So here’s the thing. Festivals are continually criticised for their headline act choices, it’s always going to be the case. They’re damned for getting big name legends on repeat every few years, but also for giving newer bands the slot when they aren’t established or dramatic enough to be considered headline material. So what to do?
Well, most other festivals stick to the tried and tested, big act = big sales. But where does it end? The top drawer artist pool is rapidly drying due to either retirement or worse, death (2016 really has been a cursed year) and it just can’t go on. New blood has to flow.
This year, Rob Da Bank and co. have taken the far riskier, and frankly braver option of booking Major Lazer as their Friday night headliner. After a stellar daytime performance in 2014 they’ve been bumped into the top spot with good cause. The two year gap has seen Major Lazer release some huge anthems such as Lean On, Light It Up and Powerful (featuring Ellie Goulding), not forgetting the brand new Cold Water with Justin Bieber and All My Love with Ariana Grande. Tonight the rapidly filling arena is more than enough proof that newer bands can and will fill a top spot.
With bursts of streamers, flurries of confetti and smoke cannon blasts it’s unsurprising to see Diplo and pals take to the stage with a bang, Major Lazer are exactly the kind of high energy act that the Bestival crowd deserves. Wearing all-white outfits, flanked by dancers in sparkly black leotards, Jillionaire and Walshy Fire run around throwing tour tshirts out into the crowd to a frenzied crowd, whilst Diplo reminds us that Bestival is home turf for him – Rob booked him for the first time as a DJ back in 2004.
Despite a bit of dodgy sound (we do miss the much bigger speaker stacks of last year’s colossally huge main stage, sorry guys) it’s a great atmosphere and the Skrillex/Damien Marley collab Make It Bun Dem has the whole crowd attempting to wind. We British aren’t renowned for our sexy dancing skills but there are some serious shapes being thrown tonight, good job it’s dark.
Joined by Danish firecracker vocalist MØ, they tear it up with last year’s summer smash Lean On, and there’s something in Light It Up that just feels so… Bestival. Whenever I hear it I think of sundrenched fields of glitter-clad, neon-painted, carefree souls. Accompanied by a toasty array of on stage pyrotechnics and a considerable amount of jumping up and down, this is exactly what we came here for – wild abandon, and freedom from everything else in life.
We join in with the shirt-twirling, the dancehall steps, and duck as Diplo runs above the crowd in his giant hamster ball (okay okay, zorb…). It’s over far too soon. The only slight disappointments were the tiny acapella snippet of Cold Water, knowing that the drop is so good, and come on – for a band named Major Lazer, there were a distinct lack of actual lasers. Hopefully we’ll see Major Lazer back again soon, and kudos to Bestival for a great headline pick.
One of the most influential music icons of today, Skrillex, will play at Montenegro's top tourist destination Jaz Beach, for a spectacular opening of Sea Dance Festival on 14 July! The multi-awarded American producer had one of the most noted performances at Exit Festival in 2014. On that occasion, thrilled by the festival and the atmosphere itself, he even decided to stay and close Exit's Dance Arena! The beautiful Jaz Beach scenery which was declared as the best beach in Europe by Lonely Planet, as well as all the positive impressions from Exit festival, were a more than adequate reason for Skrillex to adjust his tour plan and continue on another Exit Adventure, the unique festival holiday package made of two award/winning festivals Exit and Sea Dance, held at two spectacular locations Petrovaradin fortress and gorgeous Jaz Beach!
With a total of 8 Grammy awards, Skrillex is currently holding a record amongst electronic music performers, and is one of five highest-paid DJs on the Forbes’ list. Skrillex surpasses electronic music as being one of ten most influential musicians of today by the “Billboard Social 50”, counting more than 4 billion YouTube views, 20 million Facebook fans, with 5 million people following him on Twitter, and 4 million on Instagram! Sonny John Moore, aka Skrillex, started his music career as a singer and a guitarist for the American band From First To Last, with whom he was part of the Warped tour from 2004 to 2007. Soon, he embarks on a successful solo career as an extremely talented producer, and in a very short matter of time, he gained planetary success thanks to his singles "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" and "Bangarang", as well as through various collaborations and projects with various electronic music superstars. During last year, together with another hitmaker Diplo, he released an album named Jack Ü, which brought him another two golden gramophones for the Best Dance Recording "Where Are You Now", done in collaboration with Justin Bieber, as well as the Best Dance/Electronic Album "Skrillex and Diplo present Jack Ü". Skrillex engages an exchange of powerful, unstoppable energy through his marvelously produced performances, an energy he himself claims impossible without the audience, who make the spectacle possible.
