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Friday, 16 September 2016

OUTLOOK FESTIVAL 2016: THE REVIEW

In my preview article I confessed my deplorable failing in never having graced the azure waters of the Adriatic coast that Outlook boasts, so after limbering up, and packing my bags I jumped on a 737 laden with fellow ravers and notable DJs and headed down Croatia way to right my wrong.


Fittingly for Outlook - a festival steadily carving itself out as a long-standing overseas pillar of rave culture is held in Pula - an ancient Roman town similarly proud of its rich heritage. Stocking supplies and mooching around the town ahead of the festivities showed a side of Pula I’d willingly see again freed from the constraints of festival fun. With one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world (the venue for the opening concert), and narrow shop-flanked streets, Pula is a delight all of its own.


After pitching our tent in dappled shade we got down to a sophisticated round of gin and tonics complete with ice from the well-stocked on-site shop, and a very reasonable pizza from the food stands. As is festival tradition, everything is paid for with tokens which are 1:1 exchanged for the Croatian Kuna, but where one-day London festivals suffer from half hour long queues for these plastic chips, Outlook peppered the camp-site and stage areas with enough stands that queues were never more than 10 people deep. Likewise with the facilities, the lavs were never over-subscribed, and while they became increasingly smelly, the bi-daily cleans kept them useable. There was that one time I found a group of errant turds that had somehow landed everywhere but in the blue liquid, but with so many other commodes to choose from I wasn’t a man without a country for long… 


The stages all had a flavour of their own, from the grotty realness of The Garden, to the big-bill arena vibe of The Clearing (taken over as main stage without The Harbour) I found myself reveling in the ambience as much as the sound. The Moat’s high walls and 100m deep walk from front to rear retained a feeling of closeness with the DJ even towards the back. Mungo’s Arena and The Stables had an otherworldly vibe with coloured lights bouncing off the stone walls. All in all Outlook is a festival that’s very pretty to see.


I could go through an exhaustive list of each set seen, but we’ve all got places to be and with the quality on show this review would become a dissertation if I did, so the truly notable sets are detailed below:

The Heatwave brought a taste of Notting Hill to The Void, repping the likes of Charly Black that got the booties shaking. As before they employed the help of a local Croatian dance troupe. A nice touch as it helped fold in some local flavor with the broadly imported artists. 

Father Rodigan was his usual avuncular self, requesting we give some signal and throwing out bangers from down Jamaica way. Offbeat goodness to be had with every spin delivered with unbeatable patter from his textbook raised seat out front.

Swindle played two sets, of different tones. The first in The Void was an urban rampage with wall-to-wall bangers, and tight quick mixing. The second as the sun set on the Beach Stage was his own work with live instruments, and hearing Mood Swings live was a highlight of the festival.


Kode9’s set was a technical masterpiece, seamlessly mixed footwork business that got me so hyped I nearly threw out my shoulder in Mungo’s Arena.

Levelz Crew were their usual fun-loving selves and ended a fun set by singing Home and Away acapella and parading around. Perfect festival vibes lads.

Grime’s kingpin Kano brought solid energy to The Clearing, with a younger audience that proved to be more 3 Wheel Ups than Ps and Qs he effortlessly folded in classics with new bangers. 

Kurupt FM - solidifying their meteoric rise into the zeitgeist, played the now main-stage The Clearing on the final day, after playing The Garden last year. With their cheeky Garage bangers and chucklesome in-fighting they filled the place and kept up momentum. 

That familiar guy, where do I know him from – Stormzy similarly rocked (grimed?) the main stage, keeping the kiddies on their tippy toes alongside Croydon’s finest - Section Boyz, completing the set of South London Sunday.


No Outlook trip would be complete without a jaunt out to international waters (not really) on one of their famous boat parties. We elected to join the crew of the good ship Deep Medi. With 2016 being the year of their 10th anniversary, the big names were out in force. The lads opted for the egalitarian approach of 2 tunes b2b, which meant that excitement was perpetual as each DJ kept up with the flow. With Rider Shafique MCing over the lot, Commodo, Gantz, Kahn & Neek brought the dark grimey bedlam initially with the likes of Kaiju and Silkie providing a wavier purple sound to the proceedings, all with suitably dubby overtones. Mala lead the VIP charge from the outset pulling up one of Jack Swift’s offerings and dropping the bells and whistles version. While many of the records played were dubplates and unreleased bigguns, find in amongst my Top Records Heard, for the ID-able nuggets of 140 fun.


