Tag Archive | "Festival Review"

V Festival Review

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V Festival Review

Posted on 01 September 2011 by Chris Knight

It was apt that it was the Virgin festival that took my festival virginity.  At the age of 25 I had managed to miss every festival going.  This was in part due to trepidation about the camping and portaloo situation, and partly because it wasn’t the sort of thing my friends and I would ever think of doing, but the festival time of life seemed to have passed by without me realising I was missing out on this rite of passage.

It was with great excitement I discovered that I was being sent by Smashed Music to my very first music festival.  So it was at Weston Park I arrived on Friday night, armed with far too much luggage, a tent I didn’t know how to put together, and a fellow festival virgin.  We hoped optimism would see us through.

Struggling with enough luggage, food and booze to last a month never mind a weekend, (we had been forewarned that prices were high and we should bring our own) we staggered from one campsite to another only to be told they were all full.  It was no room at the inn for this modern day Mary and Joseph, albeit with more alcohol on their person than the original duo.  But as with Mary and Joseph – a miracle did finally occur, when we found a spot and got the tent up, sometime around midnight.

Having erected the tent with a little help from fellow campers around us, we managed to slip into the festival spirit without even realising it.  Random people came and shared food, booze, and horror stories about their journey to this very spot, and soon we were conversing like old friends with people of all ages and walks of life.

Having dozed off around 5am, we woke surprisingly refreshed.  A bit of dry shampoo to the hair, and we were good to go and find out what this festival malarkey was all about.  Nothing could have prepared us for the sheer scale of V Festival, the seemingly endless youngsters, wellies, stands, queues, stages, and an atmosphere of spontaneous excitement that gave you the feeling all rules went out of the window for this event.

The layout at V resembles a music loving billionaire’s birthday party.  In fact with Branson at the helm, that’s perhaps what we are seeing, a replica of a party he wishes’ he had been able to afford at the age of most festival goers.  Now he does have the money he’s turned a fantasy weekend into a lucrative business, cashing in on the hearts and minds of teens (and not forgetting us older crowd who don’t want to miss out and will pretend not to be fazed by the questionable sanitary conditions…)

The first act we saw was Ellie Goulding, her harmonious voice rang out above the huge crowd as we made our way to the main stage.  She set the tone for what was to be a weekend of spectacular talent, and an eclectic mix of musical genres.  Ellie concluded her set with the iconic ‘Your Song’, and proved her version can even top Elton John’s, as thousands swayed in time to the music and sang along to the well known lyrics.

Scouting for Girls followed Ellie, and hiked up the excitement with their fast paced hits.  ‘This ain’t a Love Song’ was met with applause from the crowd and is a clear favourite.  With V having always been a mainstream event, Scouting for Girls seemed like the ultimate crowd pleaser.  The pace and lyrics of their music, coupled with the reaction from girls in the crowd could almost place this trio as the Oasis of the Noughties.  If these three really are scouting for girls they won’t have to look much further than the many thousands screaming for their attention at V.

Eliza Doolittle and The Saturdays made up the rest of our afternoon, as we tried the second largest stage at V, the Arena stage.  The crowd here was made up mostly of teenage girls keen to sample a little pop at this Festival which is seeing increasing numbers of Rock acts take over the main slots.  There was some confusion at this point about what time Rihanna and Eminem would be playing, as no one wanted to miss the main headliners, but similarly didn’t want to pay the £10 V charges for a timetable of acts.  It became a game of Chinese whispers during the acts preceding these two, as everyone tried to ensure they were back at the main stage in plenty of time.  Those lucky few with a £10 timetable hung on a little card around their necks became a prime source of information for others, who would invariably ask to take a photo of this cardboard necklace, to have the coveted information for themselves.

Eventually, having played the timetable information game, we made our way back to the main stage where it seemed all one hundred and thirty thousand festival goers were descending to catch a glimpse of Rihanna.  Arriving twenty five minutes late, the pop sensation was bordering on having irritated the crowd by the time she made an appearance, but she managed to pull them back on side and gave flawless performances of her hits including ‘Don’t Stop The Music’, ‘Only Girl In The World’, ‘Pon De Replay’, ‘Rude Boy’, ‘What’s My Name?’, and of course, ‘Umbrella’.  All the top songs were there, and the iconic red hair, which could be seen emulated by fans across the crowd.