As the early bird catches the proverbial worm, so to do the first campers snag the best spots. A stream of gear laden guys and gals is making its way into the campsites from all directions and the sun is luckily, shining. Nighttime on Thursday sees the early opening of a few areas, The Wishing Tree is available for tiny raves, the Grassy Hill’s Caravanserai is jumping, and Underworld take an absolutely rammed headline slot in The Big Top. It’s a bit of a shame there’s no longer a big screen on the outside of the tent, as it’s frankly impossible to fit everyone in, but those outside are still dancing their legs off to the likes of ‘Born Slippy’ regardless.
Friday’s Gabrielle Aplin brings beautiful summer vibes to the main stage dressed in a spangly gold sequined jumpsuit, whilst The Cuban Brothers’ Miguel rocks his “Elvis in Marrakech” kaftan and afro combo as Archerio, Kengo and One Erection wow the crowds with headspins, backflips and flares galore. Having had the entire crowd sing Happy 70th Birthday to Bestival veteran, and former drug baron Howard “Mr. Nice” Marks who dons a golden kaftan on stage, Miguel implores everyone to “Increase the peace with a collective unconscious”.
Up on the big hill, the Slow Motion area is a serene place to take a break, with the bandstand gone, a new stage – Kaleidoscope – peeks out from the bottom corner, covered in silver sunrays. Grab yourself a fresh corn-on-the-cob, a pint of Bestivale and maybe take part in some Yoga. Massages, tea and cake from the Women’s Institute or making friends with fluffy llamas is also on the menu here, and if you venture inside Oberon’s Observatory you’ll find a tiny cinema and a pretty awesome lookout across the festival. Though there are notably less children year upon year, the kids area is still going strong with games and activities, across the way from lectures and comedy in the Bestiversity tent. There truly is something for everyone here.
A sun drenched crowd is relaxing at the main stage listening to the powerful voice of the incredibly talented Lianne La Havas, who is dressed in a show-stopping green ball gown and is tantalizing everyone with news of her upcoming UK tour in December for new album ‘Blood’. Followed up by the complete juxtaposition of Charlie XCX who spends her entire set swearing and making crude gestures. Luckily her songs are catchy enough to make up for it, and everyone seems to be enjoying ‘I don’t Care (I Love It)’ and ‘Boom Clap’ whilst she jumps around with a giant inflatable guitar, in her platform sneakers.
90’s Hip Hop super-group Jurassic 5 bring the entertainment with a massive turntable, portable turntable/mixer guitar contraptions and their distinctive brand of swagger, but it’s Duran Duran who are the stand out surprise of the night. The younger age set at this festival might not think they know more than ‘Rio’ but the hits keep rolling, and they put on an absolutely epic show which has everyone joining in with both classic hits and brand new album tracks.
If you’re not feeling so fresh this morning, a quick trip to the lavish Elle Beauty Cupboard in partnership with Rimmel will have you all dolled up with a makeover or a manicure, as well as a goodybag full of makeup and you can get your brain back on track with a stop at the Science tent, where you can pick up a pair of psychedelic solar glasses for watching the fireworks too. New this year is the giant Lovebot, and a new-look Inflatable Church for all your wedding-disco wishes.
Over on the main stage, Dodgy rock “Good Enough” and IOW locals Level 42 (with a cameo from Cubano’s One Erection breakdancing) play to a relaxed crowd. Little Dragon wears some sort of golden bin-bag with red evening gloves for a set of weird and wonderful sounds, and over in the Magic Meadow the parade is a swarm of bright silks and mysterious creatures. Colourful birds, adorable little strawberries and lotus flowers dance past, as a squid rides a giant turtle followed by a Battala band. Only at Bestival…
Secret act cheesy hip hop legends House of Pain are actually great and anthem 'Jump Around' is spectacularly taken to heart by Bestivalites who are doing their best to jump up, jump up and get down. Kate Tempest gathers a big crowd for her main stage foray, in previous years she’s usually a walk through the woods to the amphitheatre for her spoken word sets. With obvious excitement she quips “Jeremy Corbyn has been elected… this is the summer of change, the summer of love!” and a keen eye can spot Rob da Bank clapping in appreciation from the side of the stage.
