Lost Village 2016 Festival Review – a magical paradise

Mix up a multitude of techno-hungry ravers, a plethora of incredible DJs and artists, a dash of gorgeous woodland surroundings and lashings of the most weird and wonderful experiences you’ll ever come across at a festival. What do you get? Lost Village, of course!

In only its second year, the dreamland of Moda Black’s Jaymo & Andy George took place deep in the Lincolnshire countryside, kicking off festival season in the most enchanting way possible. I’ve been to many a festival in my time, and nothing quite made me as excited as this. With the likes of Ben Klock, Fatboy Slim, Bicep and Eats Everything – to name just a few – it seemed we were in for a hell of a bank holiday weekend. And God, were we right.

As we arrive at Lost Village, we felt a sense of flair and passion for what we all love; a good old fashioned rave. Perfectly honed and crafted in such a magical way, we’re invited to this story book world, where our only worries are to grab a well-priced wine, have a dance and enjoy the experience. Friday’s line-up was bursting at the seams – we arrived early, seeing acts such as Huxley and PBR Streetgang intensely warming up the growing crowds at the smaller stages, whilst Doorly over at the main stage Burial Ground, blasting out tune after tune to a slow-burning crowd who grew bigger and bigger by the minute.

My heart fell to the ground when I realised Fatboy Slim and Ben Klock were on the same night – we all know that clashing panic. Luckily, Lost Village had timings to perfection – at half 9 we were able to see the iconic Fatboy Slim take to the decks – and yes, it was just as epic as you might imagine. You really do forget all the classics that he did – Right here, Right now was one of the most intense dances I have ever seen, with crowds literally bellowing out those four words at the top of their lungs, bursting into a dancing frenzy as it dropped. Crowd-pleaser Eat Sleep Rave Repeat literally saw everyone jump rhythmically in the air, creating a wave of raving fists in its path. It seemed everything – even Praise You, was a lot more electronic than we’d imagine, but everyone lapped it up either way. A brilliant vision and an amazing atmosphere, which left us enough time to run over to the master himself – Ben Klock.

Now, I’ve seen Ben Klock a fair few times, and he will never fail to amaze me. The fact Lost Village had this incredible act in such an enchanting setting was one of the most surreal experiences. The Abandoned Chapel (a quaint, church-like outdoor zone) was closed, so Klock was moved to the more intimate setting of the Forgotten Cabin – a techno haven, surrounding by trees, lamps and shed load of ravers. Klock is well-acquainted with commanding any crowd he comes across; his deep, dark and ruthless techno echoing into the woods with crowds begging for more. The music couldn’t go on much past 1am – after an unreal final set at The Lookout stage with Bicep – but the crowds back at the campsite didn’t let the party end until deep into the morning. A perfect close to an incredible first day.

Saturday brought an eclectic mix of acts to the forest; Artwork took over the Abandoned Chapel at 3pm, delivering a disco set with none-stop movement from the crowd – a nice change from the techno we’d be hearing everywhere else. The sun was beaming as Heidi took to the stage – you only have to experience one of her Jackathon events to know that she always delivers. It was wild, lively, and what can only be described as almost tropical, emphasising her place as one of the greatest female DJs we’ve had the pleasure of seeing.

The beauty of Lost Village isn’t just the music; it’s the experiences. One minute we’re in a comedy tent, the next we’re doing Yoga near a lake, the next we’re getting our face thwarted with glitter at the Illamasqua tent (a delightful addition). You wander through the woodland at 1am and meet people from all across the country, the festival empowering its ‘Good Vibes Only’ stance and bringing together people who are here purely to have the greatest time ever. There were characters at every corner, a haunting parade of old-fashioned, torch-grasping woodland dwellers marching through the forest, two life-size rats nibbling at people’s food and even a stunning contemporary dance of fairies by the Lake of Tranquility. Not to mention the food stalls from around the world, and quite frankly the greatest pulled pork burger I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. For a boutique festival, the experiences were larger than life.

As DC10 resident Jackmaster finished a happy yet hardcore set at the Burial Ground, we got to see the big man himself. Introduced as “One of the greatest DJs in the world”, Eats Everything played “absolute bangers” as the guy behind me screamed – and he was right. He knew how to get people on their feet, dancing, singing, blasting our crowd-pleasers and putting on insane build-up tunes that mad everyone lower to the ground and jump up at all once. Huge fireworks were blasting over at the lake, and it was a completely surreal time to be alive – just none-stop, perfect, fun times. This was something special.

As the hangovers started to kick in, Sunday’s vibe was a lot more relaxed; bands such as Vitamin and Formation provided a calm and enjoyable atmosphere at the Lookout to rival the thumping beats from Enzo Siragusa at the Forgotten Cabin, while ex-Coronation Street and Red Dwarf legend Craig Charles put on a soul-filled and funky set to a surprisingly massive crowd.

Roman Flugel played a calm, deep and dark techno set at the Cabin – naturally accompanied by a girl in the crowd climbing up to the top of a huge pole, sliding down to a crowd of screaming ravers. It was surreal and intense, but we wanted something a bit different – and we found it in the form of headliner Jack Garratt over at the main stage. For those who don’t know, Garratt is a multi-instrumentalist and singer, who plays live sets in the most incredible way. Everything was recorded then and there, his music completely enthralling the entire crowd who had left the techno behind to see him play. The talent this guy has is absolutely unbelievable, and such an incredible sight to see. It was a bit different, a bit dreamlike, and a bit unbelievable – and that definitely sums up Lost Village to a tee.  

I can’t begin to put into words what Lost Village was like – it was an experience you have to see to believe. Magical, mystical and everything but normal, it’s an adventure like no other – next year, anyone?