Rihanna sang as the sun set on the first evening at V Festival, and so it was in darkness, and with the full impact of well orchestrated stage lighting that Eminem made his appearance.  Most of the crowd stood dedicated, to see his act, despite cold temperatures once it was dark, but no one who saw him will regret their perseverance, as it really was Eminem who got the party started with his mesmerising performance.  In his first UK appearance since 2003, Eminem set V Festival alight, blasting out 28 brilliant tracks over 90 minutes, from his first hit ‘My Name Is’, to all time favourite ‘Stan’ which the crowd sang along to during the Dido parts.  Even Eminem looked impressed at the reception he received, and when he asked the audience to hold cigarette lighters and mobile phone lights into the air for his hit the aptly named ‘Lighters’, it was a spectacle to be remembered.  The biggest cheer of the night, and probably the entire festival, came when Rihanna joined Eminem on stage for their recent number one ‘Love the way you lie’.  The chemistry on stage between the pair was tangible and as the audience sang along to the infamous lyrics no one wanted the first day at V Festival to come to an end.

Like all good things, it did come to an end however, and just in time, as revellers had about 30 minutes grace to make it back to their tents before an  almighty thunderstorm broke which no one had predicted.  It was listening to the thunder and heavy rain, coupled with Eminem’s lyrics repeating in our heads, that myself and thousands of others fell asleep that night, looking forward to another fun filled day which didn’t disappoint.  My fellow festival virgin will cover the second day’s events here on Smashed Music during our next review instalment to follow soon…

V Festival was my first festival experience but now I’ve caught the bug it certainly won’t be my last.  Festivals seem to bring out the best and worst in people – circumstances drive girls who’ve spent 2 hours applying makeup in a tent, reduced to squatting in full view of everyone to go to the loo.  How did we avoid this fate?  What happens at V Festival stays at V Festival toilet wise, it is an issue best forgotten, but for those who need tips for next year’s event let’s just say there was a bucket in our tent we named Johnson.  If there is anything that could come close to the portaloo situation in terms of shock factor it is the rubbish on the floor at V Festival, which is unbelievable.  At the end of three days the site resembled a fly tipping zone.  Venture anywhere close to the stage and you are certain to get cups of what you will hope is beer thrown over you.  It is one of those rare occasions in life where you sniff your hair to check whether that is wee in it.

However if you can live with these factors for a short time, you will find the amazing side of festival life.  Everyone is carefree and wants to forget their troubles and just enjoy themselves.  Social barriers are removed at these events, where the factor everyone has in common is a love of music.  Festivals are the perfect opportunity to escape for a while.  Although in reality Weston Park was only about 45 minutes away from where I live and work, mentally it was a million miles away, because it was such an extraordinarily different way to spend a weekend.  There were a few goosebump moments during the very best acts, which will stay with me for years to come, and if you embrace the festival atmosphere you can laugh off even the most gross of situations.

I’m eager to experience different festivals now, in particular of course the Godfather of all festivals – Glastonbury.  But bigger isn’t always better, and as with another rite of passage in life, you always remember your first and compare everything that follows to it.  For me, that will always be V.

Smashed Music Goes Global Part Two

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Smashed Music Goes Global Part Two

Posted on 14 August 2011 by Mizzle

Friday night at Global was going to be tough to beat, none the less bleary eyed clubbers emerged from their ovens also known as tents in the blistering hot British sunshine. Breakfast was easily available and not too overpriced. I managed breakfast, tea and a fruit smoothie for under a fiver, showers were not bad either!  In that heat we needed them.