In the deep dark of the night forest, the amphitheatre comes alive and tonight The Story Beast (comedian John Henry Falle) is MCing Films in the Forest. Award winning short ‘Jonah’ is beautifully made and captivates the audience but ‘Festevil’ is the one that’s really going to stick with you – what could be better than a slasher short about a couple getting murdered in a tent at a festival by pig-masked psychopaths? “Are you all suitably shitted up? That could happen to you tonight!” says Falle. Cheers Story Beast… no really thanks so much. Just as well he follows it up with a rousing rendition of the theme from Dune (join in, all the words are… THE THEME FROM DUNE) and Tom Hyatt brings beautiful acoustic flavours to the stage with his songs about love. We hot-foot it when the next movie ‘Behind the Candelabra’ comes on, but not quite quick enough to escape seeing Matt Damon fellate Michael Douglas.
Annie Mac is ripping it up on the main stage with glowing palm trees to match the glowing umbrellas and fairy lights of the neon night parade, and The Chemical Brothers’ headline slot is a laser loaded, big beat heavy, electrifying show with a slew of hits from opener ‘Hey Boy Hey girl’ to ‘Block Rockin Beats’ and ‘Galvanize’.
The night is young and the weather is sort of holding, so it’s off to Future Islands in the Big Top to see enigmatic frontman Samuel T. Herring dance like he’s been tasered and growl like he’s in a metal band. Completely bonkers but light, fun synthpop. The Port is packed with ravers and fire-dancers spit flames from atop the giant boat. Arial hoop dancers swing hypnotically from a crane above, everything is just on the edge of surreal and it’s brilliant. For a little less bass, Caravanseri’s little love-in is dancing along to violin folk-rockers Keltrix, cosying up in retro caravans or drinking mojitos in the carousel.
Despite an overnight soaking, the campsite awakens to a clear and sometimes sunny morning (hurrah!) and there’s a dawning realisation that there’s only one day left of hedonistic adventures. DJ Yoda’s unmistakable beats reverberate across the arena to a massive crowd, and there are major queues outside the packed Amphitheatre for the genius Shitfaced Shakespeare. The drunken cast member simply can’t be arsed with what’s going on and keeps having existential epiphanies like “News is new… news!”. Throughout the forest people are hiding out, watching red squirrels or exploring round the lake, or searching out the secretive Blind Tiger stage.
Jungle Brothers get everyone chanting “We at Bestival baby” as indeed we are and Boy Better know keep up with the distinctly hip hop flavor to this year’s main stage lineup. It’s not as though those who aren’t into it have nothing else to do though, Pig’s Big Ballroom is a house of energetic folk and feelgoodery and the close-by Invaders of the Future stage is showcasing a plethora of great rock bands.
Over on the Kaleidoscope stage, Coco and the Butterfields are absolutely smashing it, gathering a bigger and rowdier crowd as they play, one of the very best things about Bestival is happening upon something or someone amazing that you’ve never heard of, and finding this banjo-led upbeat band is just one of those moments. Elsewhere the Oxfam tent is selling sparkly wares and as the weather is looking decidedly unsafe, wellies. The Llamas at Llama Karma are happily munching their way through Robin Hill’s luscious grass and wearing some very fetching rainbow neckerchiefs, the Solace tent is providing tea and cake to burnt out hippies and there are bare bottoms basking in the wood-fired hot tubs overlooking the enormous site.
A rare musical treat in the form of The Jacksons has the entire arena boogying, but it’s worth mentioning that it’s not just a classic hit parade – these guys are every bit as good as they always were. Polished entertainers with cracking vocals, for the likes of ‘Blame it on the Boogie’, ‘Rock With You’ and ‘ABC’. Jermaine has a noticeable tear in his eye when the crowd joins in for ‘I’ll Be There’ as a montage of their younger selves play on split video screens. Over in the Big Top, Todd Terje is providing summery soft electro-house to a busy tent, which makes a change from the heavier Port acts.
Final headliner Missy Elliott is every bit as showy as you could imagine. Plenty of bling, an army of backing dancers and MC’s hyping up the crowd the whole way through. Hits ‘Get Ur Freak On’ and ‘Work It’ are absolutely huge.
As Missy makes her way off stage, ticker tape explosions coincide with the start of the fireworks display, which is magically timed so that red heart-shaped fireworks burst to the chorus of “Love Is In The Air” to the oohs and aaahs of the crowd. The floral fire arrangement of the Commune is glittering away and everyone is hugging each other, it truly is the Summer of Love. Though the night isn’t over, the rain starts coming in hard and a lot of people are heading back to the campsites with the threat of early ferries and late hangovers in the morning. Skrillex is bouncing around at The Port with a few thousand pals, the Carnivale ship is still rocking tunes and the drag queens of Sink the Pink at The Grand Palace of Entertainment are still werking it hard.
