The sixth Farr Festival tucked away in Bygrave Woods, Hertfordshire, UK limited its capacity to 5,000 and refocused the fun among the trees. From Thursday, July 15th to the early hours of Sunday, July 18th house, techno, reggae, disco and drum and bass were heard across five stages featuring Gerd Janson, DK Koze, Toddla T, Tom Trago, Leon Vynehall, Heidi, Prosumer, Tama Sumo and Erol Alkan. Mike Barnard and Freya van Lessen were there to give their takes on the boutqiue dance music festival.
Boutique dance music festival Farr returned for its sixth year in Hertfordshire’s Bygrave Woods, UK, with a new set up taking the focus of the party back into the much-loved woodland.
Sónar returned to Barcelona for its 22nd year in the Spanish city, the place where the now global festival of music, creativity and technology began. Mike Barnard and Ann McManus reflect on their stage-hopping experiences.
We return to the Barcelona edition of Sónar 2015 to report on the three days of the festival’s music including sets by The Chemical Brothers, Hot Chip, Duran Duran, Squarepusher, Autechre, Tiga, Siriusmodeselektor, Palms Trax and Adam Beyer.
Secretsundaze celebrated 10 years of parties during Barcelona’s OFF Week on Sunday, June 22nd with their annual takeover of two spots in Poble Espanyol. On the evidence of this 10th anniversary, there will surely be another 10 years in this gorgeous setting.
An incredible 52 weekends since 1987 have been given over to the soulful sounds of the Southport Weekender – a three day festival of music that speaks to the emotions as much as the feet. From Friday, May 8th to Sunday, May 10th the event returned for the final time at Butlins Minehead with headliners Masters at Work, Kings of House, Kerri Chandler and Chez Damier joined by crowd favourites and rising stars from across the disco, house, R&B, garage and bass scenes but the emphasis always on keeping it soulful. The sun-soaked finale made for a fitting finale before the organisers focus on new venture SuncéBeat in Croatia.
Found Festival relocated to south London for its third year on Saturday, June 13th with Guy Gerber, Nick Curly, Ron Trent, George FitzGerald and Ellen Allien. Now in Brockwell Park, Brixton, the urban dance music festival featured five stages of house, techno and disco, and is the second event in the Found series which picks up against in August. Mike Barnard and Ann McManus offer their views.
The London sound of underground UK bass culture was heard in Hackney’s Haggerston Park at Born & Bred, the first of five one-day music festivals in the Found series. Four stages of garage, grime, drum & bass, dubstep and jungle included Wiley, Goldie, Zinc, Digital Mystikz, Joker, Loefah, Youngsta, DJ Luck & MC Neat and Oxide & Neutrino on Saturday, June 6th. Mike Barnard and Kyle Webster checked out the festival’s debut.
The UK Festival Award-winning We Are FSTVL returned to Upminster in Essex for the third edition of the two-day dance event on Saturday, May 30th and Sunday, May 31st. Carl Cox, Steve Angello, Loco Dice and Sven Väth were among the headliners at Damyns Hall Aerodrome for what was a weekend of big production undermined by transport issues on Saturday night. Mike Barnard and Ann McManus offer their sides of the story.
Hamburg record store Smallville celebrated the 10th birthday of its record label at Corsica Studios in London, England at Find Me in the Dark on Sunday, May 3rd. The label returned for another all night session in room one with headliner Lawrence and label-mate Moomin getting three hour sets while Move D got a three-hour set in room two as the respected clubnight brought good-time vibes over the bank holiday.
Richie Hawtin’s Ibiza clubnight ENTER. at Space is one of the most popular on the White Isle. About to start it’s fourth season in July, he brought the concept back to London, England on Saturday, April 11th for a day party at Wapping’s cavernous Tobacco Dock followed by an afterparty at Studio Spaces. Adam Beyer, Ida Engberg, Paco Osuna, Maya Jane Coles and Hot Since 82 were among the acts supporting Hawtin – Mike Barnard and Ann McManus donned their best black attire to join the day party.
Feelings hosted a Spring Fling at Clapton Round Chapel in London on Saturday, April 4th. The Feelings crew are known for their blend of house and disco by respected DJs, with New York City’s Club Shelter founder and head of A&R at Motown, Timmy Regisford, and Chicago house advocate Tevo Howard of Beautiful Granville Studios joined by The Menendez Brothers, Kasra V and Feelings residents. Mike Barnard and Ann McManus were among the congregation.
Nic Fanciulli’s music festival The Winter Social took over the Kent Life Museum in Maidstone on Saturday, February 28th. A spin-off of The Social held in Mote Park the previous two summers, the Saved Records boss headlined with support including Maya Jane Coles, Hot Since 82, Dusky, Davide Squillace and Matthias Tanzmann. Mike Barnard and Ann McManus give their views on the festival’s sold out debut.
Find Me in the Dark brought Ostgut Ton’s Function, one half of the brains behind celebrated underground techno imprint Sandwell District, and his uncompromising sound so often heard at Berlin’s Berghain to the intimate space of Corsica Studios on Saturday. January 31st. Joined by Florian Kupfer, Jacko, Daze, Limo, Lock Eyes and resident Asquith, the sold out Elephant and Castle club was buzzing right through the night with two heaving dancefloors.