The day began and the festival began to fill up, by mid afternoon it was much busier than the Friday night, every tent was pretty much packed out as well as the main stage. Brookes Brothers were one of my first points of call and it turned out to be the highlight of the festival for myself. Simply put, they were incredible! In eleven years of DJing and clubbing I have never heard a more energised perfectly timed set to keep a crowd in the moment of euphoria and sadly I probably never will again. The tune selection was perfect as well as the mixing and interaction with the crowd. For one hour, the Hospitality tent was probably sending local Geiger counters crazy given the amount of jumping and bass pumping out of the sound system.

The Brookes Brothers were going to be a tough act to follow, later I ventured to see the amazing sounds and visuals of the American Dub Step heavyweight, Skrillex. He did not disappoint. Just about the most jaw dropping insane visual display, flashing and moving behind him as he played out his usual Metal influenced Dub Step sounds. I recall a version of La Roux – ‘In For The Kill’ accompanied by a 3D skellington and weird morphing shapes with the crowd, me included singing along.

Big name act after big name act followed round all the tents, Global Gathering was in full swing, until I ventured to the main stage to see some of the Headline acts such as Tinie Tempah. I was greeted by people heading in the opposite direction and a change in atmosphere and tempo. It felt like a mis match and out of place. When he performed ‘Mosh Pit’ followed by ‘Love Suicide’ you could feel the mood change, a friend turned to me and said “Im not at Global anymore” which was greeted by agreement from numerous others. Another note was for a lyricist as good as Tinie Tempah, he was not very good at speaking to the crowd. A wide vocabulary? Every other word was an expletive and not much inbetween. I did not stay for the finale….

Feeling a need to get back to the more vibrant element of Global, we headed to the largest tent Metropolis, where Chase and Status were due to play live. Anticipation hung in the air and people were crammed in from all angles. A huge roar went up as they entered the stage from left and right accompanied by MC Rage for their set. The stage was set as they opened with ‘No Problem’ with the haunting image of Takura from the video glaring down from behind them dressed as some sort of ultra violet voodoo priest. The crowd responded singing every lyric and throwing hands in the air, a far cry from Tinie Tempah earlier. Their set contained all their big releases and remixes including ‘Heartbeat’, ‘Eastern Jam’, ‘Blind Faith’ and the awesome ‘Pieces’ which was accompanied by a dazzling laser display. Energy, great MC work from Hype utilising the whole stage, and an amazing visual and lights show with a great performance. This had been epic.

Nero were to follow an, at times breath taking set from Chase and Status. It was a tough act to follow, but follow they did. Not starting with quite the same energy though, this was a progressive build of big synths, wobbles and breaks to the grand finale – the unveiling of vocalist Alana. A great live performance followed of the three crowd pleasing tracks ‘Me & You’, ‘Guilty’ and the new track ‘Promises’ all greeted by elation and big cheers. Alana was pitch perfect with her vocals not missing a note as the crowd responded chanting back the words.

Over all Global Gathering 2011 was a great mix of all types of Electronic dance music from Tech House to Drum and Bass mixed and played live by some great artists and DJs. Others I encountered who also rocked the festival were Ferry Corsten, Ben Gold, Gabriel and Dresden, Erol Alkan, Fake Blood and James Zabelia.

My only gripe with the entire festival is that Angel Music Group might consider booking headline acts more suited to the rest of the festival but still give a live feel. Deadmau5, Daft Punk, Prodigy, Faithless, Chemical Brothers, Tiesto even David Guetta if they want to keep a commercial element. Over all though, well worth a ticket and a great experience.Roll on Global Gathering 2012

Check out the photos on our Smashed Music Facebook Page

By Richard Chapman

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The Big Chill 2011 – Festival Review.

Posted on 12 August 2011 by Glenn Tucker

The Big Chill 2011 – Festival Review.

If you are looking for a festival that includes Sunday night riots, toilet tipping and tent burning, kicking your way to the front of the crowd with an elbow or two in your face as you go along and trudging through a newly decorated field of plastic cups and condoms on your way back then The Big Chill is the last place you should go.

This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy a good rock festival with all the above but when I first thought of what a festival should be I imagined more of a family friendly, hippy approach with alternative treatments, niche bookshops onsite and strangers gathering around campfires in the evening. Lo and behold, The Big Chill 2011 had all of these.