This year’s Bestival has been home to some eighty thousand neo-hippies for the Summer of Love ’15 and it’s pretty hard to say goodbye to this beautiful, weird and wonderful land knowing full well that responsibility and the adult world is waiting beyond these borders. You can be sure we’ll be first on the early bird ticket bandwagon at the end of the month, and the countdown clock will be immediately set for Bestival 2016. Massive thanks to Rob da Bank and the Bestival crew for another incredible weekend, we can’t wait to see what’s next…
There is one thing that is guaranteed every August bank holiday weekend in London, if you want to hear good electronic music, you go to South West Four which takes place in Clapham Common. Now in its 11th year, the SW4 brand has skyrocketed and sells out year after year bringing to London the best electronic music acts the world has to offer.
This year was no exception with Faithless, Eric Prydz, Fatboy Slim, Pete Tong, Gorgon City and more taking over Saturday. On Sunday the likes of Skrillex, Armin Van Buuren's Gaia, Carl Cox, Loco Dice, Martin Garrix, Sigma and more had the crowds stomping like never before.
The other thing you can pretty much guarantee on in a August Bank Holiday is the rain! Foutunately for us on Sunday, it stayed overcast most of the day and the rain held off.
This year SW4 had grown with a new arena and immediately you could feel that the grounds were a bit busier with the extra capacity than previous years. Sunday headliner Skrillex took to the main stage just after 9pm with a massive LED screen setup that was displaying images from camera's pointed at his equipment and of the crowd in front of him. A ever popular drawcard, Skrillex kicked off with his remix of Red Lips whilst managing to scale the setup to stand upon a platform and address the crowd to go crazy! Tracks like the commercially popular 'Where r u now' have the crowd singing and bouncing to the drum and bass sound that Skrillex has mastered over the years. With the day turning into night, pyrotechnics going off above the stage, and a massive crowd adorning the main stage Skrillex brought to a close another successful weekend in SW4's history.
Earlier on in the day the crowd was treated to some high energy performances on the main stage by Basement Jaxx, Martin Garrix, Sigma & Gaia. Basement Jaxx's full band and ensemble was a pleasure to watch as they belted out hits like 'Romeo', 'Do your thing' and crowd pleaser 'Where's your head at'. Martin Garrix treated the crowd with a typical arms in the air performance playing out hits like 'Latch', 'Cant Feel My Face', 'How Deep is Your Love', 'Animals' and more. Sigma brought their full setup to the SW4 main stage and did not disappoint. Their performance was a highlight of the day and with a raft of hits well known to the audience, Sigma was the perfect mid afternoon act to set the tone for the rest of the evening. Tunes like 'Higher', 'Show Me Love', 'Glitterball' & 'Nobody to Love' kept the crowd bouncing through the performance.
Armin Van Burren brought the debut of his Gaia show to SW4 and it was quite different to Armin's previous performances. Resembling what can only be described as as a Star Wars Jedi in a hooded robe, both Armin and Benno De Goeji step up to the raised stage creating quite the mysterious atmosphere. This is not an extravagant performance but musically its trance at its finest and the crowd reciprocates by dancing and applauding tunes like 'Tuvan', '4 elements' and more. Its quite refreshing to see a performance that is purely about the music with some decent visuals to match. There is no hands in the air or jumping on decks to get the crowd going, its two guys playing great tunes!
Elsewhere at SW4 Carl Cox and Loco Dice went back to back in the DJ Mag arena which was full from start to end. It's always a given that if Carl Cox is playing you know what to expect from the big man. His bouncing behind the decks and his driving bass heavy tune selection always whip the crowds into a frenzy.
Example took to a smaller stage in the Together arena and with the crowd up against all walls of the tent, it was easy to see that he has a massive following at SW4 having performed multiple times over the previous years. You could feel the heat pouring out the gaps in the tent as Example treated the crowd to 'Watch the sun come up', 'Kickstarts' & 'Changed the way you kiss me'.
So another bank holiday weekend over and yet again another brilliant time at SW4. If you need an electronic music fix next year in the August Bank holiday weekend then I suggest you get your tickets as soon as they are released for this ever popular festival.
