Smaller festivals can be a shock to the system if you are more used to the huge crowds moving en masse towards the main stages, but so often they can be a welcome break and a chance to see your favourite artists in an intimate setting.
A newcomer to the festival scene, We Are FSTVL hooked me in with a massive line-up and promises of finally being able to see the likes of Knife Party, Annie Mac, Duke Dumont and the one and only Fatboy Slim hitting up the main stage. Plus the early start to the festival season and the chance to ease myself in with a non-camping event was too much to resist! After months of build up, excitement and pouring over the pictures from last year’s event, finally it arrived and unfortunately so did the rain clouds. Blackened skies and pounding bass awaited us at the festival site, which was amazingly easy to get to and was particularly well-organised, but we refused to don wellies in the hope the weather would hold. (We were glad we stuck to our guns by the end!)Despite being quite surprised by how small the festival site was, we soon appreciated the close quarters as we navigated the stages and bars with ease, something that proved very useful later when trying to run to the bar or the loos during a set. Walking on site, you couldn’t help but be drawn over by the huge main stage and I was overwhelmed with the excitement of the thought of seeing Fatboy Slim on there the following night. I loved the decoration of the stages and across the festival site, it really added to the holiday atmosphere and everyone was certainly in the party mood as they posed for pictures among the flowers. Perhaps the weather put people off slightly, but the festival never felt overly busy as you walked around and was definitely quieter on the first day, but this was great for those who were there and fancied dancing to Disclosure by the main stage. Knife Party finished off a brilliant first day with a banging set that had us all jumping in the mud – as best as we could with our shoes stuck – and their light show and flames were incredible. We were a little disappointed that pretty much the whole festival seemed to shut down straight after their set and their set had just left us wanting to dance long into the night.The second day was much busier and the sunshine had clearly brought everyone out in a good mood and ready to dance – the line-up was fantastic and the bars were busy. On a back to basics not – I was very impressed with the state of the portaloos which were the cleanest I have seen at a festival – probably helped by no camping. But was rather let down to be charged £5 for a tiny 330ml can of beer – I understand the bars are there to make money, but this seemed a bit much. Especially when there were no water points to even fill up a bottle of water. Something else that I found, and heard many others complain about, was the extreme police presence on the second day – the previous day had seen minimal police and plenty of well-mannered and friendly security who were happy to help you find your way around. The second day, everytime I turned around, the police were hauling someone off to be searched or sprinting into the crowd by the stages to tackle someone. Perhaps completely justified, but it did change the atmosphere of the festival slightly with everyone waiting to see who would be dragged off next.
My favourite part of the stages, and the festival, had to be the platforms which had been set back from the main stage and provided the perfect view across the crowd and the stage. I spent a lot of time up on these, and one particular highlight had to be Annie Mac’s sunset set as the final rays of the second day were cast across the crowd and she told us all to turn and look at the view.
Later on, for Fatboy Slim’s set, these provided an incredible view over the crowds as they danced furiously to hits like Renegade Master, Praise You and Eat Sleep Rave Repeat. I’m not sure I can do the set justice with words, but the incredible light show, lasers, fire and confetti that streamed out of the stage just blew everyones’ mind. For those who, like myself, might have seen him play on the Eat Sleep Rave Repeat tour in a dark and dingy club – this was beyond anything I could have imagined and the clubs did not do him justice. He certainly knows how to put on a show.
A shame I wasn’t there to compare this year’s expansion to last year’s but I’ve heard from many people that they were very impressed – looking forward to seeing We Are FSTVL develop in the future! A perfect start to the festival season! Full review is available to read here.
After months of waiting impatiently for festival season to begin, finally we kicked off a summer of sunshine, smelly tents and great music at the Outlook Festival Launch Party held in Norwich at the weekend. A huge coup for the city, organisers of the regular reggae and bass nights across Norwich were given the chance to host the event, with the one-and-only David Rodigan set to headline. Put simply, the event was a huge success with a great turnout and perfectly captured the spirit of the Croatian festival with everyone in the festival and holiday mood after a day in the sunshine. Taking over one of Norwich’s newest clubs, and giving me the opportunity to check out Wonderland for the first time, it was a perfect venue for such an event, with two huge rooms dedicated to a collection of incredible local talent pitted against top UK DJs.