Lost Village Festival 2016 preview – what can you expect?

Popping the cork as one of the first festivals to kick off the summer, Lost Village has gained a reputation as one of those majestic events; the type that you stand amidst an atmosphere of beats, seeing live art to the right, a battalion of ravers to the left, and a group of 24 people doing a yoga session in front of you. It’s unique, its special – it’s Lost Village.

Founded by Moda Black maestros Jaymo and Andy George last year, the duo smashed through the festival calendar and paved the way for boutique festivals to become the ones to watch.

In only its second year, Lost Village opens the festival season deep in the Lincolnshire countryside next weekend. With the likes of living legend Fatboy Slim, techno marvel Ben Klock and Bristol’s own Eats Everything taking to the decks, the three day festival is set to be one hell of an event.

The course of the weekend will bring top acts such as Jackmaster, Heidi, Ben UFO, DJ Koze, Enzo Siragusa and Midland, all complemented by live sets from Âme, Kink and Jack Garratt – and we’re barely scratching the surface.

It’s the little things that make a festival, and Lost Village is set to deliver. There’s theatre, a four-course tribal banquet, and street food from all over the world – not to mention unusual ‘inhabitants’ round every corner. For those who fancy a break from dancing, raving – and just, the world – the Lake of Tranquillity promises to allow you to find your zen, providing yoga sessions, wood-fired hot tubs, massages and aromatherapy. Possibly the best festival hangover cure we’ve seen yet.

With a plethora of incredible acts, weird and wonderful experiences and all the while being set in hauntingly beautiful woodland, we can’t bloody wait for Lost Village. So roll on the first festival of the season – it looks like it’ll be a hard one to beat.

There’s still time to grab tickets, starting from £149 for the full weekend with camping. Head over to www.lostvillagefestival.com.


The Rainbow Venues’ Festival: Chapter XII Review

When casting my eyes over the Chapter XII line-up, it was a sheer reflection of the inconceivable talent that The Rainbow Venues showcase year after year. The distinct sounds of Dubfire, Jamie Jones, Richie Hawtin and Loco Dice – to name but a few – were to be heard at one of the most dedicated hubs for the electronic scene in the heart of Digbeth, Birmingham, and this line-up was one of the most incredible to date. With a host of stages – from the Warehouse, to the Arena and up to the Rooftop Terrace, this was definitely about to be a day to remember. And my God, it was.

Kicking of the festival season in style, you could definitely tell it wasn’t summer quite yet; a waterfall or rain thwarted a huge crowd of ravers towards their chosen tent, with us heading straight to see a true pioneer of techno, Richie Hawtin, filling the Car Park stage at 4pm. Despite the early time slot, his thumping, minimal set drew in a huge crowd, subtly progressing from one track to the next and cementing his solid reputation as nothing short of a techno king. “Cold weather but amazing warmth and craziness going on inside @rainbowvenues!” he Tweeted post-show – and we couldn’t agree more. It was magnetic, commanding and deep, and set the tone for the day ahead.

The Arena played host to a mighty selection of acts throughout the day; Israeli DJ Guy Gerber played an intense and memorable set to a captivated crowd, the tent literally overflowing with revellers even with Hawtin smashing the Car Park just seconds away. The crowd was well and truly warmed up in time for a less intense, but equally as captivating Sasha playing B2B with Nic Fancuilli, their beats aligned with blasts of cold smoke to a bellowing crowd. The beauty of Chapter XII is that there really is something for everyone; while there was deep house and techno pounding through the majority of stages, the Roof Terrace played host to an array of garage and grime artists, the likes of Redlight, Mak & Pasteman, Mele and Preditah causing one of the best crowd atmospheres seen at the entire event. It was a great escape, and one certainly lapped up and loved by every individual present.

Joseph Capriati has made a name for himself as a prominent figurehead on the techno spectrum. Taking to the Car Park stage, his set –accompanied by a spectacular laser display, flame blasts and smoke screens – was one of the climatic sets of the day, a highlight including an impressive build-up of Marco Faraone’s  Boost; it was one of those moments where you look over at your mate, both raise your hands together in unison, and realise why you absolutely love coming to a festival like this – it was nothing short of being absolutely euphoric. Capriati was a lucky coincidence for us; after heading to see Art Department at the Warehouse but it being too busy for us to enter straight away, we didn’t know if this set would compare. But it brought it back and more – Capriati put on an epic showcase, and one I would highly recommend to anyone looking for some blazing, melodic and rip-roaring techno.


Something that was truly an exciting addition to the line-up at Chapter XII was the hybrid audiovisual production by dubfire:live, orchestrating an hour set fusion of music, science and technology in an innovative live show format. It was definitely a treat for the senses – so much to see, so much to hear, just a complete visual and melodic ecstasy. Wanting to see everything we possibly could, we had to leave the spectacle to witness the sights of Jamie Jones; a DJ that should be on everyone’s list to see at least once. His sets just connect with an audience like no other, encouraging dancing, moving, fest-pumping and everything inbetween. Slamming in songs such as Nathan Barato ft Sasha Brown – Talk On, and Whiplash – Ghetto Tears, the crowd was captivated, a wave of fist pumps pulsating through the ocean of ravers like a Mexican wave at a cup final at Wembley.

Now, as someone who has seen Loco Dice multiple times, I know now that each set is destined to be absolutely epic, and a perfect way to end our Chapter XII Journey. The Desolate co-boss was the headlining act for the Arena stage, closing down the party in the most intense and impeccable way imaginable. With an abundance of deep, dark sounds roaring through the crowd, the set diverted between tech house and pure, unadulterated techno, complemented by a powerful spectrum of green laser lights which set the crowd alight. It was epic, perfect, intense and simply fantastic – Dice is an unparalleled genius, and was an epic headliner to end an epic event.