The Knowledge Arena was an innovation this year at Outlook. Brought to us in association with Ableton, Akai Professional, and M-Audio revelers of any prior skill level were able to learn how to produce and mix. Curated by the good people over at CDR, this project gave party people a glimpse into the worlds of their favourite artists, and insight into what it is to be a music professional. Alongside a copy of Ableton Live 9 up for grabs, Outlook really changed the game here - lineups, locations and food stalls aside, festivals can become homogeneous affairs, but this touch really brought something different to the event. Walking towards and back from the stages and hearing peoples’ cursory efforts at production both underlined the skill of full-fledged artists, and reinforced the sense that people at this festivals were true music lovers, and keen to learn.


The new Outlook app that had the most up to date set times and locations unfortunately fell a little flat in execution. Requiring a constant data connection meant that we needed to buy data by the fistful, or resort to using set times at stage entries or the pre-printed, and now out of date, paper list to know where people were playing. With a little tweak here and there it could become a perfect assistant in deciding a plan of action during a festival night.


A thunderstorm on the final night heralded the end of a spectacular Outlook. All told I was blown away with how well executed and curated the festival was. To be sure I’ll be attended again, and would recommend to anyone else who’s never tried it before; to those who have, you already know. Outlook you were smashing.

Words by Sam Jones.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


OUTLOOK FESTIVAL 2016: ONES TO WATCH

The Outlook 2016 line up is looking as strong as ever, covering dub, dubstep, reggae, grime, DnB and everything between. As with any line up with more than 10 names, set clashes are inevitable and painful decisions will have to be made. Do you see someone you know will tear it up or discover a new artist that could change your life? Unless you’re one of the “I just came to get twisted” types, you will most likely spend your evenings juggling perpetual DJ set FOMO and a loosening grip on your own cognitive function. Any attempts made at carefully crafting a timetable of your movements for the day become futile when you are 7 beers and a boat party deep.

 Nevertheless, there are always those artists that above all odds you attempt to see, whether you have to drag yourself on all fours. Here’s a list of artists we’re looking forward to this year from legendary headliners to the fresh faces. Although we will probably only end up seeing a mere handful of them, after spending one night looking for lost friends and another passed out before sunset, it’s nice to dream…

Section Boyz
From their hype-as-fuck Boiler Room debut, to a surprise appearance from Drake at their London gig, 2015 was the year of the Section Boyz. 

Tracks: Lock Arf, Trappin Ain’t Dead.


Henry Wu
Smooth South London soul. These sun-bleached grooves are made for recovery jamming on the beach in your shades, achieving little more than a tapping foot as you sip on a (probably warm) cider. 

Tracks: Dubplate Special, Good Morning Peckham, Just Negotiate.



LEVELZ
Manchester MC and DJ collective LEVELZ bring the madness whatever city they are in. Their sound is as multifaceted as the history of the hometown they represent and as a bunch of relentless lyricists they can spew at breakneck speeds or bring it back down over a hip hop instrumental for one of their banging cypher sets. 

Tracks: LVL 07, LVL 09, any of their cypher sets on YouTube.



Slum Village
Real Detroit hip hop royalty over hazy J Dilla beats. Shit will get emotional when “Fall in Love” drops. 

Tracks: Fall in Love, Raise it Up, Reunion, Tainted.



The Heatwave
Bashment party starters, The Heatwave, know how to get the carnival energy going whether they’re playing a gleaming Croatian beach or a rainy street in Notting Hill. Their sound system roadblock approach makes them an essential edition to Outlook. Bring your whistles and flags and get ready to whine. 

Tracks: An endless slew of Sean Paul mash-ups, Rihanna refixes and bashment dubplates. Check their Rinse FM show.



Kahn & Neek
When the proliferation of Dubstep faded out into EDM obscurity, its beating heart in Bristol kept the true sound alive. Artists like Kahn & Neek have stripped the grime and dubstep sounds back to their roots while taking them in an entirely fresh sounding direction.

Tracks: Percy, Play Your Corner Remix, Abattoir, Backchat, Chevy.



Commodo
Another dubstep bass weight champion, Commodo has a knack for producing absolute face-melters. We can’t wait to see what weapons he draws for when in control of one of Outlook’s incredible sound systems. 

Tracks: Shift ft JME, Bitchcraft, Fuck Mountain VIP.