Our own king of the ones & twos Rob da Bank says: “The Port is one of our finest achievements at Bestival, with some pretty stiff competition from all the other inventive constructions that have gone down over the last 12 years. A massive ship seemingly anchored into the grass at Robin Hill complete with smoking funnels, rusty portholes and all topped off with a crazy crew of nautical nutters dancing day and night in laser beam ecstasy.
“I cannot wait to see what Skrillex will pull out the bag for a Sunday finale. Sonny hasn’t been to Bestival for four years so a lot has changed for all of us, and I think The Port is gonna be very special that night. Especially because, as anyone who’s seen Mark Ronson DJ knows, they’re in for a massive treat, too – a sublime Sunday night double-header, even if I do say so myself. I love Annie Mac’s back to back extravaganza – great concept and some amazing talent, and our Friday techno and disco explosion will kick it all off nicely. All aboard for another insane party at The Port!”
Making his return to Bestival, we are absolutely ecstatic to be able to announce the mighty Skrillex will be ramping up the late night action on Sunday. A trail blazer of electronic dance music, he’s a six-time Grammy award winner, and a global icon, so you can guarantee when he drops the magic, it’s gonna go off. Fierce beats and rib-smashing bass ahoy!
He might know a thing or two about ruling the pop charts but Mark Ronson has got fat beats flowing through his veins. A true master with a pair of turntables, his sets are consistently devastating, spanking dancefloors into submission worldwide. Add in a touch of HMS Bestival’s own special magic and you’re on course for some truly euphoric last night shenanigans. Not to be missed.
With Annie Mac taking the reins on Saturday showcasing a series of very special back to back rinses, and Seth Troxler large and in charge on Friday, we really could keep you dancing all weekend long. And we just might, with sets from Four Tet, Tale of Us, Guy Gerber, Jackmaster, David Rodigan MBE, Hannah Wants, Mistajam, Erol Alkan, Andrew Weatherall, Greg Wilson, Toddla T, High Contrast and London Elektricity.
We’ll also have the very welcome return of Croydon’s finest, Benga, plus Special Request, Horse Meat Disco, Monki, Mele, Wookie, Slimzee, Etherwood, Fred V & Grafix, Dynamite MC, The Heatwave, Kiwi, Low Steppa, Logan Sama, Mella Dee and Flava D.
It’s not just a dance stage, it’s a life changing experience. Make sure you get yourself to The Port this September for a blissful summer of love.
Miami, FL – USA (January 7, 2015) Ultra Music Festival has today revealed Phase One of the DJ and Live Performance lineup for its seventeenth annual edition, taking place on March 27, 28 and 29, 2015 at the beautiful Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.
With the Phase One announcement, Ultra Music Festival can once again lay claim to releasing one of the most exciting and diverse festival billings in recent memory, with every genre across the electronic music space represented by the biggest and freshest acts on the planet.
WATCH ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL PHASE ONE TEASER
AVICII will make his long-awaited return to the newly designed Ultra Main Stage having missed his 2014 performance due to illness. Famed for saving his most electrifying performances for the Ultra crowd (playing alongside Madonna in 2012 and debuting brand new material from his chart topping album ‘True’ in 2013), if past years are anything to go by fans are in for another incredible spectacle from the Swedish star. Fellow countrymen AXWELL^INGROSSO will be making their eagerly anticipated debut as a duo at Ultra Music Festival Miami, following a mesmerizing set at Ultra Japan in September 2014 and scheduled headlining sets at both Ultra South Africa and Buenos Aires in February 2015. With their first album as a pair set for release next year, a whole host of incredible new material is guaranteed to air. To add to the Main Stage fun, the likes of AFROJACK, ALESSO, ARMIN VAN BUUREN, DAVID GUETTA, ERIC PRYDZ, HARDWELL, KNIFE PARTY, MARTIN GARRIX, NICKY ROMERO, SKRILLEX, STEVE AOKI, STEVE ANGELLO and TIËSTO will all return to transform Bayfront Park into the world’s greatest electronic music gathering.
As a festival that prides itself on providing its fans with a huge range of varying sounds and experiences, Ultra Music Festival has also confirmed some of the most respected techno and deep house performers to join the more recognized names as headliners, with acts such as ADAM BEYER, CARL COX, DEEPDISH, DIXON, JAMIE JONES, LOCO DICE, MACEO PLEX, MARCO CAROLA and TALE OF US all preparing to bring their A-game to a range of the world’s most technically advanced stages.