Cementing their platform as a house and techno playground, The Rainbow Venues’ Chapter XII was everything we could have expected. With an Elrow presents: Hot Creations after party for those who wanted to carry on deep into the night (with a line-up just as brilliant as the event itself) Chapter XII is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Even though the rain hammered down, the fists still pumped in the air and the atmosphere remained electric – and we certainly won’t be forgetting it anytime soon. Chapter XIII, anyone? 

Chapter XII Festival: Your guide to headliners, tickets and travel

Saturday, March 26 marks the Midlands’ leading inner-city festival in Birmingham, Chapter XII, taking place at The Rainbow Venues.

The Birmingham based festival will take over a number of unique and industrial areas and will boast more stages than last year’s event, with the launch of new spaces – The Big Top, The Rooftop, The Blackbox and The Arches.

Against the backdrop of Digbeth’s railway arches, Chapter XII will promote innovative stage production, utilising contemporary technology to allow some of the biggest names in house and techno music to perform with spectacular results.

dubfire:live brings a hybrid audiovisual production set-up that has only ever been done in the UK once before. The techno house artist unifies science, technology and music to create an innovative live show with 2D and 3D animation, live audio and lighting.

In The Big Top, Desolat boss Loco Dice, Drumcode’s Italian techno titan Joseph Capriati, live duo Pan Pot, Paradise man Jamie Jones, plus local hero Adam Shelton back to back with Lewis Oxley.

The Arena finds Richie Hawtin playing top of the bill, alongside dubfire:live. Sasha and Nic Fanciulli also set to play back to back. Canadian tech house titan Art Departmenand classic house and techno man Argy, of Bedrock and BPtich Control, also plays.

The Warehouse sees the return of Maya Jane Coles, Rumors boss Guy Gerber, George Fitzgerald, and techno tastemakers Dense & Pika.

Lobster Boy also takeover with Redlight, Preditah, Mella Dee, NYTA, Mele and Mak & Pasteman. Birmingham's favourite house and techno hotspot The Blackbox boasts sets from Trust chief Nick Curly, Drumcode techno star Alan Fitzpatrick and Fuse foudner Enzo Siragusa.

There will also be ‘Chapter 12 by Night’ as the official after party, hosted by the world famous Elrow (Barcelona) which will see the Hot Creations crew return to Birmingham, featuring key acts like Patrick Topping, Infinity Ink LIVE, wAFF and Russ Yallop

WHEN: Saturday, March 26

WHERE: Birmingham, UK

HOW MUCH: from £30

For more information visit website: http://therainbowvenues.co.uk

Latitude Festival 2015 Review

Ten years ago, Latitude Festival was born to “rewrite the festival rulebook”; to combine music with culture, inviting guests to discover a curious wonderment of poetry, music, literature and comedy, escaping reality and exploring bewilderment. A decade on, and Latitude continues to master this art. Enticing over 20,000 families, energetic teenagers and middle-aged pear cider consumers alike, Latitude is certainly a festival that stands true to its ethos; to be a multi-arts boutique event set to challenge the festival status quo. And on its tenth birthday, Latitude certainly pulled out all the stops to make this celebration one to remember.


The festival kicked off in style on Friday, with a plethora of home-grown talent and hard-hitting headliners ready to entertain the crowds of thousands. As tents were barely even unzipped, funnyman Alan Davies took to the stage of the Comedy Arena for a 45 minute masterclass in worthy stand-up at its finest. The QI team captain created a sea of giggles throughout his set, albeit in a routine that seemed slightly reined in for the younger crowd gazing at him with wide-eyes and confused faces.

After playing a touch of table tennis at the ping-pong thunderdrome at Pandora’s Playground, we saw the incredible Santigold perform hits such as Disparate Youth and Big Mouth at the Obelisk Arena, bringing the enthusiastic crowd up on stage to dance alongside her. However, it was four-piece Kendal indie rock band Wild Beasts who were definitely ones to watch – now in their sixth year playing at Latitude, the band performed intensely and luminously, with tracks such as Wanderlust epitomizing why this band are brought back to the festival year after year.

Now, some of the lucky 1,000 Latitude goers were overwhelmingly excited to witness the secret set of Ed Sheeran in the enigmatic, cosy setting of the iArena stage at 11pm. The pin-up ginger apparently wowed fans with an array of acoustic covers; from Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine  to Blackstreet’s No Diggity – I say apparently, as I was one of the unlucky ditherers who missed it, instead smiling giddily at the prospect of just seeing the euphoric set that Alt-J had just performed.

Returning to Latitude for the third time, Alt-J are a band with that touch of originality that has mesmerised many. As the sun set on Henham park, the Leeds three-piece allowed their distinctive sound to drizzle onto the stage with a hauntingly charged performance of Hunger of the Pine, soon detonating the crowd into a frenzy with the epic classic Fitzpleasure. Sullen blue light and thick haze pervaded across the stage throughout the set, with classics such as Left Hand Free and Matilda allowing the mixed audience to transpire into a palpable live adventure fit for the masses. With whispers emerging that Ed Sheeran was in fact dwelling in the woods, the teenage heavy crowd tangibly began to disperse for the forests – but it didn’t take away the shine of Alt-J’s performance, and the rest of us gazed on to witness why this band were fully deserving of their headline spot.


We headed off to the comedy tent at the crack of dawn (11am) for a bit of light-hearted laughs to begin the day – in the form of Funz and Gamez, a show with an all singing host, an elf and a dog playing the piano. Sure, it has all the ingredients for a tacky kids act, but this was anything but – it was inappropriate, weird and absolutely hilarious. The songs were awful, the jokes were purely for adults and the kids had absolutely no idea – “Life lesson number six! Don’t get too close to your Grandma.” An unexpectedly hilarious show, an occurrence that happened repeatedly at Latitude.