After seeing Rodigan live at Secret garden Party and Hideout Festival last summer, within the space of a few weeks I went from having never heard of him to a massive fan – his sets are amazing for those who haven’t seen him – perfect for summer festivals or lazing around in the sunshine. The whole venue was buzzing with excitement as we waited for the DJ to take to the stage as crowds flooded through the doors and between the two rooms. In the second room there was plenty to keep you dancing as T>I and Tango & Ratty took over with some serious jungle/drum & bass beats and a fire-dancer.
Another DJ I was just dying to see live and have done ever since catching his remix of Rudimental (see above) is Phaeleh (pronounced Fella). He’s an incredibly talented DJ with a totally fresh sound and I love his music, which I have seen described as “cinematic electronica, but his roots are in dubstep, garage and house” – I have no idea what that means but I know I like it! His set was just magical, and all my friends who had never heard of him were all impressed – I was just over the moon to have finally seen him live and so close to home. His set was perfect right before Rodigan’s – chilled us all out right before we kicked off the dancing again for the reggae master.This is the only good picture I managed to get from the night – the others are just a touch too blurry thanks to my awful dancing. Rodigan smashed on to the stage and the whole room went wild, his set was incredible as usual – I would expect nothing less – and played all of our favourites with plenty of “Pull upppps”. I can’t describe my happiness when he cracked out My Boy Lollipop – always puts a huge smile on my face and I love it when everyone starts singing along. The crowd was filled with all ages, and everyone was singing and dancing along. I go out in Norwich quite a lot and I have to say this was the happiest and most chilled out event I have seen there yet. After such an amazing night – I just wish I was going to Outlook Festival to see the full line-up in action! I’ll definitely be looking out for further Bassjam events in Norwich. Organisers BassJam said: “Wow what a night!! Was an absolute honour having David ‘Ram Jam’ Rodigan bless the decks, sick sets all round too!! Big love to each and every person in the dance!!”
After years of waiting, months of planning and weeks of listening to his songs as I drive to work each morning, I finally had the opportunity to see the man himself – FatBoy Slim DJ live at a top London club on the very first night of his brand new tour. Just typing the words gives me goosebumps all over again because not only was it an incredible gig, but it was one that I had been waiting a lifetime to go to. As a huge dance music lover, I have had my top ten list of DJs that I simply have to see play live in my lifetime (I’m sure we all have that same list for whatever music you might prefer), and FatBoy Slim was top of my list.
For anyone who grew up in the nineties and loved music, fair enough I may have only been about five when some of his tracks came out, we still grew up listening to his tunes on the radio, hearing them played at school discos, on Top of the Pops, mum and dad singing along… The list goes on. Whether we were aware of it or not, unless you lived under a bridge, FatBoy Slim, like the Chemical Brothers and Oasis were a huge part of nineties culture and therefore our lives. I always think that the music of the time plays a part in shaping the future lives of individuals and I think listening to this type of music as a youngster (yes I loved the Spice Girls as well!) is part of the reason I love live DJs so much now – this makes me worry for the generation growing up listening to the rubbish churned out by the likes of One Direction and Miley Cyrus.
Anyway, back to the gig. I headed to XOYO for the first time with a bunch of boy mates from home and my boyfriend – all of us ridiculously excited for the night ahead. My boyfriend and I already had tickets for the Basement Jaxx gig at Brixton O2 Academy the following night so had decided to make a weekend of it. We were staying in the Restup Hostel (a five minute walk from the Elephant and Castle tube station) the first night, which was perfect – close to the club and cheap – helpful since we would barely be in the room! Heading into the club, we made for the bar for a quick whisky to warm us up and then went on into the main room. The venue was great – dark, smoky and underground – just the way I like them. It was the perfect basement, gritty setting for the gig and the room was already busy as the house DJs warmed up the crowd. We headed through the crowd and found a good spot where we soon cut loose and started dancing as we waited for the man himself.
He exploded into his set with Renegade Master and everyone went wild – it was amazing to know that everyone there was as excited as we were to experience not only a gig, but the opening night of the Eat Sleep Rave Repeat tour. Everyone was dancing like their life depended on it, not just with their friends but with everyone around them. A few songs in, he dropped Free Mandela which was an incredibly powerful moment as we had heard on our way into the club of the great man’s death. The whole crowd punched the air and sang along – it was incredible and just shows you the power of music to unite people and express extreme emotion – something that I’m sure many would judge as lacking in a DJ set. I could sit here and list every amazing song that he played but there would be no point. It is important to say that he played a great set spanning his whole career from the earliest songs right through to his latest release of Eat Sleep Rave Repeat – and that one certainly got the crowd bouncing. FatBoy Slim also made sure to play loads of other amazing tunes that have basically been the soundtrack to my summer, with hints of Disclosure and others.