Unfortunately we missed the Friday night performance by The Chemical Brothers, arriving around lunchtime on Saturday, but were lucky enough to setup camp and get down to the noticeably clean arena (thanks to the kids picking up branded cups in exchange for 10p each) with more than enough time to get our bearings and start the day off with a quality Mojito from the Bacardi tent.

The site itself was huge with plenty to see and do, including a separate area for families and children that was heavily guarded, and despite our best efforts to gain entry with our press passes we were turned away.

Instead we paid a visit to the Enchanted Garden, an area for alternate therapies including Reiki, Hypnotherapy, various deep tissue massage areas and even tea and sauna tents but most importantly they had a hot and spicy cider truck which was welcome treat as the weather was not the kindest with wind, rain and only small amounts of sunshine making an appearance. The Enchanted Garden also contained an Art Trail; open from 9pm till 2am which we explored much later in the evening and consisted of various audio visual displays and ambient lighting, clearly designed for those not just drinking alcohol but an interesting addition nonetheless. I can’t say it was not amusing watching people hang their thoughts on the tree that instructed them to share their mind apples.

The first performance we caught were Metronomy on the main stage (the Deer Park Stage) and next was Jessie J who performed brilliantly despite having to sit down for her whole set due to an injury. The sound quality was fantastic for both of these and for all other acts we caught too, including a newly gained favourite of mine, Kraak en Smaak.

Normally I would expect a festival site to quiet down after the main act but The Big Chill had plenty going after hours including a killer set by Kissy Sellout and a packed Bacardi stage. With the guest area tents open till 5am with fire bowls all set out to keep the chill away we thought we would be out for the rest of the night but even after a quick rest and recovery we made an unforgivably early retirement at only 2am.

Sunday morning brought some early sunshine and as we made our way back to the main arena we couldn’t help but notice how clean the grounds were looking once again. Not a single cup, can or bottle was left in sight and already families were out enjoying the day.

Unfortunately the weather did not hold out and the temperature dropped as we took cover in the psychedelic White Rabbit Lounge, a space for chilling and, by the looks of most people there, leaving your mind at the door and fetching it again on the way out.

Once the worst of the rain had passed we made one last brave effort to catch a couple more acts including British reggae group Steel Pulse. If the sun was shining they would have fitted in seamlessly but unfortunately I was finding it hard to identify with their upbeat groove as I watched the breath form in front of my face. The North Mississippi Allstars Duo were the final act for us, bringing a Southern Blues sound to the Malvern Hills which would have been a lot more enjoyable once again, in some sunshine.

Overall The Big Chill festival was a hit and delivered on every level. For families it was safe, clean and Friendly. For the individual it was engaging and exciting and for a group of three it was exhausting but exhilarating and is definitely on my list of festivals to visit in 2012.

 

The Big Chill – Back view of the Main Stage

Smashed Music Goes Global

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Smashed Music Goes Global

Posted on 06 August 2011 by Mizzle

With the UK festival season well under way, the last weekend in July 2011 meant it was time for the UK’s dance music centrepiece to get under way at Long Marston Airfield.

Global Gathering boasted another huge line-up, organised by Angel Music Group, was sure to please the 55,000-plus global gatherers tuning in their aural senses over the weekend.

This year saw the recognition of the rise and rise of the dub step and drum and bass genres, both breaking out of the underground over the last few years and into the limelight. This Global Gathering line-up offered big name UK top 40 regulars Chase & Status and Nero, alongside other acts such as Skrillex, Brookes Brothers, Doorly, Danny Byrd… the list goes on.

House music lovers needed no fear of a takeover though, with a plethora of house and trance DJs and producers gracing turntables, CDJs, laptops and whatever else DJs apply their craft with these days..

For once, a UK festival managed to avoid the rain – wellies were surplus to requirements, replaced by flip flops and pumps.

With the sun shining and the stages set, Friday began with me getting my bearings and stumbling towards the nearest tent from camp, Group Therapy.