The picturesque Waterfront Stage, set amidst the beautiful Latitude Lake – where revellers could in fact swim and enjoy a free gondola ride – played host to some fantastic acts over the weekend. Saturday bought Chilly Gonzales and the Kaiser Quartett, a classical music act who impressed the crowd so much they received a standing ovation – which, with a crowd of mainly over 65’s, should not be taken lightly. Sadler’s Wells presented an opulent display of dance acts on the stage; from Roja and Rodriguez’ Titanium to the BBC Young Dancer of the Year finalists, there was an eclectic blend of raw ballet, to hip-hop performances, through to contemporary dance. The routines were breath-taking, awe-inspiring and simply beautiful to watch – whether you understood the concept of dance or did not. It was astounding, and a true celebration of the wonderful cultural diversity that Latitude embraces.

Badly Drawn Boy’s performance at the Obelisk Arena was interesting, yet not memorable; but what we’ll all certainly remember was his sour, arrogant demeanour at his “5k” festival fee. “I’m one of the best artists of the last 20 years.” he told the bewildered crowd. “I deserve more.”

Both José González and Laura Marling charmed their audience with stunning performances at the Obelisk arena, while Manchester indie band The Charlatans brought their wistfully glorious Britpop sound to the BBC Radio 6 Stage. But what so many had been whispering their excitement for was James Blake. Injecting electronic beats with his melodic, soulful voice, he certainly pulled off an impressive and widely diverse set, gaining many a fan in the process.

The night, however, belonged to Portishead. As the majority of the younger audience shot off to see The Vaccines over at the BBC Radio 6 Stage, the rest of us were able to encounter the atmospheric and hypnotic sounds in peace, enhanced with the melancholy, haunting visuals of unnerving surroundings. The set was a cacophony of cinematic splendour, Beth Gibbon’s ghostly and poetic voice hauntingly travelling through songs such as Machine Gun and Glory Box to a crowd lost in a trance-like state. Noone really expected Beth to crowdsurf, but she hurtled into the crowd anyway. Noone really expected Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to join Portishead on stage for the encore, but he did it anyway. Noone really expected Portishead to be so euphoric, sensational and explosive, but they were. And damn it, they were by far the best act at the entire festival.



With revellers aiding their hangovers with a £8 breakfast roll, Sunday began with the absolutely hilarious Last Leg Live in the comedy tent. Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker brought the Channel 4 hit to the stage, and before long every crowd member was vibrating with laughter, even more so after racing both Alex and Adams’ prosthetic legs through the crowd.

Sir Bob Geldof and co caused a hurricane of festival-goers to race to the front of the main stage, as Irish punk act the Boomtown Rats performed hits such as Someones looking at You and I don’t like Monday’s to a crowd of thousands. It wasn’t a favourite for the children, as the majority seemed to be doing cartwheels and handstands. But the parents, lager in hand, seemed to be absolutely lapping up every second of it.  

The beauty of Latitude is the pure fortuitous run-ins with a diverse assortment of weird and wonderful happenings in each corner of the festival; from a live mime performance, to book signings, to a herd of pink sheep, to an early morning yoga session, there’s so much for you to witness and discover – at one point, we walked through the forest to see snow white in a coffin, who then stood up – fully naked – for us all to draw her. Only at Latitude.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds brought the festival to a blissful close on Sunday. With an impressive band behind him, Gallagher delivered crowd-pleasers and unknown songs alike, not least prompting mass sing-a-longs with Oasis classics like Don’t Look Back in Anger. And who can blame him? Although not one to live up to the phenomenal performance by Portishead last night, it was a well-received by the ‘crowd of Guardian readers’ he assumes goes to Latitude, and a perfect way to end the festival.

The past decade has proved Latitude as an unconventional, yet magical adventure for all those who attend. Though clearly designed as a family-friendly festival, its sublime diverse culture allows anyone – of any age – to experience something different, something new, and something that can spark inspiration. To read about it is one thing – to experience it is another. Latitude is one of the most magnificent festivals I have had the pleasure of attending, and one I will surely wish to return to in future.


Cocoon in the Park 2015 Review

Hidden in the depths of a 500 year old mansion, Cocoon in the Park is a complete techno playground which draws in thousands of house-hungry revellers year after year. With an intense lineup dripping with talent, the festival is a small yet uniquely incredible, never failing to entice a crowd. 6 DJs, one stage, and a whole lot of music fans – this is the beauty of Cocoon in the Park. And we could barely wait for it to begin.

The faint sound of heavy house beats could be heard from miles away as we walked with a parade of techno-ready souls in procession to the event. Upon arrival, Enzo Siragusa and Seb Zito were nicely warming up the crowd, with powerhouse Dixon following shortly after. All three were lively, exciting and intense, and the atmosphere of the crowd was well and truly ready for the day ahead.

Carl Cox’, a name recognised by music fanatics, and simply any DJ with high aspirations. Cox’s hardcore and rave roots provided the basis for his own musical evolution, never losing his unique style and etiquette that has made him a living legend today, and why so many still swarm to see him at every possibility. He has undoubtedly honed his natural talent over his years in the industry – and that is building pure, dance-inducing parties. The drizzling rain began to fall on King Cox’s set; but that didn’t stop anyone. Rain macs at the ready, we partied on, following his every move, every beat, with every reveller so lost in the music that the consideration of a bit of rain was almost refreshing. Cox is renowned for filling the place up with his residency at Space in Ibiza, so to see him in full-force in an outdoor venue such as this is something I’d never witnessed before, and something that made a superb change. With an array of scantily clad women holding up the letters to spell out ‘Cocoon’, we were well and truly in the full swing of the festival.