Forever pushing the boundaries with its revolutionary live programming, Ultra’s now-legendary LIVE STAGE brings us something from every corner of the electronic music spectrum. Grammy-nominated RÖYKSOPP will play Ultra for the first time since 2011 to showcase their recently released (and what they claim to be their final) studio album, while South African rap duo DIE ANTWOORD, electronic group CLEAN BANDIT and Canadian vocalist KIESZA will all bring a different energy to the festivities, as they take to Ultra’s flagship festival for the very first time. Perhaps two of the most eagerly awaited shows across the weekend will come from Tropical House pioneer KYGO and virtuoso producer PORTER ROBINSON, who will each bring their own array of eclectic sounds to the befitting and iconic Klipsch Amphitheatre. With BASSNECTAR, KREWELLA and NETSKY assured to lay down a boatload of bass, Phase One also sees the likes of GORGON CITY, ODESZA and RAC confirmed to showcase their distinctive live shows.
Ultra ambassador and crowd favorite CARL COX returns to the ULTRA MEGASTRUCTURE for a groundbreaking eleventh year, in which the techno king will host his legendary CARL COX & FRIENDS across Friday, March 27 and Saturday, March 28. Trance icon ARMIN VAN BUUREN will then take the reins of the fabled Megastructure on Sunday, March 29, to ensure the festival ends with a bang as he brings his ‘TOGETHER IN A STATE OF TRANCE’ show to the masses. Ever up-to-date with the latest trends in underground music, Ultra will also introduce a new setting this year in the form of the RESISTANCE stage, which will boast some of the very best techno and house from the world’s most exciting underground talent. Further information on all stages will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Adding further to the incredible list of aforementioned talent is a plethora of world-class artists, including ANDHIM, AGORIA, ANDY C, ART DEPARTMENT, BAKERMAT, BONOBO (DJ SET), CASHMERE CAT, EATS EVERYTHING, FEDDE LE GRAND, GALANTIS, GTA, GUTI, GUY GERBER, GUY J, HOT SINCE 82, JESSIE ANDREWS, JOHN DIGWEED, JORIS VOORN, JOSEPH CAPRIATI, KLANGKARUSSELL, KLINGANDE (LIVE), LAIDBACK LUKE, THE MAGICIAN, MARKUS SCHULZ, MARTIN BUTTRICH, THE MARTINEZ BROTHERS, MK, OLIVER HELDENS, PETE TONG, ROBIN SCHULZ, DJ SNAKE, DJ TENNIS, TENSNAKE, THOMAS JACK, TRIPPY TURTLE, UMEK, VICETONE, W&W, YELLOW CLAW, ZEDS DEAD and many more. See below for the full Phase One lineup.
Saturday morning saw the rains clear and a welcome dry and searing heat descend upon Novi Sad, much appreciated by the campers after the moist evening beforehand. The poolside was full with the bold and the beautiful of the continent with “DJ Dale” from local station AS Radio playing housey summer hits as people swam, basked, and slept in the shade on loungers.
I asked a couple of people what they thought of the festival so far:
Roya and Derik from Holland had decided to attend EXIT with a group of ten after previous summers at Sziget and Rockwerchter to try something new. EXIT was the next logical step in the european festival hierarchy and they had heard lots of good things about it from friends. They were a fan of the camp location for the ease of the supermarket, cafes and restaurants.
For Anja from Serbia Stromae and Rudimental was the standout performances of the weekend so far, but she was of the opinion that both the organisation and the weather had been better the year before. This seemed to be the general consensus amongst a lot of the returning natives and staff.
Now that it was officially the weekend the whole town of Novi Sad seemed to be immersed in Festival Fever. The half hour walk from the campsite to the grounds was crammed full of partygoers and everybody, visitors and locals alike, seemed to be soaking up the atmosphere. The banks of the Danube beneath the imposing fortress were lined with lively dudes and dudettes merry making as groups of scantily clad Serbian ladies maneuvered through the crowd selling shots of Rakjia, the Serbian “national” spirit.
Slowly people made their way across the bridge through the mass of humanity who easily took over the entire street. Buses crammed like tins of sardines had a tough time getting past the impromptu parade. Street vendors lined both sides making a killing off the convenience of cheap sunglasses and rave lights.
The sun had obviously worked its magic and there was a real sense of expectation in the air as the pilgrimage moved itself forward.