This was a trip back in time, ten years ago, to the good old days of trance dominating dance music, with very similar floaty rises, sweeps and huge drops blasting out the sound system. Gareth Emery was in charge and had a three-quarters-full tent singing along to every word of his track Above & Beyond and Gareth EmeryOn A Good Day. Albeit the lyrics were displayed on the giant visual displays behind him.

With my trip back in time over, it was time to venture round the rest of the festival.

Five huge marquee tents were on offer, plus an outdoor mini-stage that Tool Room Records were hosting that night, and of course the main stage, where headliners Pendulum were playing live.

All in all, there was plenty to get your teeth into, even if that was not music based. There were plenty of fair rides to enjoy, and a wide selection of food outlets to fuel up at. The drinks selection was not quite as vast though, with Tuborg being pretty much the only lager on offer, plus a few spirits and bottles of VK Cherry in the boozy tents.

After grabbing a Tuborg off a wondering beer dispenser, the sounds of Fedde le Grande on the Tool Room stage were calling. This was dirty, big-room house, thumping out around 128bpm – which seemed slow at first compared to the fast-paced trance. Fedde was in the zone though, with crowd pleasing bloops, bleeps and bass dropping left right and centre.

With the sun setting, and time ticking on, after also experiencing an awesome dub step set from Plastician and P Money in the Rinse tent, it was time for WAX:ON Boys Noize, followed by Radio 1’s Annie Mac.

Both were on fine form, mixing some great records for a packed-out tent, the highlights being Boys Noize ending with his My Moon My Man track, and Annie Mac playing the Ibiza anthem by Stardust – Music Sounds Better! Then ending with a drum and bass and jungle mini-set with a few classics, M BeatIncredible received with a rapturous roar and lots of waving hands! Then into DJ Hype’s classic remix of the Fugees – Ready or Not.

Annie Mac’s five-star performance, coupled with Global’s stage and stunning visuals, meant this tent was jumping, and a great send-off to Global’s Friday night.

Richard Chapman

High Voltage The Review (Victoria Park Saturday & Sunday 23rd 24th July)

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High Voltage The Review (Victoria Park Saturday & Sunday 23rd 24th July)

Posted on 05 August 2011 by Mizzle

Back in the good old days of rock and roll, one thing was for sure, and that was that Monsters of Rock was the festival to be at. These days, there are so many rock festivals, it’s quite possible to be one at every other weekend. What High Voltage delivers is the feel and personal touch of the heady days of MOR.

There’s something for everyone and whilst the Metal Hammer stage didn’t have the line-up of the previous year, there was still enough to either reminisce to, or quite simply jump around to, in the glorious London sunshine. Michael Schenker delivered an assured, strong performance, showing no signs of recent personal problems, one of the surprise packages from my own view point, and he finished by rocking the crowd like a hurricane.

With spirits high, it was Thin Lizzy’s turn to keep the party going, led by Ricky Warwick. It was predictable to know what was coming next, a back catalogue of classics such as Whiskey in the Jar, Jailbreak and Dancing in the Moonlight.  Okay, it’s not the original line-up, but it’s a bunch of superb musicians there to keep the spirit and music alive of Messrs Lynott & Moore… and why not!

If that back catalogue of classics wasn’t enough, it was time for Slash to whip up a frenzy of rock classics ranging from his own solo material to G’N’R classics such as Sweet Child o’ Mine, Nightrain and Paradise City.   Received with rapturous applause and delivered with a sterling vocal performance by Myles Kennedy, of Alter Bridge, this was an undoubted stand-out performance of the festival.

As daylight faded into the ether, the impending anticipation of Saturday’s headliners Judas Priest was tangible.  Walking on stage in usual leather attire, Rob Halford and crew knew exactly how to deliver a finale of fist-in-the air-metal.

In fact, it was four decades’ worth of material: Breaking the Law, Turbo Lover, Hellbent for Leather and the superb Nostradamus sent everybody home with exactly what they wanted – the end to a great first day’s party!