It’s always been known that Ricardo Villalobos is somewhat of an acquired taste, but his time at Cocoon has seen what can only be described as a mass backlash from fans claiming it was a ‘car crash’ of a set. The comparison between the lively, fun and exhilarating set just witnessed by King Cox is definitely almost the polar opposite of what we saw with Villalobos – it was dark, minimalist, at times quite weird, and seem to feel quite slow. It would almost definitely been better had he been scheduled earlier in the day, but the vibe from major highs to deep, dark lows just didn’t connect with the crowd, and we welcomed the entrance of Sven Väth with open arms.

Until Cocoon, I’d never had the opportunity to experience a Sven Väth set live; I’d heard nothing but good things about the German legend from friends who’ve seen him previously, but this was truly something else. Many refer to him as ‘Papa Sven’, a man who guides his children into a euphoric trance with just two decks and a mixer at his forefront. The crowd were literally pulsating as soon as he entered the stage, a man in front of me fist-pumping his beer in the air with an almighty roar of excitement; Papa Sven had certainly arrived, and his children were ready for a night of blazing techno to begin.

The almighty Sven layed down nothing but pure, solid techno beats to a perfectly filled field, with revellers making the most of having so much space to fist pump, twirl and do whatever the hell you like at such an event. The expert veteran continued to blend between intense melodies to the clearly impressed crowd, with confetti guns and a Sven impersonator blasting us with a smoke gun on stage only adding to the euphoria. This guy is literally an enigma, knowing precisely what to play at every turn, much to the ostensible ecstasy of the crowd. Villalobos’ minimalism long forgotten, we see what we came to see; a world class DJ play a world class set. Unforgettable.

As the night drew to an end, many chose to go on and see the likes of Richie Hawtin play at the afterparty nearby – with a line-up just as fantastic as the main event, Cocoon in the Park never fails for those who never want the euphoria to end. But for us, for once, we found we’d been defeated – but with a festival as phenomenal as this, we know it won’t be the last time we grace the land of Temple Newsam. Bravo, Cocoon.

Cocoon in the Park Preview – Who to look out for

For one unforgettable day and night, the back garden of the quaint, scenic and peaceful setting of Temple Newsam will be transformed into an electronic, beat-heavy haven. A place where thousands of music fanatics can listen to hour-upon-hour of highly-charged techno, with a heavy-duty line-up with no trace of a weak link. This is, of course, Cocoon in the Park; so be prepared for a day witnessing a consistent view of pumping fists to the likes of Sven Väth, Dixon, Seb Zito and the almight Carl Cox – and that’s just to name a few.

I saw Enzo Siragusa play alongside tINI just a couple of weeks ago, and to say it was incredible would be an understatement. The dancefloor was packed with a typical array of sweating bodies, all of us wonderstruck with his stripped down tech house style beats that whet our appetite so well. His appearance at Cocoon at the Park should be no different, and he’s definitely one who you should get down – whether early in the day or not – to witness.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Sven Väth is, quite frankly, a legend amongst men. His style and passion knows no boundaries; it has influenced many and has truly revolutionised electronic music, so to hear he’ll be leading an army of music fanatics at Cocoon is music to everyone’s ears. Expect deep, indulging sounds and chasm of rich interludes – and more than anything, one hell of a set.  

Ricardo Villalobos minimal percussion styling might not be to everyone’s taste, but at a festival like Cocoon, even the most unsold of revellers will be given the chance to see what the half Chilean has to offer. His sets have differed, sometimes containing blends of solid down to acid house, other times something completely different; but he is simply a pioneer,  a DJ so different and exciting, it’s almost essential to catch a glimpse of him at Cocoon.  

Carl Cox is a name that simply exhumes that dark, exciting, fist-pumping atmosphere when said out loud. You don’t need to be told of the talent; it’s almost become agiven, just common knowledge – this guy is an enigma. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to someone who has seen Carl Cox for them to respond ‘that was average’; he delivers a spectacle of progressive, atmospheric beats to a crowd that come back, time and time again, to see him reign once again. To have him at the forefront of the Cocoon ship this year is a choice welcomed by many, and definitely a set that will be unmissable.

Cocoon in the Park returns to Temple Newsam on July 11th. For tickets, visit www.cocooninthepark.com.

Latitude Festival 2015 preview – Who to watch

Henham Park, Beccles, Suffolk

Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th July 2015

Now in its 10th year, Latitude has proved its point that it is far more than just a music festival. It’s an artistic, creative, inspired and imaginative goldmine, stuffed to the brim with an eclectic blend of comedy, live-art, poetry, theatre, as well as choice upon choice of world-class musicians. This is an event that can suit the most rugged of festival goers, on the hunt for a venue to head-bang and let loose, to those whose preference is to sip on a glass of chilled chardonnay, witnessing the very best in contemporary ballet. This year promises to celebrate the ten year anniversary in style, with lashings of exciting and innovative artists – in all forms – ready to entertain, intrigue and enthuse the 35,000 strong crowd.

When it comes to headline artists, Latitude have certainly pulled out the big guns to take to the stage of the Obelisk Arena – an ideal hill-top venue, overlooking the entirety of the stunning Suffolk site. It’s difficult to describe the sound of the Friday headliners, British three-piece Alt-J; they’re music is instantly recognisable, with their rustic atmospherics and melodic harmonies. This is an act with stunning crowd-unifiers such as Matilda and Hunger of the Pine under their belt, and the headline slot promises to be an enthralling affair to remember for everyone who attends. As Saturday arrives, the sounds of Portishead will be nailing the headline slot; the trio, much like Alt-J, operate in a world of their own, with a magnetic sound that seems to be unlike any other. Currently the only UK date on their tour, it can definitely be said that this is not one to be missed.

