Glade Festival 2009: Rated!

Matterly Bowl, Winchester - 17-19 July

Glade Festival 2009: Rated!

Photographer: Simon Clements-Hawes21 July 2009

Overall - 9/10
Spawned from the Glade Stage at Glastonbury, playing the very best in breaks, techno and psychedelic electronic music, Glade Festival has some serious party pedigree in its blood. In 2004, following the success of Glastonbury and after having countless illegal free parties’ shutdown by police, the organisers finally realised their dream of having a festival of their own that would encompass all aspects of rave culture under one huge psychedelic umbrella.  Since then the festival has gone from strength to strength, amalgamating into a Mecca for the electronically minded masses, providing beats, bass and beauty.

Getting there and back - 6/10

2009 saw Glade move to its new home, the Matterley Bowl just outside of Winchester. Being so far down south it’s a bit of a trek for us northerners, but the transport links are as efficient and regular as can be expected and with the trusty Mega Bus running regular trips from across the country for less than a tenner there’s not a lot to argue with. Unfortunately, the last place you want to be on your journey back is on a crammed coach full of revellers stinking like a wet dog in a cesspool.

The site - 8/10

Set in a huge natural bowl in the beautiful countryside of the south, the new positioning of Glade seemed like an ill-informed decision to all festival-goers who were expecting the rain. However, the powers that be obviously knew their stuff and when the heavens finally opened the site stayed relatively mud free. With over ten enclosed stages and plenty of chill-out areas, the sogginess seemed to go almost unnoticed and the rain ensured ravers remained refreshed.

Atmosphere - 10/10

“This is literally the best festival in the world,” was screamed into mobile phones from many happy campers, rubbing it into the faces of friends who were missing out on the action, and it remained the phrase on everybody’s lips for the entire weekend. Glade cannot be beaten for its excellent vibes, with everybody absorbing the hippies ‘share and care’ ethos that resounded throughout even the messiest areas of the festival. Whilst the security was present, they were hardly needed at all as people teamed up to look after those who were suffering. Honesty was integral to the festival, and after leaving a wallet laying on the floor for three hours, to find it in the same place still full of money, a sense of hope in humanity was restored. There were no barriers between any of the festivals many assorted ‘tribes’ and new potential friends were just waiting to be discovered around every corner.

Music – 9/10

‘Louder, Later, Longer’ was the motto for this year’s Glade. Due to licensing restrictions at the old site, the music finished at 12 every night and sound levels were restricted way below what was needed. This year the music was relentless, pausing only for a two hour breather at around six o’clock in the morning, with some of the tents carrying on straight through the night. Despite its name, the main stage remained the biggest disappointment this year, with an all together down tempo vibe that failed to excite the fans.

A huge battle of the genres ensued as the defending champion of psychedelia, psy-trance went head to head with the up and coming young upstart, dubstep. The majority of the crowd were torn between the two and found themselves switching stages rapidly in order to fulfil their needs. The dubstep stages did seem somewhat underpowered and this meant the colossal outdoor Origin stage, which played host to the majority of psy-trance eventually won through.

One of the biggest musical treats of the weekend came in the form of live acts which are a bit of a rarity at Glade. With a variety of vibrant ska and acoustic acts providing some respite from the relentless electronic music, the smaller tents were a goldmine of friendly festivities.

Uppers

Nitin Sawhney - 8/10

Peaceful Indian tinged relaxation from the British-born musician that has been providing meditation for the masses for over ten years now. Watching the sunset on the last day of the festival to a small but receptive crowd was a truly heart-warming moment.

Rusko - 9/10

A big welcome for one of the master of dubstep, Rusko’s set saw the Boomtown stage instantly crammed full of soggy dubsteppers. One of the more commercial sets of the weekend, Rusko rinsed out the remixes of classic party tunes keeping everyone smiling throughout the mud.

Milli Moonstone - 10/10

Never before have I seen someone relatively unknown make so many faces smile from ear to ear. Her unique brand of acoustic, world music inspired music got everyone suitably perky during a lull in a damp Saturday afternoon. With her Kate Bush style voice, she’s definitely one to look out for on the festival circuit this year.

Downers

Underworld - 5/10
With an underwhelming sound, and a small crowd, Underworld made little impact on the festival. Considering they were headlining the main stage, and their reputation from the early days of rave, expectations were high but the only song worth waiting for was ‘Born Slippy’ which nearly made it worthwhile.

Squarepusher - 5/10

Another headliner that failed to deliver, Squarepusher’s set was filled with technical noises and bleeps that although impressive, were impossible to dance to. The voices of the crowd could be heard muttering over the majority of the set.

Random events

The Grannies Gaff had to be the funniest place to be in the entirety of the festival. A Cafe ran by people dressed as grannies, who managed to stay in character for the whole weekend. Enough said.

By Joe Taylor.

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