CASISDEAD
This masked creature is one of the strangest characters in grime and road rap right now, but his bars about banging Nigella Lawson and driving on DMT are some of the darkest and most entertaining we’ve heard in a while.

Tracks: What’s My Name, Nigella, 6AM.


AJ Tracey
One of the lesser spotted faces of the new grime wave but certainly one to watch. His flows seamlessly blend classic roadman bars with Yu Gi Oh and Dragonball Z references. What more could you want. 

Tracks: Naila, Spirit Bomb.



Reijje Snow 
Dublin born Reijje Snow is a rapper on the rise that has got the blogosphere swooning again after a 2 year hiatus from music. If his new material is anything to go by, Snow is destined for big things. 

Tracks: 1992, Snow, Blakkst Skn.


Dub Smugglers
Whenever I read reports of people’s reflections on Outlooks gone by, Dub Smugglers Sound System are always the first mentioned. This can only mean one of two things – either they play at the optimum time just before people spiral into a blur of hazy amnesia-inducing hedonism or their brilliant sets are the perfect start and one of the most memorable of the week. I’m willing to bet it’s the second. 

Tracks: Shine Eye Gal Remix, Rasta Praise Dub.



For more information and to purchase tickets click here

Words by David March.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

WHY OUTLOOK FESTIVAL IS STILL THE FESTIVAL DON


Before Croatia had a festival for every day of summer, there were but a handful of pioneers. One of those was Outlook, at the time a small attempt to bring real sound system culture to the sun soaked lands of coastal Croatia. With eight years of success to look back on, pretty much everything that can be said about Outlook has already been said. The Croatian festival has ascended to legendary status, becoming a rite of passage for the raving masses. The vivid dichotomy of combining a platter of sensory overload within the most tranquil of locations has been a winning formula for nearly a decade.


It begins with the incredible location; Fort Punta Christo, the imposing, cavernous depths of The Fort, The Moat and Noah's Ballroom that allow the waves of low end to rumble against their towering ancient stone walls. It’s is an experience that Outlook alone can provide, matched only by the unparalleled booking policy. No other festival better covers every creed of bass music, be it Dub, Dubstep, Grime, DnB, Hip-Hop or Reggae. Highlights of this year’s line-up include hip-hop heroes such as Slum Village to grime’s MCs of the moment, Stormzy, Section Boyz, Little Simz and AJ Tracey. Then there is the usual suspects and heavyweight campions; Mala, Congo Natty, Rodigan, Channel One and Goldie. These names barely even scratch the surface of what one can expect from the gargantuan line-up that sound track the daily ritual that is set in stone.


Rising at the crack of noon with a brain like soggy cotton wool, aching legs and a bad case of dust lung. Recovering on the beach and washing out the nights toxins in the crystal azure waters of the Adriatic coast. As you stew, the soothing dub beats loosen you up for the night ahead. A moment of reflection and awe as the sun sets over the Med. Getting a little tipsy to some bashment as you start to perk up. Hitting up a boat party for some debauchery in international waters. Returning to dry land fully lit and ready for another big night.

All in all, there are many imitations, but this one is the original, where 15,000 hearts beat at 140bpm. Outlook made something special nearly a decade ago and after so many years, it is still entirely deserved of its position. The numbers may grow and the crowd may change but it has never lost sight of what makes it the don of sunshine bass music festivals.

For more information and to purchase tickets click here.

Words by David March.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

NOZSTOCK THE HIDDEN VALLEY 2016

Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th July 2016 

  Nozstock The Hidden Valley returns for its 18th year this July in stunning Herefordshire for a weekend of magic, inspiration and enchantment.

  Headliners include Jurassic 5, Gentleman’s Dub Club and Foreign Beggars with more to be announced in the coming weeks.

  Support includes Slamboree, Hot 8 Brass Band, Professor Elemental, Split Prophets, Dr Syntax + Pete Cannon, Tankus The Henge, Solo Banton + The Upper Cut Band, Son of Dave, Houdini Dax, Kagoule, Eva Lazarus, Sam Redmore.

  DJs include Friction ft. Linguistics, Dub Phizix + Strategy, DJ Marky & MC GQ, Dimension, Rene LaVice + Stapleton, The Prototypes, JFB, Ulterior Motive b2b Jubei, Rockwell, Randall, Teddy Killerz, Xtrah & Stealth and Channel One

  Theme for 2016 is Wonders of the Ancient World.

