James Aldgate @ Global Gathering 2006

Photographer:Paul Underhill

Jon Wright - 31 July 2006

VF: James, How did GG begin?
James: "It all started back in 2000. Godskitchen had moved to a new club called 'Air'. The club has a capacity of 2,000 but on the opening night 20,000 people turned up. It was at this point that we thought 'shit, we have got to do something about this', and so Global Gatherings was formed." 

VF: With this only being your second year of going two days, has anything been learnt from last year?
James: "Yeah I mean last year was a big learning curve for us, there were a few teething problems and a few problems with getting the crowd through the gates."

VF: Yeah I had heard that the police were very strict due to the July bombings..
James: "Well the police have got a job to do. They basically wanted to search every thing that was passing through the gates. This led to a massive delay in everyone getting in and we were getting a bit worried that the crowd were going to react badly to this. We eventually managed to persuade the police to be less stringently and the crowds began to flow with a smile on their face."

VF: So how were you treated any differently this year by the police?
James: "This year they were much more relaxed with us, we were able to use more of our own security on searching people to get them through the gates. Of course there were other things that we learnt from going from a one to a two day. The size of the campsite was increased to try to ensure that people were not on top of each other. We also developed the site with extra facilities for everyone to enjoy. The outside cinema was brought in along with other tents such as the Laptastic tent, Gurn.net van and the Strongbow House. All of this is to try to bring even more of a festival feel to the event and make people want to come back even before the event has finished."

VF: Yeah I was going to mention the outdoor cinema. Whose choice was it to put Shrek on and Trainspotting up against Lisa Lashes?
James: (Chuckles away) "Not really sure but it seems a good idea."

VF: This year saw GG in Miami, how did that go?
James: "Yeah it really went off. It was a slightly different line up in Miami compared with here with a lot more metal influenced sounds coming through. Nine Inch Nails were the headline act. It is also just before the Miami Music Festival which always draws a huge crowd of international DJ's and music followers. There were about 20,000 people that turned up to the event and I'm sure that it can only grow."

VF: It was only a one day event though?
James: "Yeah the site we were on was not big enough for camping and as it was only our first year we need time for our reputation to grow."

VF: Would you say that’s because dance/house music is much lower key in America?
James: "Not at all, house is massive in America, it doesn’t have the same exposure as it does over here but it is growing. I would say it's more due to logistics and the fact that we didn’t want to step on anybody's toes. I mean the country is huge so holding a festival in Miami is not really going to influence the whole of America due to the travelling involved. We also didn’t want to go bulldozing our way in either. The reputation of the festival will eventually make it what it does."

VF: Global Gatherings. Is it all about dancing like an idiot in a field, what's the ethos behind GG?
James: "No I wouldn’t say that at all. It's about bringing together a mix of people that are here to have a good time musically. The great thing about this festival is that it brings together a wide ranging mix of peoples from all walks of life."

VF: What are the inflatable Buddha's all about?
James: "Not really sure really. It was just an idea we had and they seem to have worked."

VF: So it's not to bring a 'calming' influence to the campsite
James: "Well I suppose there's that aspect as well, although a calming influence was not what was running through the minds of the 30 people that wrestled one of them to the ground last night."

VF: So, who will you be dancing like a lunatic to?
James: "To be honest with you the only person I got to see last night was Daft Punk as I'm unfortunately still in work mode at the moment."

VF: Yeah what did you think of them. That's quite a coup..
James: "Yeah the set was brilliant. So many old tunes that had been slightly remixed. The crowd loved them which is what it's all about. Getting somebody with such legendary status as Daft Punk is like getting a massive pat on the back. It's when people like that say 'yeah we'll play' that you realise to yourself that the festival is growing and its reputation as being the biggest dance festival in the UK is getting bigger."

VF: How did you manage to persuade Daft Punk to perform, considering that they haven’t played in the UK since 1997? I mean were they banging down your door?
James: "Not at all, there is still a lot of organising and persuading that goes on behind the scenes to get even the big names that most people don’t realise. We found out that they were touring this year and that they were doing Coachella Music Festival. There was a lot of talking behind the scenes but eventually we got them (as a big grin appears on his face)."

VF: Is there anyone here that you wanted to perform and didn’t manage to get?
James: "Not really, the line up is a statement in itself. There is a great spread of artists over the two days."

James then stops midflow and interjects with, 'Do you think there's somebody that we have missed out then'?

Despite the fact that the guy had managed to pull off a f~~king mind-blowing festival and I felt really cheeky saying something, but I never can keep my mouth shut

"Well, there is one", I reply sheepishly.

"Who?"

"Sander Kleinenberg". I reply.

James then goes on to say that there is inevitably going to be people that aren’t at the festival as they just don't go on long enough. He ends by telling me there is always next year.

Not sure if this is a sneak preview of who's going to be there next year or if it was just his attempt at putting a smile on my face. With that his phone rings. "Listen, mate", he says "I've got to shoot", and he runs out of the tent.
 
Even with all this going on around him, the guy is still working like a trooper and is there to resolve any problems. It is with great sincerity that VF would like to take this opportunity to send a shout out to James, not just from the site but also from everyone that danced around, jumped up and down and had two amazing days in the company of the UK's biggest and best dance festival of 2006.

"James Algate we salute you."


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