The final headliners of the weekend are Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds; yes, the rock legend himself will be gracing the stage, firing out hits from the bands’ new album ‘Chasing Yesterday’. From previous sets, it seems Noel and co aren’t shy of pulling out back catalogue Oasis classics such as Don’t look back in anger and Champagne Supernova within their set, so expect thousands of echoing voices singing in unison at the top of their lungs to top off the weekend.


Away from the headliners, there’s a plethora of incredible and unique acts performing to keep every soul entertained. Welsh rock legends the Manic Street Preachers will be making their debut performance at Latitude at the Obelisk Arena on Sunday – it seems 12 albums in, the band will never fail to attract the crowds, and Latitude should be no different. Indie rock band The Vaccines – who have just finished touring the States with Mumford and Sons – will be making their way to BBC Radio 6’s Music Stage on Saturday, providing a harder alternative to main stage headliner.

With a shimmering lake as a picturesque backdrop, The Lake Stage, curated by Huw Stephens, has an array of handpicked rising stars gracing the stage; To Kill a King, Pretty Vicious and Rea Morris, to name a few, will all be performing at this fantastic open air hub, each to show off their own fresh, unique musical talent.

The special thing about Latitude is the side-splittingly fantastic array of comedy acts present each year – and this year is no different. The festival is fast becoming a well-respected portion of the comedy calendar, and 2015 brings funny man Mancunian Jason Manford, QI star Alan Davies, and the delightfully monotone Jack Dee to the stage to add a bit of light-hearted hilarity to the bill.

For theatre fans, the National Theatre Live presents Everyman will hold a special performance at Latitude’s very own theatre stage, starring BAFTA winner and Academy Award® nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor. Meanwhile, The Waterfront Stage welcomes Sadler’s Wells National Youth Dance Company, bringing together some of the brightest dance talent across the UK combined with their internationally renowned associate artists. Sadler’s Wells is a world leader in contemporary dance; so whether you have a true passion for movement, or just want to witness something a bit different, this promises to be a vibrant and exciting performance for anyone who attends.

If this wasn’t enough, for the first time in the festival’s history swimming in the lake will be permitted, for those who want to take a dip as they watch the festival go by. This, combined with new hot tubs where audiences can soak up the cultural atmosphere of the site, is what makes it so much more than a festival – it’s an adventure. There’s masses to be explored; from opera, to slam poetry, to cabaret, down to a live art house, there’s simply too much to possible divulge here – you’ll have to dive in and experience it for yourself.

Tickets range from £84.50 for a day pass, to £200.50 for a full weekend with camping, with discounts available for children and teenagers.

You can check out the entire Latitude Festival line-up at the website, www.latitudefestival.com.

Eastern Electrics Festival 2014

It was certainly an intriguing decision when cutting-edge electronics festival Eastern Electrics announced a one day event at ‘Hatfield House’. Now in its third year as a festival, it began in 2012 as an unassuming one day affair, which expanded greatly to the behemoth of a three day event in 2013 with an unforgettable line-up boasting a plethora of world class DJs. You’d only assume it would do the same again, considering its vast popularity as one of the most spoken of electronic festival in the UK. But it returned with fewer large names in a quaint yet stunning backdrop of a mansion, reverting to just one day again. But did this take away from the experience? Absolutely not.

Considering a last minute rampage to get cagoules galore in preparation for the rain, it was scorching as we entered the festival and headed straight to the Art of Dark tent for Dyed Soundorom. After taking over Ibiza with DJ outfit Apollonia alongside Shonky and Dan Ghenacia, the Parisian DJ returned alone playing a to crowd that were lapping up the set, putting on an impressive display that most certainly testified the idea that you can’t get people dance at such an early time. The atmosphere within the tent however was an unbearable sweaty pit of sighing bodies that had to relinquish to the outdoors to be able to breathe, which somewhat ruined what could have been an incredible set.

Over in the Rinse FM tent were duo Dense and Pika. After favouring their remix of Paul Woolford’s Erotic Discourse, I was excited to see the gritty and glorious sounds of the techno pair as they played to a somewhat empty tent. But empty or not, they certainly received an energetic reception from those who attended, with songs such as Alden Tyrell  ‘Wurk it’ and Josh Winks ‘Are you there’ solidifying their stance as DJs that certainly the ones to watch at this event. The same tent played host to London DJ Route 94; admittedly, we were only passing through the tent as his set played, but we halted to a stop as the commercially well-known hit ‘My Love’ began to play, and the echoes of a singing crowd erupted into a guilty pleasure performance that we couldn’t seem to stay away from.

It was tINI who was inevitably the highlight of the festival. The characteristic deep blow of her selections were both intense and electric, igniting the crowd to full attention as she commenced tracks such as Cid Inc & Victor Hugo’s ‘Made in Brazil’ and transforming the outdoor Switchyard venue into a sea of adrenaline fuelled fist-pumping. As she unleashed Floorplan’s Never grow old, goosebumps appeared as the crowd were divulged in a euphoric state that only the Desolat master was responsible for. It only took a few years for tINI to make a name for herself, and it only took a few moments for her to create an incredible and unparalleled atmosphere at Eastern Electrics. At a climactic moment in the set, a torrential pouring of rain began, and a huge rampage of waterproof handing out activated; no one left their post, however, and a sea of umbrellas and awkward plastic cagoules continued to dance regardless of the showers falling over us.