As usual the first players on the on the Main Stage were of Serbian origin, a nice touch for the festival as it gave home grown bands some exposure and pleased the large contingent of locals. Both Stray Dog featuring Tamara Milanovic and Negative played to a rapidly expanding audience which reached a healthy swell by the time sexy string duo 2 Cellos, began their crowd pleasing repertoire of well known tunes executed with gusto on electronic cellos accompanied by smouldering good looks and expressive facial expression to rival the “bass face” of Haim.
Midnight saw Saturday’s first headliner Damon Albarn take the stage for a set full of swagger and melancholy. Despite the large crowd that he drew the mood seemed slightly subdued, as his solo work lacked the bounce of his well known tracks with Blur or Gorialiaz and he seemed slightly jaded with the whole thing, even throwing beer over the photographers in the photo pit at one point in some sort of anti-press sentiment. Despite this he found himself playing to a captive audience who although not moving much listened intently while his musicians went from one grinding guitar solo to the next, and he finished to raucous applause.
The night was only really starting to kick off, and the good weather had people all hyped up for a long haul of partying.
At every stage in the fortress, big and small, there was dancing to be found. Smooth tuneage at the Positive Vibrations Reggae Stage kept people pretty much skanking all night and a rip-roaring set by Drum and Bass stalwarts NZ Shapeshifter went down a treat at Huawei Fusion Stage.
A huge and expectant crowd throbbed in the Main Stage under a heavy full moon in expectation for Skrillex, who kept his fans waiting for almost half an hour before appearing in a blast of light and noise. He clambered and jumped around on the decks like a man possessed, dropping big bassy hook after big bassy hook accompanied by a blinding laser show that had the entire fortress happily blasted with beats and luminance.
Bass remained the name of the game at the Main Stage with Gorgon City and Shadow Child keeping things bouncing well past dawn.
The good times were continued over at the MTS Dance Arena which was a was an undulating sea of topless and bikini clad humanity under the blood red sunrise as big hitters Afrojack, Tiga, Heidi Vs Kim and Foxman rolled out feel good minimal and techno summer beats well past 6 am.
The night never really ended, and as the sun climbed rapidly into the sky the hardcore found themselves making their way back to base camp under a clear blue sky with ears still ringing and hearts still pumping after a long night of thoroughly modern rhythms.
EXIT was now past the halfway mark, but you got the feeling that the party had only just begun.
Calvin Harris, Tiësto, Diplo, Disclosure, W&W and DJ Snake will headline the first of the two artist groups with: Skrillex, Alesso, Steve Aoki, Showtek, Dash Berlin and special guest Carl Cox leading the charge for the second group of Stereosonic artists. In a year of domination of world festival stages and charts we are very proud of our Australian acts returning from global shows this year to Stereosonic.
Calvin Harris, one of the world’s most biggest artists is thrilled to be returning to the region’s favourite electronic music festival: “I love Stereosonic! I’m looking forward to getting back out and playing in Australia.”
Several much loved and respected music brands will be partnering with Stereosonic this year indicating the level of respect Stereosonic has on the world stage within the industry. LA’s HARD, known for its Holy Ship! and HARD LA parties, will be taking charge of Main Stage 2 on one day. The highly respected Dutch brand ‘Awakenings,’ will be throwing down deep house and techno sounds, whilst Ferry Corsten will return with his iconic ‘FULL ON’ arena. Legendary record labels and electronic brands: Armada, OWSLA and Beatport will all make their arena debuts at an Australian festival, for Stereosonic.
Held over two weekends in five cities, Stereosonic continues to create an incredible experience for patrons, with breathtaking production and immaculate festival grounds, complimenting the world class line-up.
