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Get Loaded in the Park 2009 - Rated!


United Kingdom United Kingdom | 03 September 2009

Overall – 6.5/10

Born in 2004 to celebrate the reformation of the Happy Mondays, Get Loaded’s line up has variously comprised of indie to urban and punk. This year, the focus is on dance music, and it starts before the punters have digested their lunch.
 
The idea is to cram 20,000 people into a snug fitting enclosure at Clapham Common, finish promptly at 9pm, and then invite them all to Farringdon nightclub Fabric for an after-party that lasts until the early hours.
 
At £35 a ticket, it’s a reasonable price to pay for a gathering of big names that include Orbital and Pendulum. But with no breaks between sets, the day consists of battling through swathes of festival-goers to catch performances mid-way. Needless to say it flies by, our dance workout ending before we’re even warmed up.
 
Since everything has died down by the broadcasting watershed, post-concert clubbing is essential. However, for those that have failed to buy Fabric tickets in advance, the door penalty is an extra £15. Moreover, Fabric’s capacity is around 1,700 - you do the maths.
 
In short, Get Loaded is fun while it lasts, but dance music is a genre suited to late night hedonism and decadence and that’s the problem - it just doesn’t last long enough. Stretching it out to 11pm and perhaps extending the fun with a silent disco afterwards would make the whole event a bit less, well, sanitary.
 
Getting there and back - 5/10


With London tube lines blighted by weekend closures on account of 2012-related works and the simultaneously programmed Notting Hill Carnival, getting around, at least from North West London, is, quite frankly, nightmarish.
 
The site - 4/10


Allocated space per head within the enclosure is calculated to the nearest millimetre. And there’s dust. Clouds of dry, bronchitis-inducing, litter-addled mud-dust. South West Four, another day-long dance festival, took place within the same enclosure on Saturday, so there is a feeling that we’re being served the well-trodden, grubby seconds.
 
Anyone wearing sandals can observe their feet rapidly taking the appearance of a hobbit’s, and people are keeping sunglasses on - despite the absence of any inkling of sun - to stop their eyes from watering due to airborne particles.
 
Atmosphere - 5/10
 

There are two camps here, the ravers, both nu age and 90s original, and the stylish London posse in shiny leggings, looking more Ibiza glam than festival mud muggins. It is satisfying to see them all making the most of every sound system, whether at burger van, beer bus or fairground ride.

With the event so short in duration, there’s little time to make new acquaintances, but punters seem happy to relegate talking in favour of the art of dance.
 
Surprisingly, there’s less fancy dress and silliness than such festivals are prone to attracting. In fact, the be-jacketed police escorting crowds through Clapham Common after closing time were responsible for the majority of the fluoro on display.
 
Music - 7/10

Esser who was advertised on early flyer is mysteriously missing from the bill and Felix da Housecat has to cancel last minute due to a private family matter. Get Loaded’s webpage dedicated much time to Simian Mobile Disco, but it turns out they are only booked for the after-party.
 
Disappointments aside, sets by Peaches and Roni Size Reprazent steal the show. Pendulum also bound with incredible energy, as a swirly hypnotic backdrop in the XFM tent illuminates an enormous octopus attached to the roof above them.
 
Orbital’s headlining set looks shaky when a technical fault momentarily switches them off, but luckily it’s just a brief glitch. The audience enjoys their remix of Belinda Carlisle’s ‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’ and though enthusiasm then lags a little, they climax triumphantly with a version of the Doctor Who theme.
 
Uppers

VV Brown - 7/10

She came, minus trademark quiff, and despite being a genre away from the rest of the programme, she still conquered the rave crowds. Noteworthy was her cover of the Kings of Leon’s ‘Use Somebody’, as well as reggae version of first single ‘Crying Blood’.
 
Peaches - 9/10
She didn’t crowd surf - she walked, all over the heads of the audience. Then she climbed up the lighting rig, hung off the light itself and kicked a massive spiky fluorescent balloon hovering above the stage. At some point there was also a light sabre, and Peaches donned a skin-coloured leotard with a strategically placed bulb in her crotch area for the finale. Brilliant.
 
Roni Size Reprazent - 9/10
The only group of the weekend that got every last soul in the audience stomping. Big thumbs up to the guys raving with the Sesame Street finger puppets and the dude with the green hair and fold up-fold down glasses-sunglasses combo.
 
Röyksopp - 7/10

The Norwegian dance duo’s fairly average performance gets a second wind when fellow Scandinavian Robyn joins them for ‘The Girl And The Robot’.
 
Downers

Steve Aoki

It’s 3pm, it’s light outside and, for that reason, brain-frying electro is not doing it for half the crowd in the measly-decorated Dim Mak stage. They look on in anticipation (perhaps longing for intoxification?) while the other half jerks erratically in appreciation.
 
Random Events

On arriving: a group of boys all dressed in geek chic assemble outside the gates. They are, apparently, on their first ever trip to London, and not quite certain what they are letting themselves in for. When asked, their clipboard carrying leader (who is sporting extremely large specs and extremely short kecks) says he is very much looking forward to seeing Enya and Michael Bolton.
 
On leaving: two guys take a refreshing dip in the Common’s artificial pond, much to the delight of onlookers.

By Kae Karadelis.

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