I was so utterly impressed by his set, which proved that as a DJ he truly is as relevant as ever, despite those who commented to me when I bought the tickets that isn’t he really old now? Well after seeing both FatBoy Slim and Sven Vath DJ, I can safely say that age is just a number and great music is not only a talent but one that lasts. The fact that I have now seen him live once has simply proved to me that I must see him again – perhaps next time in a festival setting to see how his set compares. I would fully advise any dance music lovers out there to take any opportunity they might get to see the godfather of dance rip up the DJ set, purely so they can see where it all began. This is definitely one of my top three gigs of the year and I had the most amazing time. I was so glad I could share it with so many of my friends and it will stay in my memory forever. If you look in the picture above, I am the fifth person along from FatBoy’s knee! Woop!
Hideout Festival 2013 on the Island of Pag, Croatia, was the biggest week of my year. I partied around-the-clock for seven days straight with my boyfriend and amazing friends from home and university. I even made some new friends while out there that have since become my raving buddies. It was a huge week and so much fun. I watched the sun rise and set every single day, I danced on stages, sand, in pools and the sea, on buses and boats and anywhere else I could find. I made incredible memories and can be sure I’ll never forget them. It’s amazing to see the final video, but to be honest this is a very tame version of the Hideout I experienced. However, I can’t deny that when I hear that beat and bass kick in, it’s like being back on Zcre Beach! If only I was, instead of in chilly old England!
Boomtown Fair 2013, in Winchester, was officially the craziest weekend of my life. I saw so much while I was there than my brain felt like it was melting and my eyes couldn’t take in any more. The festival was vast, the stages huge and the music was incredible. I loved every second, again went with fantastic old friends and made some new ones there. It was such a peaceful place and yet so intense and mind-boggling. The theatre acts and side-shows were my favourite because they were always what you least expected and transported you into crazy new worlds. I still don’t believe, and can’t explain half the things I saw there. It was like falling down the rabbit hole.
After a long six months, the House of Boobs girls (as we were nicknamed at University of Hertfordshire) were finally reunited for a weekend of catching up, drinking champagne and cocktails, eating copious amounts of chips and dip, and most of all, making enough memories to tide us over until the next meet-up.
After living together and spending nearly all of our time together over the three years of university – supporting each other through the course stresses and deadlines, cheering each other up over boy trouble, staying up into the wee hours with drunken tears, celebrating each other’s achievements and having each others’ backs on every night out. We’ve been through a hell of a lot together over the years and we’ve all come out of it stronger than ever. Boys truly have come and gone in that time, as have jobs and other friends – but the one thing that has stayed constant is that we are all – without fail – always there for each other no matter what.
After arriving in a village near Chelmsford, Essex, at one of my former housemate’s house, we unpacked the mountains of stuff we had brought along, tucked into a delicious dinner and had a quick catch up before heading upstairs to get ready. We all glammed up in our high heels and fabulous outfits – my top is from Missguided and skirt from Ark – and after a couple of glasses of wine and making sure we had all remembered our ID’s, we clambered into the cars and headed out to Leigh-On-Sea.
Our destination was a bar called Bellinis, which was quite small but served great cocktails! To be honest, we could have been anywhere and I wouldn’t have noticed what was going on around us – we were all having so much fun dancing like loons, drinking Jam Doughnut shots and laughing, a lot! It was amazing to be surrounded by the girls again, because they are all the type of women who I wish existed everywhere – none of them will ever put you down or say a bad word about you if they have your back. It was so nice to be surrounded by such supportive friends who were nothing but happy to hear everyone’s news and celebrate everything going on in their lives. It is rare to find a group of girls who honestly act this way, who don’t put each other down, and I am proud to have friends like these.
I have such fabulous friends. Nearly all of them are in very happy, loving relationships with great guys (not something that they could boast in university!) and the ones who are not are confident and happy in going solo. Some are nearly finished battling through their PGCEs and are now teaching classes of little ones, while another is working in Asos marketing department, another travels to Germany and America regularly for work. Another is heading off travelling around South-East Asia and Australia at the end of the year and another is working as a para-legal and loving it. I am proud of everything they have achieved and have yet to.
Am really looking forward to the next meet-up and hopefully we won’t have long to wait. The main DJ from our old student union is holding a huge reunion party so hopefully we will all make it along to that.