  Festival takes place across an idyllic working farm set in beautiful countryside.

  Vibrant range of arts, comedy and film programming to be revealed in the Spring.

  Epic family fun and crafts still to be announced, plus lots more acts to come.



Reaching its 18th year in 2016, Nozstock is nestled in the rolling hills of a beautiful working farm in the heart of Herefordshire. The immensely welcoming and independent event has evolved from 50 friends at the inaugural gathering into an intimate musical odyssey, one of the UK’s longest running festivals. Curated by the father and daughter duo of ‘Noz’ and Ella, there’s a unique charm and energy to Nozstock, quite unlike anything else in the UK. 

Joining the wild dots between hip-hop, ska, reggae, folk, funk, soul, drum and bass, psytrance, electro-swing and a whole lot more across nine stages, plus interactive adventure and performance, Nozstock is a playground for all. From seasoned festival goers to newbies setting out for their first time there is something for everyone. This year’s festival theme is ‘Wonders of the Ancient World,’ so expect wild fancy dress displays and breath-taking decor.

For full festival info click here.




Thursday, 24 September 2015

OUTLOOK FESTIVAL 2015


It's no surprise that the first week of September was yet again our favourite week of the summer. We returned to Europe's number one bass music festival for the fifth time, and we already know that Outlook festival 2016 is most definitely on the cards. Boasting beautiful weather, a mind blowing setting and second to none sound systems, Outlook festival is in a league of its own. Every single Outlook has of course been monumental, but there was something about the music this year which set it apart from the rest. Here are our top 10 musical moments of Outlook 2015, in no particular order:


1. DJ EZ: The Beach (Thursday)
The perfect way to kick off Outlook is, without a doubt, an afternoon beach party. On the first official day of the festival the beach was packed bumper to bumper with happy, energetic Outlookers ready for four days of incredible music. And garage pioneer DJ EZ knew just exactly how to set the tone for the next few days.

2. Toddla T's Boat Party with Chimpo and Mella Dee (Saturday)
Probably the best boat party we've ever been on, at any Outlook festival, ever... Toddla, Chimpo and Mella Dee were on rotation for three hours of musical bliss, hosted by Black Josh (Levelz), Johnny Dub and MC DRS as the sun set over a sparkling Adriatic sea. It really couldn't have been better, and was topped off by pulling back into the harbour to R Kelly 'Hotel'. 


3. The Heatwave: The Void (Saturday)
Filled with only the happiest vibes and the most positive energy, we started our Saturday night with an injection of carnival at The Void. Arms in the air, jumping side to side, there was not a sad face in sight. The Void was overflowing with happiness as the Outlookers got warmed up for another night of musical perfection.

4. Elijah & Skilliam: The Void (Saturday)
Butterz duo Elijah and Skilliam, who immediately followed on from The Heatwave, kept the energy high and switched it up taking a turn down Grime lane. We were pulled in deeper and deeper with every song, as these selectors got it bang on, with a little help from high-top hero D Double E (Newham Generals).

5. Noisa: The Clearing (Saturday)
Strobe lights and trippy noises consumed The Clearing on Saturday night as Noisa took to the stage. The set was an overwhelming sensory overload, and we mean that in the best way possible. Dark sounds were the speakers soundtrack as our feet barely touched the floor for over an hour.


6. Leofah's (Jungle Set): The Moat (Saturday)
Probably one of the most intense sets of the weekend that we caught. Leaofah's jungle set was at our favourite of the Outlook stages: The Moat, and despite the generator failing five minutes before the end, our feet were constantly moving to what felt like hours of incredible music.

7. Shy FX: The Harbour (Sunday)
One of our most euphoric festival moments ever was back in 2011 when Shy FX played The Harbour stage, and after five days of blistering heat, the heavens opened and the rain poured. We found ourselves back in the same spot four years later, reliving our joy through the mixing of the incredible king of energy, Shy FX.


8. Kurupt FM: The Garden (Sunday)
Get out the way! Get out the way! Kurupt FM, who we all know and love from BBC series 'People Just Do Nothing' raised the energy levels, as per usual on the penultimate night of the festival. The Garden was packed with 

9. Barely Legal: The Garden (Sunday)
From the first time we saw her play at Outlook 2013, Grime and Garage Princess DJ Barely Legal has always been a favourite of ours. Standing at only 5'1, she stands on a box for most of her sets, proving that good things most certainly come in small packages.