Sunday had an interesting prog line-up. First up, the Enid, with one of the sets of the weekend.  Their sound is huge, the music is both dramatic and delightful, and how they got only half an hour’s set and an opening spot is beyond me, especially with substandard performances from the likes of Curved Air and Spock’s Beard.

Jethro Tull has always been a personal favourite of mine, as quintessentially English as a cup of tea. It was a good, assured performance, Ian Anderson lacks the vocal range of yesteryear, but you can forgive them for that when you get the likes of Aqualung, which has everybody on their toes, and a memorable moment to come with the superb guitar maestro Joe Bonamassa joining the band on stage to bring down the curtain down with Locomotive Breath.

Back on the main stage, Thunder are no fools when delivering festival crowd pleasers, and it’s easy to forget the size of their back catalogue. There’s enough to keep everyone entertained, with classics such as When Love Walked, Backstreet Symphony and Dirty Love – possibly the best crowd reaction of the weekend.

And so to Sunday’s headline act: Dream Theater. Not everyone’s cup of tea, including mine, but there were plenty who do like them, and there’s no doubting their credentials as musicians. It was maybe a strange choice to close, but this was a nonetheless jubilant and sun-filled festival at Victoria Park  8/10.

Review By Chris Knight

Have a V Fantastic Summer

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Have a V Fantastic Summer

Posted on 19 June 2011 by Chris Knight

It’s that time of year again, as summer draws near we all know what is coming, it’s the season of the Festival.  So find those dancing wellies, and recover your moth eaten tent from the garage, because this year’s festivals look set to impress, with fantastic line ups and the promise of hot weather.

V Festival has become a massive hit in the festival calendar. The event is held in 2 locations over 2 days and artists perform at both swapping on each night.  The action will take place at Hylands Park in Chelmsford and Weston Park in South Staffordshire (near Stafford), and the fun will be broadcast live on Channel4.

V festival was originally created by Richard Branson in 1996, and like anything Branson touches, it turned to gold, and fast became one of the big boys of the music festivals, with an impressive line up year on year and a track record of success.

With the exception perhaps of Glastonbury, V Festival is the King of the Festivals.  You only have to look at the line up to know this is no ordinary event.  With big names such as Rhianna, Eminem, Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys, Jessie J, The Saturdays, and many more, visitors will be hard pressed to cram all the headliners in.

Some of the biggest names in the music industry have played at V, with this year being no exception, and many break through acts got their break right on the V stage, before taking the Country by storm.

Already sold out, with just over 2 months to go until the event, the demand for tickets speaks for itself, as music lovers scramble to get these coveted tickets.  Now, the only options left to V Festival hopefuls is to win competitions for tickets, or beg steal or borrow from the few who find they can’t make it.

V festival has seen such success it has now branched out globally, with V festivals popping up in Australia and Canada, however like so many things, the original is always the best, and it is the UK V festival that draws in the big names and music fans in their masses.

The musical line up always features current chart toppers, alongside breakthrough acts and big name established groups.

This summer is set to be a hot one, which makes V an even more attractive prospect, as though another reason was needed!  If you’re a music lover, and like partying your way through summer, then V is the event for you.

If 2010 is anything to go by then you will not want to miss V in 2011.  With more announcements being made all the time, V Festival is the place for music lovers to be this summer.

Those lucky few with tickets can prepare to be spoilt by a line up like no other to find out more check out www.VFestival.com

The Parklife Weekender 2011

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The Parklife Weekender 2011

Posted on 16 June 2011 by Glenn Tucker

The-Parklife-Weekender

If I was at all superstitious or had any belief in warnings, signals or omens I might have paid attention to the series of events leading up to my experience at Manchester’s Parklife festival.

How far back I go is irrelevant as I could start with any disaster in the last few weeks but to save your ears and eyes reading mindless drivel I will start with Saturday morning. Having made a well informed decision to leave the car in Birmingham and sack off overpriced trains we booked the ever classy Mega bus as our means of transport to Manchester and back.