What was frustrating about the festival was the queue for drinks tokens; having to wait to purchase non-refundable pieces of card to use as currency, to then wait again for a drink seemed somewhat pointless, and many I spoke to were agitated that they had to waste time doing this instead of seeing the acts they wanted. After a swift wait however, we were back and ready for the exciting duo Serge Santiago and Firas Waez, also known as Waze and Odyssey. They were playing at the Red Bull tent – a gloriously compact outdoor venue that played host to an array of exciting acts that day, including Catching Flies and Ali Love. Waze and Odyssey’s set made for a refreshing change from the deep and bellowing techno that seemed to be echoing throughout the rest of the festival, incorporating faster-paced beats, plenty of energy and a steady fuel of bass incorporated into their distinctive house/garage sound. The atmosphere was further lifted as the smooth elements of jazz began to play as Lil Louis ‘Why’d u fall’ was blasting through the tent, much to the delight of the revelling crowd who seemed truly captivated by the duo.

Onto the main stage, and Canadian techno heroes and headliners Art Department began their extraordinary set to a field of fans ready to be driven into a whirlpool of synth-driven house and techno. Comprising of Johnny White and Kenny Glasgow, the duo’s alias ‘Art Department’ have long established a distinctive and pioneering sound, consistently pushing the boundaries when it comes to their music. It was certainly an incredible experience to finally be able to see the pair in action, as their unique elements seem to captivate the crowd and infuse a sense of energy with the bridging together of each track, which was done so in an artistic way. The final act of the night to close the festival was the soulful house pioneer himself, Kerri Chandler. With an abundant body of work behind him, his renown bass-lines create instant excitement, intrinsically hooking between catchy choruses and impressive kick drums, marking him a true legend and ‘King Kerri’ to some. However, tonight’s set was much mellower from the usually up-beat soul DJ, and although the crowd were content, it failed to consume and amaze like his predecessors had done this day.

Eastern Electrics, although downgrading in size, has still managed to pull of an incredible, memorable and equally exciting display of DJs. I’ve attended all three years of the festival; although it doesn’t compare to last years, the atmosphere, acts and overall experience certainly didn’t fail to impress, and thousands of revellers would absolutely agree with me. 

Hideout Festival 2014 Croatia Review

Hideout Festival; a sun-drizzled Croatian exploit that welcomes an influx of avid music lovers to its beaches annually, the promise of sun, boat parties and beats enticing a plethora of clubbers and DJs alike. Croatia is now home to an abundance of festivals, including both Dimensions and Outlook, yet Hideout is one of the first to see the strobe lights, decks and welcome ravers to the country. Held over Zcre beach, the four day festival promises an unforgettable time – and this year? It couldn’t have got any better.

Now in its 4th year, 2014 played host to over 60 world class DJs, providing a fantastic line-up for any raver; from Maceo Plex to MK to David Rodigan, there was a different vibe at every set. The huge stages of Papaya, Calypso and Aquarius provided immense pool parties in the day, to deep and exotic raves during the night, playing right up until sunrise – and even then, the crowd would keep chanting for one more song, never once wanting the night to end; this is Hideout Festival, after all.


From wherever you leave from in the UK, it’s a long distance to travel – be it by coach or plane, it’s a bit of a tricky location, and everyone we spoke to seemed to have had a similar problem. However, arriving on the Thursday in Zagreb gave us a little time to really explore the beauty of Croatia, and with pre-parties in abundance, we were never short on things to do. We headed to the Doorly boat party Sunday evening, who blasted track after track on a four hour boat ride; if this was anything to go by, then the rest of the week was bound to be spectacular.

Opening day saw a realm of acts ready to build up the festival; the likes of Cassy and Apollonia provided a chasm of deep house interludes, alongside an atmospherically rich display of beats that certainly got fists pumping throughout the day. A surprising highlight came from Berlin based duo Tale of Us; the pair eased the crowd into their day-closing set, playing a mix of slow, deep tech that paved the way for a more up-tempo sound. We stood at the front of the pool, the sun beaming down in an incredible atmosphere that validated the duo as a superb and intense pair that evoked the crowd into a truly euphoric wave. As they entailed Josh Winks ‘Are you there’ within their set, their versatile range and combination of tech house and pure techno worked wonderfully, and the crowd was certainly warmed up and ready for the evening ahead.

As night fell, it was London based quartet Rudimental that were first to take the headline spot. You couldn’t help but feel they were the odd ones out at this festival; their mainstream, chart-topping genre ranges from soft drum and bass to garage – much different in contrast to many of the other tech/house acts present. There were whispers of disappointment amidst the crowd that this was a DJ set rather than a live performance, but as soon as they stormed onto the heaving stage of Aquarius at a peak time of 3am, this was all forgotten. From a previously solemn crowd, it was incredible to see the transformation the arena had undergone; an atmospheric buzz of hysteria and excitement drove the crowd into a frenzy as classics such as ‘Not Giving In’ and ‘Waiting all night’ were performed, with a sudden blend of jungle breakbeats and even a hint of motown validating them as one of the UK’s greatest breakthrough acts of recent years. Their stage presence and energy was automatically intense from the word go, and they showed a real passion for their music throughout the set. The climax of the event was when ‘Feel the love’ began to play, and a saxophone player hit the stage to play to the revel of waiting and enthusiastic fans simply lapping up every minute; Rudimental had certainly put on a hard act to follow, and I highly recommend anyone to see them if they get the chance.


