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.