A surprisingly early night for a Friday meant we were up and raring to go at 6am on Saturday morning. Being ever organised, or so I thought, we arrived at Digbeth coach station with 20 minutes to spare only to realise our coach left from the other side of Birmingham…

We made it nevertheless and arrived safe and sound in Manchester and passed the time till the festival gates opened at 1 pm. It was at this moment that the heavens also opened, the cold heavens, and some pretty hefty hail started to hammer down on top of us. This was not a great start but better for us who had raincoats than for the guy behind us in a t-shirt and with a bald head. I can still here is screams in my sleep now.

Undeterred, we marched on to the artists bar hoping to catch a glimpse of a few famous faces but finding only three very friendly but bored bar staff and the women in charge of artists liaison whose phone happened to fall into a bucket of water and ice as we arrived leaving her with no way to stay in contact with any of the artists.

With misfortune and hard luck following us everywhere we went it was high time we took this out to the party goers in the various arenas to get an idea of what people thought of Parklife 2011 and how they were coping with the hail and rain.

I have to say the response was more upbeat and enthusiastic than I could have imagined and the general British public does not seem to let any amount of foul weather dampen their spirits or get in the way of having a good time.

Most people we spoke to about who they were here to see reeled of the big names but a couple mentioned some great acts such as Riot Jazz and Chad Valley who provided both diverse and interesting sounds in their sets. For the early part of the day we did manage to find some diversity among many of the tents with a mix of wireless acts that could only be reached by crawling through a series of tunnels, to a beat box and block beat dancer combos.

The experience was starting to pick up and the sun even made a guest appearance to dry us all out.

As the evening approached and we and some newly found friends went in search of some Dub step or Drum n Bass we found many of the dance tents sounding all too similar and the ability to hold a decent conversation inside the tents meant the music was just not loud enough.

It was as these niggles began to become more and more obvious but also as we had just accepted them and started to get on with having a party that the lights came on and the crowds started to disperse to various after parties… at 11pm

It was also at this point that we met a few disgruntled locals who had bought Saturday and Sunday tickets purely because they lived closed by and could nip back home for a snack if they wanted too, only to find out that once you were in there was no exit and re-entry meaning you were forced to live off whatever was on offer within the arena.

Having to leave the site so early also knocked the small amount of enthusiasm that I had left and the thought of trekking back into Manchester for the sake of a few more hours dancing did not make any sense.

Sunday began with a hot, strong cup of coffee as we watched someone’s house and business burn down in the pouring rain and did not seem to pick up much from there onwards. By the time the gates opened at 1:30 pm the fields were drenched and a trickle of people started to enter the site.

With the no re-entry rule the early part of the day was quiet although a few die hard revelers carried on dancing, maybe just to keep warm. As the day drew to a close the site started to fill up but the rain carried on falling and we decided it was about time to get home and dry. Although we would have loved to stay on and reading comments and other views of the festival it seemed like the evening session really picked up we were at the mercy of public transport and our bus back to Birmingham was due.

Overall the atmosphere was good and some big names attracted some upbeat crowds but as the festival seemed so heavily based on the dance genre it just did not carry on long enough. As it is meant to be a city festival it would have been good to see some diversity in the music that might represent the wide range of styles and music genres that a city like Manchester has to offer.

 

Glenn Tucker

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The Park Life Weekender

Posted on 10 June 2011 by Glenn Tucker

Manchester 2011 – The Parklife Weekender

It might be a coincidence that “Park Life” (Blur) has just come on to the radio ahead of The Parklife Weekender but it is a nice reminder. However the genre couldn’t be further off what Platt Fields Park has to offer this weekend with headline acts including Two Door Cinema Club (Saturday) and Chase and Status (Sunday).

Aside from the big names there seems to be a line-up covering a week’s worth of talent all crammed into one weekend so festival goers won’t be left wanting and although, secretly, we would all like to be at the Isle of White festival, The Park Life Weekender is bound to be one hell of a party.

While it’s great to get the opinions, insites and views of the performers we also like to get the opinions of the crowd and offer an insight to the ”feel” of the festival from a grass roots level. For this reason I am volunteering to take up the role of festival investigator which is another way of saying I’m going to try and meet and talk to as many people as I possibly can and find out if you’re all having a bloody good time.