Bugged Out returned to Butlins Bognor Regis from Friday, January 16th to Sunday, January 18th for another three days of house, electro, techno, disco, garage and more across three stages plus extras such as pool parties, a pub quiz, rave karaoke and 24-hour arcades. Music came from acts such as The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, Maya Jane Coles, Dusky, Ten Walls, Erol Alkan and Kerri Chandler. We were there to see Bugged Out successfully bring the weekender back to the south coast.
Get a bonus festival experience this month when Bugged Out take over Butlins Bognor Regis for a weekender featuring some of the biggest names in dance music. From Friday, January 16th to Sunday, January 19th ÂME, Ben UFO, The Chemical Brothers, Daniel Avery, Duke Dumont, Erol Alkan, Kerri Chandler, Maya Jane Coles, Simian Mobile Disco, Skream, Ten Walls, Tiga and Todd Terje will be among the acts filling the resort with music.
Find Me in the Dark celebrated its first birthday on Saturday, November 29th with a headline live analogue set from Genius of Time. The underground electronic music night at south London’s Corsica Studios has built up a reputation for booking only genre-pushing acts such as Omar S, Kassam Mosse, Voices from the Lake, Shed’s Head High project, Pariah and Legowelt over the last 12 months, developing an enviable position as a place to hear fresh music among a knowledgeable crowd. For the birthday, Christopher Rau, Huerco S., Imre Kiss, Jason Spinks and Asquith provided strong support.
The annual Drumcode warehouse party in London has become a Halloween fixture over the last four years, and for this fifth edition – Awakenings & LWE present Drumcode Halloween – the stakes were upped. Dutch promoters Awakenings were brought on board by Adam Beyer’s label to put their stamp on proceedings as they moved to the 5,000-capacity Tobacco Docks in Wapping for a fright-by-day on Saturday, November 1st featuring Beyer’s label cohorts and techno luminaries including Agoria, Scuba, Joseph Capriati, Paul Woolford, Len Faki and Happa. Mike Barnard and Ann McManus donned their Halloween finest and braved the dancefloors filled with ghouls, ghosts and other monstrous oddities.
FOUND returned to the festival scene with Ceremony, their the second event of 2014 on Saturday, September 13th in Finsbury Park. Seven arenas of house, bass, techno, grime and hip hop from the past, present and future was promised – here’s how Mike Barnard and Ann McManus saw it.
The rave sounds of hard house, garage, jungle and old skool don’t get much of a look in at dance music festivals these days. Even drum and bass is more a token nod than the main event as EDM, house and techno tend to take centre stage. So fans of the once-popular club genres must have rejoiced when United Festival turned up at the end of the summer in Finsbury Park to give Londoners the opportunity to bust out the glow sticks, whistles, white gloves and cyber gear for a day celebrating 25 years of British rave culture.
North London has a new underground dance music festival with the arrival of Ceremony in Finsbury Park on Saturday, September 13th. Presented by FOUND, they brought Lil Louis, Todd Terry, Louie Vega, Inner City, Kevin Saunderson, Claptone, Route 94, DJ Luck and MC Neat, a Tropical Showcase and more over seven stages. We were there to see FOUND’s new venture in action.
As the fabled Ibiza closing parties approach to mark the end of another summer on the Spanish party island, a double birthday celebration took zap! bang! Magazine’s Mike Barnard and Ann McManus on their first trip to the famous clubbing destination. Here’s their viewpoints from either side of the gender divide as they set their holiday mode to “rave” on a non-stop weekend.
Deep tech house label boss Dennis Ferrer is a mainstay on the underground circuit. His Objektivity label has been running since 2006 and he’s a man still in demand on the biggest stages. A resident at the low gimmick, maximum music exploration of Insane Friday’s at Pacha Ibiza, it’s fitting the music policy at the famous White Isle venue is geared towards a crowd looking for more than just the glitz and glamour many DJ residencies offer on the party island. We were on the White Isle for the party on Friday, September 5th featuring guests Reboot and Hong of Singapore’s Zouk club alongside Ferrer and fellow resident Digweed to check out Ferrer’s set.
The last Bestival I went to was 2008 – which went down in legend as ‘the year of rain’, and ranks among one of the more trying experiences I’ve ever had. So it was with some trepidation (and constant checking of weather reports) I headed back down to the Isle of Wight for Josie and Rob da Bank’s latest. The contrast couldn’t have been greater – a weekend of glorious sunshine, an atmosphere of infectious fun, and some great bands getting into the party spirit showed that Bestival is doing better than ever.
Respected electronic music festival Dimensions brought 7,000 revellers to Pula in Croatia for its third edition from August 27th to 31st. Spread across beach, boat, abandoned fort and amphitheatre venues with headline acts such as Caribou, Moodymann, Warpaint, Roy Ayers, Jon Hopkins, Darkside and Gilles Peterson, it was a feast for the ears and a test of the stamina – especially when an intense storm showed up to break up the glorious weather on the last night. We were there to soak up the music, as well as the rain as it would turn out, in what was one of the finest and best sounding festivals we’ve attended.