10. Chimpo: The Garden (Sunday)
The last set we saw at Outlook before we made a dash for our 5am transfer, Chimpo was the perfect ending to the perfect festival. The cherry on the cake was when there was a stage invasion by the enthusiastic and dedicated crowd. This magical Manchester music maestro doesn't appear in our 'Top 10' twice by accident. He is quite simply, one of the original Outlook Festival vibe bringers...


Which leads us on to the final part of our Outlook highlights - when Chimpo composed a series of interview questions for grime MC, rising star and 'Lewisham don': Novelist, just after he stepped off The Clearing stage on Friday night.

Nov, wot about da gentrification of Lewisham?
"It's shit. Chimpo's been there as well. Like, he's come to Lewisham so he's seen like Brockley back in the day, where I'm from, he's seen it now. Obviously new peoples gotta move in but like, to take away the characteristics of an area is not really a cool thing man because after a while it just becomes something else. No one locally like really gets what's going on but when it hits with a bang, it's everyone hard, you know what I mean? And that's the sad thing man."

U got sum stylish track suits, do u think u cud bring it to Chimpo on da cat walk?
Yeh I have, Maharishi tracksuits. Yeh, they're quite nice. I know the guy who founded the company. Yeh, Maharishi tracksuits, I think Chimpo would like that still. 


If u met da beautifulest gal u ever met but u went on a date an' she started bussing pure shower man bars sending for bare serious g's, would u go on a second date?
Would I go on a second date? Yes, I'd make her so spit my bars. Yeh, I'd make her write me some bars. 

Stunning eyes or wondrous booty?
Stunning eyes. 

Nice. That's it, you're done.
That's cool man. That's alright, I like Chimpo. He asked me some cool questions.

For more information about Outlook Festival click here.

Words by Ama Samra and photos by Ross Silcocks (Entirety).





