A festival plighted with problems in the past, this year’s number one electronic music festival has evolved into a brand new beast. 2010 saw Glade cancelled due to the rising cost of policing at the event, so a return in 2011 came as a relief to the festival’s faithful. A number of site changes in the run-up to event left ticket-holders somewhat uncertain until a last minute change secured Glade a home that finally looks to be permanent.
Psy-dub maestro OTT (10/10) kick starts proceedings, breathing into a sluggish crowd with sheer enthusiasm. Slowly the freaks began to ooze from their tents, making their way across the spread out site to over a dozen stages dotted about the grounds of Houghton Hall.
This year, the Glade introduced Nanosystems; tiny tents housing huge soundsystems representing the best of UK underground dance music.
They prove to be one of many ingenious ideas from the festival’s organisers. With over a dozen stages to contend with, the Glade stage standing has been unsure throughout the festival’s history. In this new incarnation, Glade stage has proven itself as the central hub of the festival.
Headliners Trentemoller (5/10), Adam Beyer (8/10) and Global Communication (7/10) are all legendary on the house and techno scenes and are worshipped by hedonists who remember the old-school dawning of electronic music. These superbly produce sets encapsulate the origins of electronic culture but leave VF with more of a showcase of talent than a full-on party.
Genre driven line-ups dominate play at each of the stages, with theme nights ranging from breakcore to minimal techno. The biggest shocks come from the the small live acts who bring a welcome break from the incessent rave. Junkyard Scientists (10/10) play the funkiest set of the weekend, keeping the party going into the wee hours of Sunday morning at Glastonbury favourite, The Rabbit Hole.
This year’s Glade has far more non-musical entertainment than previous incarnations, with Secret Garden Party having a massive effect on the decor and attractions. Those familiar with SGP will remember the infamous Dance-off stage that (as ever) is rife with punters throwing death-defying shapes come rain or shine.
Following the cancellation in 2010, the SGP crew took the reins as the former management reeled from the blow. The much-needed contribution has had a very positive impact overall, although Glade has lost some of the exclusivity in the festival community it once harboured.
However, Glade V2.0 is far from disappointing, with the crowd making the effort to make it all they had hoped for. Impeccable organisation and a clean environment ensure a smooth take-off at Glade 2011. Unwanted security dampens the atmosphere despite stewards promoting an atmosphere of safety and genuine festival love. Overall, it looks as though Glade is here to stay, embracing the community that has supported it despite minor setbacks and with that it will continue to grow and prosper as the only festival of its kind in the UK.