structures from industrial and military scrap. Inspired by America’s Burning Man festival, this outdoor industrial pulpit to the god (or perhaps more fittingly, the Antichrist) of Techno attracted a huge crowd every night. Dancing amongst the fiery metal trees, ravers gazed up at the DJ booth as it occasionally blasted huge balls of flame up into the dark sky.

Friday was brought to a close by DJ Acidic‘s stomping, grin-inducing techno, which made you want to growl in appreciation and dance manically until all your energy had sweated away and your legs went on strike. And after that, only bed would do.

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