Wednesday, 24 June 2015

PARKLIFE FESTIVAL 2015
Probably the greatest asset of a festival is its creation of organized chaos, given that managing swathes of hedonistic festivalgoers is no easy feat. This ability to ensure the safety of its attendees whilst certifying they have the best possible time, listening to the best possible music, is something that Parklife has surely proved very adept in. Indeed, the festival this year was so impeccably organized that even the sun made a prolonged appearance, in Manchester of all places.
Aside from Parklife’s array of musical pleasures, the festival’s offering of delectable street food, surprisingly great facilities, and fairground attractions were all sure hits. Moreover, prior concerns of music tents quickly reaching capacity were easily dispelled, and ensuring you were a few minutes early to any performance virtually guaranteed a great spot. Perhaps the only negative of Parklife’s presentation was the muted and fluctuating sound on the main stage, especially prevalent throughout Disclosure’s headline slot. However, it was clear the organizers were keen to right this wrong with the clear audio on the following day with even Jessie Ware’s hushed vocals pounding around Heaton Park.
As a whole, this desire to please combined with the artist-curated line-ups definitely fostered a sense of community that reflected the festival’s intended ethos. There was a complete absence of jostling in queues, or in tents, and I personally saw no trouble whatsoever, something that critics are keen to tar Parklife with.
The shared enjoyment in being a part of baying crowd, euphoric in their demanding and receiving of the best in a plethora of musical genres is an experience that is hard to surpass. However, to simply speak about the festival’s success in broad terms would do it a disservice, so here are a few specific highlights we enjoyed:
MAC DEMARCO
Guitar-driven music is more than just a gimmick or a novelty at a festival like Parklife; it’s a representation of the broad scope of musical genres employed to please the crowds. On Saturday Mac Demarco’s crowd-pleasing was definitely in full swing, his energetic and hilarious part-goofy part-repugnant (in the best way) mannerisms energized an already fervent crowd.
After greeting “London, Manchester” Mac and Co. bizarrely unleashed a variety of Shrek quotes, revealed what hotel and room they were staying in and asked the crowd for the ‘Beckhams’ and ‘Queen Lizzie’ to appear. Firing off a passionate best-of set from ‘Salad Days’ and ‘2’ followed by a largely failed crowd dive it was clear they were having just as much fun as we were.
JULIO BASHMORE
Vice writer Clive Martin once referred to ‘Au Seve’ as the ‘Smells like teen spirit’ of the house revival. But, Julio is clearly not pretending to be Kurt Cobain, although some would argue that he delivers a similar ecstasy, especially in the record's famously direct bassline. Julio instead offered a great tribal-infected set at ‘The Temple’ stage, gaining one of the festival’s biggest crowds for a daytime slot as his swerving beats certainly induced a festival atmosphere of playfulness and elation.
ZED BIAS
Upon entering the ‘Drop The Mustard’ stage on Sunday, weary from the night’s previous gratifications, I was disappointed to walk straight to the front of an empty tent. Surely Manchester’s dance music Godfather deserved better, or had everyone just seen it all before? Well it was fair to say he soon got the grateful reception he deserved. A frenzied display, aided by the help of his new live show drew in the crowds, and five minutes later it was clear to see the masses had come to their senses. By the time the anthem ‘Neighborhood’s’ first chords had played Zed was in full flow, much to the appreciation of a now full tent, honoring one of the greatest contributors to Manchester’s continually thriving music scene.
WOOKIE & DJ Q
If Zed Bias had revived the crowd then the bassline champions would surely send them into overdrive. A typically manic set by Wookie & DJ Q displayed their almost ‘ADHD’ approach to mixing, with complex but swift changeovers making the crowd (and us) lose our bleary eyes and hungover heads.
WAZE & ODYSSEY
The first time on Sunday that I had actually seen Waze & Odyssey was in Manchester Piccadilly station as I overheard them bickering on the escalator behind, “If I had listened to you we would still be on that train!”. Struggling to find the taxi rank to take them to a festival they were playing in just a few hours would perhaps cast doubt on the capability of the unit’s abilities. Yet, the meteoric success of the house duo has been clearly chartered and it was evident they are capable of performing on the world’s biggest stages. Rosé wine in hand, they smashed through a blistering set, a highlight being Patrick Topping’s ‘Voicemail’, hardly a sing along anthem but one that the ardent fans screeched in rapture, a telling indicator of their knack for timing and momentum.
DUSKY
Atop of the hill called the ‘G-Stage’ Dusky’s hard hitting tech-house was a real treat. Pumping hi-hats and booming basslines are hardly unique in a festival like Parklife, but it was clear that Dusky’s set was uniquely passionate and precise. As ‘Careless’ played and the sun set with the final rays creeping into the tent it was clear that they are something different live.
NAS
Hearing the entirety of Nas’ opus ‘Illmatic’ would surely excite even the most casual of hip-hop fans. The genre-defining album was definitely conveyed in the most emphatic of manners as Nas illustrated his continuing contemporary relevance with an artistic set. The rare opportunity to witness a master at work was met with the most thunderous of appreciation as Nas superbly took us back to Queensbridge in 1994.
JAMIE XX
It is perhaps fitting that Jamie XX, one of the most eclectic artists in recent years, releasing an equally extensive critically acclaimed album, would be playing at Heaton Park. After a similarly rolling set from Nicholas Jaar at the ‘Now Wave’ stage, Jamie XX, records in hand, was sure to rejoice with the awe-filled crowd. Yet his set, including a decidedly great big room edit of Room 5’s ‘Make Luv’, was hardly full of crowd-pleasers, but that was clearly never his intention. Instead the sometimes-nervous London-based producer assuredly sent the crowd to dizzying new heights, even greater than the now widely documented stage climber.
The triumphant final track of his set, ‘Loud Places’, disclosed the paradoxical smallness and giganticness of the producer’s success. Playing a song describing the pained notion of being desperately alone to an adoring crowd certainly held more than a hint of irony. If he asks “Didn’t I take you to, higher places you can’t reach without me?” Jamie surely knows the response, he and Parklife did, let’s just hope the festival does stick around.
For more information visit www.parklife.uk.com



Friday, 19 June 2015

THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THE UK FESTIVAL SCENE AND FIELD MANEUVERS IS THE CURE
In the build up to another British summer, it seems as if there is a new electronic music festival born each week. These big budget behemoths lure in vast amounts of attendees with glossy branding and replicant line-ups of the usual pedestrian-house suspects. It seems inevitable that someday this bubble will pop, as the festival scene becomes overly diluted with homogenous events, the supply will soon exceed demand. There are only so many Navajo headdress toting twenty-somethings and slickback shufflers.

In this post-scarcity economy, the niche festival is king. We are talking about stripped-back grassroots events like Farr Festival (take a look on what went down in 2014) and Freerotation. For the keen eyed, early adopting music head that seeks out such gatherings, the rewards are plentiful. Well curated line-ups and a crowd void of Essex day-trippers trying Mandy for the first time. 

