Global Gathering 2012 - Festival Review

'A mind-blowing weekend'

Global Gathering 2012 - Festival Review

Photographer:Anna Hyams

Helen Giles - 29 July 2012

As the sun gleams over a picturesque Stratford, thousands of excited campers pitch up in preparation for one of the UK's most iconic dance festivals.

The camping is crowded, the beer is expensive and the toilets are rougher than sand paper, but all of this is overshadowed by the immense line up Global Gathering has carefully put together.

So many great acts and such little time, meaning sleep is not an option! For those finding it hard to keep on raving through the weekend there are plenty of areas where people can chill and still enjoy the music and sunshine.

The weather doesn't have any bearing on this event - a raging hurricane could smash its way through the vintage airfield and it still couldn't dampen the high spirits blowing around the venue.

Opening the UKF stage on a glorious Friday evening, Funtcase and Krafty MC (8/10) generate enough electricity to power the entire weekend. The intensity within this tent can't be put into words, with breakdowns so heavy it's enough to cave your head in and blow your mind. Dropping in hits from the likes of DJ Fresh sends pounding waves through the sea of waving hands. Opening with a set like this perfectly sets the scene for things to come.

Maybe an artist you wouldn't expect to see at a festival of this calibre, is Maverick Sabre (9/10) but you wouldn't have known it. This Irish singer/songwriter seeps sexual sensation into a sea of adoring onlookers with his husky tone and support of an extremely talented band.

Blasting onto the stage in an explosion of smoke and flames, Tinie Tempah (10/10) puts his heart and soul into every inch of his performance. The energy this guy generates surges through in the form of dark bass lines and classic Tempah melodies.

Armin Van Buuren (10/10). Most people would have counted themselves lucky to get even the tiniest glimpse of the Dutch trance producer, but lucky for fans not only did he close the State of Trance tent on a warm Friday evening, he opened this electric stage with live broadcast from over 150 miles away. The array of colourful lasers and smoke machines added to this incredible set, and the man himself oozed charm and confidence. Not a still body in the house, with ravers stomping to the heavy basslines and the harmonic synth breakdowns that would put even the most experienced trance producers to shame. A great atmosphere.

Seamless transitions, immense remixes and the grittiest beats. It can only mean one thing - Brookes Brothers (8/10), the drum and bass duo from London are tearing down the house in the Hospitality tent, we're falling with them. They have the capability to even turn one of the grungiest records of all time into a track that could easily pass as original, making your senses tingle to the smell of teen spirit. They've stuck to their roots, with classics such as 'Tear You Down' churning up the floor, but by mixing in some of the more current dubstep breaks they successfully entice a new generation of fans. By far Hospitality's most natural coupling.

A sparsely populated Global tent wasn't a great start to Rudimental's (6/10) set, and it wasn't much better as it progressed. The enthusiasm was there, but the repetitive and monotone sound dribbling through the sound system sent festival goers into a coma rather than a state of euphoria. Saying this, the chilled beats and the relaxed vibe is what the crowd needed after a heavy Friday night of Trance and bass, and although most were not enthused it allowed recovery time before the more energetic and reckless acts took to the stage. A sense of apprehension swirled around as the crowd waited for the hit 'Feel the Love', only to be introduced to a dulled down version leading to disappointment.

Labrinth (8/10) takes to the stage in the ultimate summer gear - the London producer famous for his part in the creation of 'Pass Out' sets the crowd alight with amazing performance and musical capability. His guitar skills could easily make him the next Slash! The confidence he possessed could definitely be perceived as arrogance, although whether or not it was indended we will never know. The rapport with the crowd could be better, but otherwise an excellent performance, great music that helped the festival set the atmosphere for the rest of the night.

You would have thought being the final act on the main stage on the closing night that more effort would have been made. The sweet sensation seemed to lack in comparision to Chase and Status's (6/10) previous performances. This could have been down to the abismal sound, but enraged by the crowds completely respected reactions inspired an immense remix featuring Rage Against the Machine. Not even this could bring back the already demotivated crowd, lost from the very start.

All in all, this has got to be one of the greatest dance festivals of the era - and it didn't disappoint in 2012. If you missed it this year, do not make that mistake in 2013. A mind-blowing weekend.


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