This week has been a particularly extreme example of how very varied a career in journalism can be. Of course, for those who choose a speciality such as sport, law or feature work, the writing can seem repetitive over time, but the bonus of being thrown in the deep end without formal training and working in a short-staffed office is that you really get a chance to experience as many different writing styles as there are out there.
I am a great example of such a case and despite working on a paper that covers a relatively small part of Norfolk, there is a remarkable amount of very exciting news that needs covering! This week alone I have interviewed the star of West End musical – Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story ahead of its showing at the local theatre as part of the 25th anniversary tour and was given a backstage tour by Glen Joseph himself. I then wrote a piece about drug and alcohol abuse figures which involved me talking to action teams, the hospital, police, support groups and Norfolk County Council. I also interviewed a woman about her father’s Jobseeker’s Allowance being cut off and spoke to the Department of Work and Pensions and spoke to a woman who was celebrating her 103rd birthday.
I interviewed a published writer about his book, the tale of his father’s travels and the secret life he led during World War II followed by his work spying on the Russians during the Cold War.I also wrote about Bus Awards, flood alerts, power cuts, schools, charity work and local bands and theatre productions.
All that and more is what I have been working on in the space of one week – just think of all the amazing stories you could be working on at a national paper! If that doesn’t interest more people in journalism then perhaps the fact that in my second job, as editor of This Festival Feeling, I had the opportunity to interview Charlie Hedges, the youngest breakfast DJ in the UK, from KISS FM will interest people in the potential for a writing career and where it might take you.
After a busy summer of travelling around the country, and further afield, to some really amazing festivals – much of which was spent either looking forward to the next event or enjoying the moment at one. I was left feeling pretty bereft when it hit me that there were no more as the season drew to a close. My excitement over my promotion to editor of This Festival Feeling helped to ease my post-festival blues for a short time as the thought of next summer’s festivals sent a thrill down my spine.
But now that too has eased and one must think ahead to the wintery months ahead in which I plan to continue dancing and raving with the same good friends I spent my summer with. It’s funny, during the day I’m the sort of girl that loves vintage clothes, acoustic music and a good book. But at night, I’m the girl who lives in her denim shorts and bum bag, and dances until the sun rises in trainers.
Right now, it is just two weeks until I do just that in Norwich, when I will be seeing one of my favourite DJs, Sub Focus, playing at the University of East Anglia. I downloaded his new album just yesterday and have yet to listen to it, but I think it will definitely spice up my workout and drive to work this week. Here is the video for one of my favourite songs by him, it’s just one that always gets me dancing and singing along.
He headlined the dance stage at Glastonbury this year, and I was gutted he wasn’t at Hideout Festival. I have seen him before at UEA and it was an amazing night, I’m sure it will be even more so this time because we are taking along some amazing friends, and joining in a Zombie Fun Run during the day! There are still tickets available here if anyone else is interested! I’ll be sure to post a review of the night afterwards.
Finally, a very busy summer ended abruptly with V Festival – a birthday present from my sister – day tickets to go and see Beyonce! Now V Festival was easily the chavviest festival I have ever been to – definitely not one I would go back to because of the type of people who go, but amazing opportunity to see an incredible singer perform live!
Laura and I headed on the train down to Chelmsford where we made it on to the festival site quickly and worked out where we wanted to go…
We started the day with a bit of a lunchtime rave, at my request, to see Netsky DJ for the second time this summer.. a bit of moshing and heavy beats
Unfortunately, this tent was also where I witnessed a girl getting punched square in the face and carrying on slamming herself into people despite blood pouring out of her head.. Then another guy whipping out his manhood and start peeing all over the feet of the people in front of him (and laughing about it) – Gross.
We checked out the smaller tents and found hip-hop karaoke in the Carling one – we hung around to laugh at the attempts and we amazed when Wretch 32 leaped on stage to perform Blackout! Amazing performance!
A bit rainy later on, but we managed to see Katy B, Labrinth, Fun, Of Monsters and Men and a lot of others!
These guys were the best set of the day other than Beyonce! Amazing and will definitely be downloading their album.
Beyonce was incredible, but a shame some members of the crowd were more interested in starting fights than enjoying the music.
It was a great day, but I was glad to go home and not have to stay and camp.
A few weeks later, we had been due to go along to the new Pearl Festival with a group of friends – more press tickets I had blagged. But sadly the festival folded and was cancelled just days before! A huge disappointment for those of us looking for one last furore of the summer!
Putting my own spin on everything from my pet tortoise and raving on the beach, to working hard and finding your way in life. I'm just starting out and have got some big plans for the future, why not get involved?