One new promising star in this movement is Field Maneuvers. Only in its third year, this micro-festival takes over a secret location in the Oxfordshire countryside and sees as little as 500 revellers gather to enjoy a line-up that reads like a techno connoisseur cheat-sheet.


It’s hard not to draw parallels to "everyone's favourite festival you've never been to" , the elusive, hyper-exclusive Freerotation; famed for having an application process so long you wouldn’t be surprised if there was a clause expecting blood sacrifice and your first born child. From what we hear, it’s worth the wait. However, with Field Maneuvers all you must part with is the very reasonable cost of a weekend ticket. 

The line-up focuses on the rough and ready side of house, techno and disco; Berghain mainstay Ryan Elliott, UK techno overlord Ben Sims, disco-punk The Black Madonna and Detroit royalty Marcellus Pittman, all the way through to the weightier tones of Blawan and even grime’s godfather DJ Slimzee. What better way to spend the final days of summer than getting up close and personal with some of the world’s finest selectors until the wee hours and leaving with 499 new friends?

With such a small number of tickets we suggest you don’t sleep on this one. Buy your ticket and find out more here

Words by David March.


Monday, 8 June 2015

BOOMTOWN RELEASES THEMES FOR ALL 9 DISTRICTS

Most festivals are content with having one theme to stick to throughout the event, but not BoomTown; with nine completely different districts making up this bonkers fantasyland of ultimate escapism, all fancy-dress bases are covered! From the backstreet barbers in the Wild West to the glamourous ladies-who-lunch of Mayfair Avenue, there’s a whole plethora of characters just waiting to take up residence in one of the unique areas of the city. 

BoomTown, taking place over 13th-16th August at the Matterley Estate near Winchester, has already announced all 500 plus acts performing this year, including Stephen Marley, Flogging Molly, Gogol Bordello, Matisyahu, Barrington Levy, Squarepusher, Noisia, Spor, John Butler Trio, Less Than Jake, Infected Mushroom and hundreds more across nearly every conceivable genre, the details for each of the city’s districts can now be unveiled, along with all the madcap and bizarre venues to be found within them.

With so many districts, streets, venues and sideshows to take in, the ever creative powerhouse of BoomTown Fair have launched their very own news channel, BTN, to deliver short, snappy news bulletins outlining each of the districts and all the wonders that can be found within! The full playlist of district videos can be found by clicking here.


Starting off with the lawless Wild West, this dusty district first opened its saloon doors in Chapter 6 and since then has doubled in size and expanded with even more unsavoury characters roaming the streets just waiting to corrupt any who choose to visit! With many venues to discover including The Wrong Side of the Tracks railway station; Madame Electrifie’s General Store a hive of Western wonders alongside some of the most rip-roaring fiddle playing in all the prairies! The Gold Rush mine has been re-opened as a saloon by a wild bunch of thirsty thrill seekers rivalling Shot Gun Willies as the districts’ premier watering hole. The Lawless Halls of Justice have spruced up the old Courthouse with an all-star line-up of auditory outlaws keeping everything in order. Visitors to the unruly bad-lands of the Wild West are welcome to run amuck among the disorderly streets and try to make their name…

Barrio Loco, a passionate playground filled with technicolour and a true zest for life! This is the home BoomTown’s Glorious Leader as well as many an action packed venue including, Circo Bassline with their Caba-rave; the Happy Slap El Espectaculo Esqueleto and Samedia Shebeen. Visitors are advised against taking a wrong turn and ending up in Breaking Boomtown Lab. For a spot of reinvention head to La Belleza Muerto; those of a sporting disposition may feel brave enough to hunt down a worthy adversary in the interactive gaming zone of Dissosia Casa de Balanceo Loco or throw the biggest shapes in the ring at The Dance Off!



Back up the hill from Barrio Loco lies the all the prosperity of Mayfair Avenue, join the 1 percent-ers in their tax free haven or try to swindle them out of their fortune. Revel in these golden streets where the stakes are high and the fun is serious! With establishments such as Charlie Browns Casino and Bar where one can win or lose big; interactive decadence of the Park Hotel boasting cocktails, room service, gaming tables and music shows; festival entertainment elite, the Bearded Kittens’ very own Opera House and The Fitzslones’ mansion party in Funkington Manor. There are plenty of sideshows to entertain including Copper Feel Cabaret and the Candy Trash Beauty Boutique. The Slapbox is there for ultimate image capturing or glide around in style at BUMP Roller Disco.

