Atomik Weekender 2010: Rated!
United Kingdom | 10 November 2009
Atomik Weekender is a little slice of Ibiza...in a Pontins Holiday Camp, Wales. But it's well worth the trip, writes Celeste Adamson.
Overall - 8/10
A three-day dance festival in November, set on the coast of north Wales, doesn’t seem like it would appeal to many. Pair it with the fact that it is located in Pontins and it would be easy to think that the organisers may have trouble filling a room, let alone packing three venues. This, however, could not be further from the truth. Having sold out for the second year running, Atomik Weekender easily fulfills its promise of bringing a little slice of Ibiza back to Wales and adds in a dose of old skool British raving in for good measure.
Getting there and back - 5/10
Driving supposedly takes five hours from London (seven for us in traffic, we’d advise against!). Trains from London to Prestatyn take approximately three hours, from Manchester two hours and from Liverpool one and a half hours. It is a 20-minute walk to the site from the station and taxis are available. There are, however, no shuttles arranged.
The site - 5/10
The festival is held in the Prestatyn Pontins resort in North Wales and the site is exactly how one would expect it to be. The concrete buildings are dreary and grey as are the copious amount of car parks than are sadly set off by the small patches of grass.
Easy as this is to knock it is hard to imagine a way around using a location like this in November. The apartments are noticeably clean and tidy and come with fitted kitchens, although slightly lacking in warmth. Adding to this it is near heaven falling into a proper bed after a long nights parting, a thought unheard of at any other camping festival. A full fridge of cold beers also softens the blow for the meager surroundings…
Atmosphere - 8/10
The atmosphere can only be described as a cataclysmic mismatch of nostalgic revelry. Walking into the main arena brings forward flashes of nineties raves scene, merged with glimpses of the more recent fleeting new rave genre. The giant luminous hearts and moons dangling from the rafters accompanied by the neon splash blacks and impressive sound systems drags everyone into a blissful trance and sense of illusion.
Classic U.V and strobe lighting quantify this effect and capture the elation on the party-goer’s faces. Hyping up the crowds, giant go-go dancers appear on stilts in ever changing outfits ranging from cheerleaders to traffic wardens. Planet of the Apes-type performers jump on the forefront of the stages bounding up and down, searching for things to climb. After this an abundance of entertainers flood the arena, fire breathers stand on podiums while ghoulish gas masked clad men prance around the crowds. It is here that the organisers have achieved their main goal and have gone that one step further. The Ibiza dance hall theme is pushed well and truly home, while the fantastical images of the unmatched English festival still remain true.
Music - 7/10
Atomik Weekender is a dance festival that focuses on bringing the Ibiza party vibe to Britain. They seek out the most popular DJ’s in the trance and techno genre and spread them over two venues.
Lisa Lashes is known as one of the founders of UK hard house and is regularly referred to as ‘The Queen’ of the genre. Living up to expectation she produced a flawless set and worked the crowd back up into frenzy after the somewhat predictable set from the Tidy Boys. Her flaming red hair reflected the lights as she downed a few red wines and noticeably appreciated her Amazonian stage dancers that viciously berated chainsaws. Not a beat was out of place as she worked her way up from psychedelic trance into hard house. Starting off with crowd pleasers such as’ Dance Floor Orgy' and then winding up with her new gem ‘More Beef’, Lisa Lashes reminds us why she had been around for so long.
Another household name Alex Kidd kept the party alive as his more industrial tunes drew the largest crowds. Girls tried to scramble onto the stage while others climbed on top of shoulders and ripped off their tops. Undeniably the heartthrob of the festival, he seemed unfazed by the attention and kept his head down, ever conscious of his music. His hard beat seemed to penetrate harder than others before him as drones of people continuously joined the throng throughout his set. Although his sound is strong, the lead synths and pads are distinctly simpler, and it is this that makes his tunes forever danceable.
The after parties were an ingenious idea. After the main arena had been shut down at around 7am they second stage carried on pumping out tunes until 12 noon, ready for the music to start again at 1pm. Ideal for anyone who wanted a 24-hour party.
Baby, it's cold outside
The weather is a big downer. It is understandably freezing it is on the coast in Wales in winter.
Please sir, can I have some more...
The food situation is also slightly annoying as there is a distinct lack of it. There is one cafeteria that sells school-dinner type meals but apart from that and two hotdog stands there is nowhere else to buy a hot meal. There is however a small shop where the essentials are available and kitchens are provided in the apartments. In short you are expected to cook or drive out for your meals.
Water, water everywhere, but not a drop for free
Another major downer was that the venues refused to give out tap water to the guests. Quite dangerous in the circumstances but if quizzed the managers were adamant that as they sold bottled water, they did not have to give any tap water out. This is illegal last time I checked but perhaps E.U law doesn’t apply to the Pontins chain…
Half Witt from Big Brother was seen swaning around with some strippers, giving out his business card.
By Celeste Adamson.
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