After a stuffy and rowdy shuttle bus, we arrived at Zcre beach early to take in most acts of the day. Hot Creation’s wAFF was one of the first to open Papaya; only in his early 20’s, he certainly proved to have talent beyond his years as he played track after track of up-tempo beats that kept a clearly hung-over crowd alive and excited. I stood alone at the front of the stage, and was amazed to see within minutes that crowds began to surplus forward and join me in excitement, ultimately awakening as Infinity Ink hit the stage. The duo put on a fantastic performance, the sunlight and visuals surrounding the stage being perfectly in sync with the beats, adding yet another dimension to an experience you can’t get anywhere else but a festival like Hideout.  Guti and tINI similarly put on a flawless performance over at the Aquarius pool, which is nothing unexpected from the Desolat artists. They thoroughly dominated the stage, providing a non-stop combination of Guti’s Latin tech side with tINI’s deep indulging sounds, both making use of vinyls in a dynamic, exciting and fluid set that most DJs strive to achieve.

As day became night, and another sterling appearance from Tale of Us, It was Maceo Plex who closed the Papaya stage at an ideal 4am slot. Maceo immediately launched into lavishly layered beats as his main synth developed slowly, experimenting into a more tribal style that echoed intensely throughout the coliseum-like stage. Known for his dark material, the audience certainly lapped up the set with ease. There was a slight air of disappointment that like many DJs present, Maceo chose not to play any of his own productions within his set, to which I overheard a few mumbles of frustration. However, with a stellar and liberating set such as this, it wasn’t too much of an issue for the Ellum Audio boss, and the focus on the quality of the set was certainly not lost.


As day 3 of the festival arrived, we chose to go on a boat party; as many party-goers said to us, this is certainly the best way to see your favourite artists in such a close proximity. We opted to go on the Digital Soundboy boat. Shy FX, Stamina MC / B-Traits and Dismantle all played back to back, playing an absolutely brilliant and colourful drum and bass set with favourites such as Golddust, Somebody New and My Bassline, and finishing off with Celebration by Kool and the Gang – not something you’d expect from Digital Soundboy, but the masses absolutely lapped it up and it was ultimately one of the highlights of the week.  

Back on the beach, and the pioneer of ska, reggae and dancehall sounds took to the Aquarius Pool to show the crowd that even after four decades, he still knows how it’s done; this was David Rodigan MBE, an icon in his own right. He unleashed his long-anticipated reggae magic to an awaiting crowd, with songs such as Toots & They Maytals ’54-56 was my number’ echoing in the arena, Rodigan stopping swiftly to say: “GIMME SOME SIGNAL!’ to a crowd that most definitely responded. It was a bizzare change of pace to the festival, but the crowd were simply amalgamated by Rodigan’s pure passion, extenuating why he is such a figurehead within the reggae scene today.

After a swift and exciting ride on a jet ski – just one of the great activities available on Zcre beach – we saw a plethora of artists that certainly secured their place on the lineup. Justin Martin and Waifs and Strays delivered a delicious house set at Kalypso, with Dense and Pika nicely closing the Papaya pool for the day. But as night came, it certainly belonged to one man. As Loco Dice took to the Papaya stage at 3am, the Desolat guru proved to be the highlight of the evening. With a warm progression of deep beats bellowing through the crowd, the German maesto blended an abundance of deep and dark sounds, including Radio Slave ‘The Clone Wars’ and Jimmy Edgars ‘Strike’ to perfection. The set staggered primarily between tech house and pure techno, with impressive and ambitious build-ups that are unparalleled by any DJ that I’ve witnessed throughout the week.


The final day of the festival saw a sea of hangovers attempting one last final push as the sunny week drew to a close; house giant MK took to the Papaya stage at 5pm, Hideout being one of many on his list of festivals through the year. Ever the crowd pleaser, MK made sure to mix his own songs such as Burning and Look Right Through to a screaming, wild and absolutely heaving crowd. It was a certainly a different scene at the pool today; underwear was thrown. A home made banner was held up. Screams could be heard for miles. MK was certainly making his mark on the festival, in a much different way than anyone else had this week. But oddly enough, the set made for an incredible time, and everyone I spoke to said it was one of the best they’d seen all week.

After a plethora of fantastic acts, it was time for Surrey dance duo Disclosure to take the main stage at Papaya. The queue reached far beyond the arena, with hundreds of moaning and disgruntled fans having to turn away and opt for another venue. But inside, the towering projections of the glorious Disclosure signature were morphing into animation, as the pairs set effortlessly took off, much to the pleasure of the fans that had queued for so long to see them. Across the previous year, Disclosure have cemented their name firmly within the charts, and it’s easy to appreciate why; effortless songs such as ‘Latch’ and ‘You and Me’ are pure lyrical gems, and when played cause an eclipse of singing voices hitting a hollow of incomparable intensity. The crowd were full of smiles as hit after hit was played, blended with upbeat dancefloor hits that proved the pinnacle of Disclosure’s success; the boys certainly put on a fantastic show, and one that was certainly worth the wait.

Berlin based DJ Scuba played the final set of the weekend at Kalypso, a much darker contrast to previous acts across the day. With deep emphatic songs such as Dense and Pika’s ‘Black Deep’ and Pele & Shawnecy  ‘You And Me’ mixed with ease, Scuba certainly bid the crowd a good morning as the sun began to rise in the distance in an irresistible environment of a rave. Scuba’s distinctive vibes combined with drum sounds was almost euphoric, and the sunrise revealing the realities of everyone’s weird faces around us was almost brushed aside. He was certainly leading the pack, and closing down what had been one of the most unforgettable, intense and impressive festivals we had the pleasure of attending.

All in all, it’s certainly been a prosperous journey for Hideout; celebrating its 4th anniversary, this year’s line-up was essentially a who’s who of the most relevant house and bass acts all over the world. With a bungee jump, a clear sea, a revel of party goers and DJ’s to match, it certainly delivered an experience above and beyond my expectations, and one that has proved to be absolutely unforgettable.