For full listings see the official Park Life Weekender website and if you see me there please pick me up off the floor.

Bring on the Weekend.

Glenn Tucker

kareyce-fotso

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Africa Oyé 2011

Posted on 02 June 2011 by Glenn Tucker

kareyce-fotsoAfrica Oyé 2011. A free festival set to be a scorcher!

After a great start to Spring followed by a dismal few weeks it seems the Summer has finaly started and it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time as Liverpools Africa Oye Festival 2011 kicks off in Sefton Park on the 18th and 19th of June.

Smashed Music have got the directors cut on what to expect this year and provide a teaser on the atmosphere you can expect at Africa Oye 2011. Thanks to Paul Duhaney for taking the time to answer these pressing questions.

SM: How did you get involved in promoting Africa Oye?

PD: I moved to Liverpool from London in August 1999 and was looking to continue working in Events management and managed to secure a trainee position with Africa Oye which eventually led to a full time post, and 12 year later a Director.

SM: Do you think the festival will spread to any other cities or will it remain unique to Liverpool?

PD: It’s a question that gets asked every year as other cities have always shown an interest in hosting Oye but I think it would only work as an addition to another Event as the logistics and cost implications might make it too difficult to replicate somewhere else. Naturally if we were in a situation where the Event was no longer finically viable in Liverpool then that is something we would need to look at in the future but I think the Festival’s unique atmosphere is due to it being held in Liverpool and would not want to lose that.

SM: How much exposure does Africa Oye give the artists in the UK?

PD: I think the quality of Artists who want to appear at Africa Oye shows how important the Festival has become for them in order to showcase their talents in the UK. 10 years ago it was harder to attract big names to the Festival but such is its reputation in Africa and mainland Europe that we could now programme the Festival 20 times over due to the number of requests we receive to participate.

SM: Does this help them expand their global presence too?

PD: I think so because most of the Artists are massive in their respective countries and in continental Africa but the UK and Europe is a different market so they are aware that a certain amount of re invention is necessary if they want to be a success over here and playing the lies of Africa Oye. Glastonbury and WOMAD certainly does that.

SM: What kind of people /atmosphere can we expect to find?

PD: The great thing about Oye is the complete mix of people you will find there. There is no specific audience type or age and it truly is the whole world in one Park.  I think this has come about because we have put the message out from day one that the Festival is fully inclusive and it has grown naturally in this way. I think that gives me the most pleasure as that is what we have always wanted to achieve.

SM: How does this benefit Liverpool from a cultural perspective?

PD: I think it has a massive impact as every year we are introducing even more new people to the Music and Culture of Africa which breaks down allot of barriers and perceptions. I think from the outside looking in people can see that Liverpool is a City who prides itself on Cultural awareness.

SM: What can we expect from Africa Oye in 2011 compared to 2010?

Much of the same to be honest and if we can emulate last years event then it will be amazing. We have managed against all the odds to make the Festival free again but the quality of Artists has not diminished. We are delighted to announce ‘Queen of Reggae’ Marcia Griffiths will be appearing at Oye this year which is a real coup for us as well as Internationally renowned band The Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars will also grace the Oye stage this year.

SM: Aside from music and food are there any other cultural activities happening around the festival?

PD: There will be FREE workshops onsite open to all ages, Children’s Entertainment, as well as some of the best clothes, Arts and Crafts, and Drums on sale from Africa and the Diaspora.

As a registered Charity we will be asking audience members for contributions to help keep the Festival free in the future via Collection buckets, buying an Oye T-shirt, or buying a drink at the Oye Inn.

SM: How do you feel Africa Oye helps with the perception people from the UK have with regards to African culture?

PD: We try to concentrate on the positive images of Africa as most of the stories relating to the continent in the media have negative connotations such as War, Famine, and Aids. We think that by promoting the Music, Food, Fashion, and Culture people can see that Africa is a Continent on the rise.

– Interview Ends –

Check out the line up online at the offical Africa Oye website: http://www.africaoye.com/artists.html

Glenn Tucker