The OldTown pirate port tempts passers-by into its cobbled back streets and bawdy taverns for a weekend of raucous revelry and clandestine celebration! As the first place for many settlers, OldTown provides a range of amenities to keep transient visitors occupied; The Job Centre will be on hand to find gainful employment for all new arrivals within the city, sending citizens off to work within other establishments at the fair, prepare for the new employment opportunities with Jack The Clippers barbers.Grandmas Living Room offers homely comforts along with the more communal space of Peoples Front Room. There is also Rimski’s, a loveable dive filled with live music enthusiasts. Or for something totally different go visit Wayne and Wanda’s grounded cruise ship for the ultimate lip-synching experience! Offering straight up redemption is the Dank Parish’sChurch of The Sturdy Virgin’. The miscreants out there should watch out for the Boomtown Bobbies who will be ensuring law and order are obeyed at all times!


Moving down the hill to the area of DownTown is home to ChinaTown, the colourful mecca of the digital new age where gaming is all the rage, with a sound track of Ska Punk. Pop into Alan’s Happy Ending Cinema to experience another dimension in 4D entertainment. Hang out with Mr Hung for t-shirt printing with a difference or lose yourself (and your savings) in the Lucky Cat Musement Arcade. Bend some circuits with So Fun Tek and play live 3D Mario in Dubtendo. There’s also a totally 21st century gaming experience available with Digital Funfair and the mash-up make over at The Freak Boutique punk parlour!

The seedy underbelly of DSTRKT 5 houses some of dodgiest dives in town and the Leisure Centre, Asbo Disco and the Old School Garage are all returning with their much famed antics and outright mayhem, along with other interactive venues such as the Spaceport, Jungle Syndicate and Amental. For those brave enough to cross this galactic border there is a whole other worldly realm of delights to be explored in this pan dimensional district. There is mind, body and soul modification at The Body Shop, a regrettable new face from Downtown Tattoos, a questionable evening in the Red Rash Inn, a mighty good wash down from the 24hr garage girls or selling your soul to We Buy Gold in a desperate attempt to escape the DSTRKT!


TrenchTown is more of an ideology than a physical district. Spread throughout the city, the residents of TrenchTown have their common bond, not over boundaries and buildings, tbut through a shared love for reggae, roots and dub culture. The Lion’s Denhas risen up and ascended the hill to a previously untouched area of the city. Tangled Roots has also packed up their stacks and relocated the full on celebration of soundsystem and dub culture to a woodland clearing close to the suburbs of Mayfair where Unit 137 and Lion Pulse will once again be battling out the soundclashes for all that stomp in it! Keeping TrenchTown grounded is the Hidden Woods, one of BoomTown’s most beloved spots this natural roots location houses tree-topped walkways, sandy spots with sun-splashed clearings, wooden huts hosting the ultimate reggae experience.

The place of the fair where freedom is at its truest, where the residents rule the streets and no-one is in charge, KidzTown! This year all of KidzTown are off on one almighty tropical island hideaway! This fantastical space for all the family, which is for the kids by the kids, will see the seaside resort take influence from the Tropics with colourful shirts, grass skirts, straw hats and inflatable animals galore! This creative reality lets the mischievous munchkins of BoomTown do exactly what they want to, with fair grounds, pizzas, puppets, hand crafted chill out areas, soft play, workshops, gigantic brain wave shows, interactive comedy and lots more…



Just across the track from KidzTown is Whistlers Green, a crossroads of creativity where participation is everything! There are lots of things to try and do here from; trapeze to black smith workshops, cider making to spoon carving or a relaxing message or dip in one of the hot tubs. Go astray in the Lost Horizons sauna and hidden gardens or tend to your soul in The Healing Place, featuring the wishing tree, mother and child space, daily morning yoga classes & a range of healing therapies including Acupuncture, Osteopathy, Deep Tissue and Thai massage. The calming confines ofWhistlers Green provides a relaxing environment to soak up the sublime array of tranquil tunes at the beautiful Floating Lotus stage. Relax in the many gardens and chill out zones with a cup of Chai or head to the Hobgoblin Ale Garden for a refreshing draft.


With so much going on, the bite-size news episodes are a great way to introduce and give a good insight into all the nine individual districts have to offer. Check out the full playlist here.

For more information and to purchase tickets click here.