Stereosonic 2014 Artist Line-up:
Calvin Harris, Tiësto Diplo, Disclosure (DJ Set), W&W, DJ Snake Duke Dumont, Will Sparks, RL Grime, Peking Duk NERVO, Cedric Gervais, Cosmic Gate, Andrew Rayel Tale Of Us, Destructo, Ørjan Nilsen, Nina Kraviz Oliver Heldens, Wilkinson, Scuba, Cash Cash, Kölsch, MaRLo, Mano Le Tough, Shogun, Uberjak’d Mark Sixma, Nina Las Vegas, Timmy Trumpet M4SONIC, Tigerlily, Generik and L D R U & Yahtzel
Skrillex, Alesso, Steve Aoki Showtek, Dash Berlin, Carl Cox Porter Robinson (Live) Laidback Luke, New World Punx TJR, Ferry Corsten, Noisia, Deorro, Headhunterz, MK DVBBS, Booka Shade (Live), Markus Schulz, What So Not Joel Fletcher, John O’Callaghan, Foreign Beggars Hot Since 82, Alison Wonderland, Crookers, Jack Beats The Aston Shuffle, Route 94, Simon Patterson, Alex Metric Deetron, Kaz James, Ilan Bluestone, Acid Jacks and Nick Thayer
MCs: MC Stretch and MC Losty
Arenas: HARD, FULL ON, Awakenings, OWSLA, Armada and Beatport
Sydney – Saturday November 29th and Sunday November 30th, Sydney Showgrounds Perth – Saturday November 29th and Sunday November 30th, Claremont Showground * Adelaide – Friday December 5th and Saturday December 6th, Adelaide Showground Melbourne – Saturday December 6th & Sunday December 7th, Melbourne Showgrounds Brisbane – Saturday December 6th & Sunday December 7th, Brisbane Showgrounds
Voted the ‘Best Major European Festival Award’ in 2013, we had massive expectations for Exit and now come the end of the weekend, we can tell you that our expectations where well exceeded.
With one of the biggest festival lineup’s in Europe, Exit’s headliners this year included Damon Albarn, Skrillex, Pet Shop Boys and more.
Unlike many other festivals, Exit starts off in the evening around 7 – 8pm and goes through to the early hours of 6am.
As we mentioned in our previous review, Pet Shop Boys kicked off Thursday evening in spectacular fashion, if not to the biggest crowd, but to an appreciative crowd, leaving us to ponder what the rest of the weekend would have in store for the Summer Festival Guide crew.
Disclosure also took on the revamped Dance Arena and were billed to bring their live show to the Novi Sad Castle. However a last minute press release stated that the production duo could not do their full live show however their Wild Life themed night would go on. Getting on the one’s and two’s Disclosure had packed out the amazing Dance Arena at Exit. This is one of the most exciting and spine tingling arena’s at Exit due to its awesome layout and setup and it made for a perfect setting for Disclosure. Hits such as ‘White Noise’ and ‘Latch’ had the crowd singing their hearts out but it was the end of the set with surprise hits Chic’s Le Freak’ and Outkast’s ‘Miss Jackson’ that really topped off the night.
Exit Festival wasn’t blessed with the best weather this year and it didn’t matter one bit as the crowd didnt really care and still enjoyed Exit to the fullest. It almost resembled a typical Glastonbury!
Rudimental have featured heavily on the festival circuit this year and after a cancellation at the 2013 edition they more than made up for it at the Friday night slot. Bringing raw energy and drawing a massive crowd to the Main Stage, the UK band smashed out hits from their “Home” album including “Waiting All Night”, “Free”, and “Not Giving In”. Serbia was definitely treated to what we picked as one of the best live shows weekend and it really did lift the bar for what we expected by the other artists this weekend.
One of Exit’s biggest draw cards is their Back to Back sets and this year we were treated to some of the best B2B combinations we have ever witnessed. Carl Cox & Danny Tenaglia joined forces on Friday to bring their house & techno vibe to Novi Sad. Both Carl and Danny are legends in the electronic music scene and it was an immense pleasure to see them playing together. As the sun set on the Dance Arena the lads had the crowd grooving from start to finish.
Other notable B2B sets that we managed to catch were Afrojack & Quintino, their high energy electro house set in the early hours of the morning keep the crowd going right up until the end. Exit regular Green Velvet joined forces with Carl Craig to deliver a house and techno infused set pleasing those that like the harder side of electronic music.
The biggest drawcard for Exit this weekend had to be ex Blur frontman and Gorillaz head honcho Damon Albarn. Being his first trip to Serbia, Albarn treated the packed out Main Stage crowd with tracks through his back catalogue as well as tracks from his critically acclaimed “Everyday Robots”. Kicking off with his the chilled out “Lonely Press Play” and “Everyday Robots”, it didn’t take long before he had the crowd singing along to Gorillaz tracks “Kids with Guns” and Blur’s “All Your Life”. However the biggest tune of his set had to be “Clint Eastwood”, Albarn really seemed to enjoy his time on the stage at Exit and his performance was one of the highlights of the weekend.
Another massive name on the festival circuit is Sonny Moore, better known by his stage name Skrillex. Skrillex arrives slightly late to the party and already has the main stage packed out waiting to see this grammy award winning artist. If you haven’t seen this guy live then you don’t know what your missing. Not only is the guy like an energiser bunny on stage, but his stage presence is like no other DJ. You would not know that its 2am when Skrillex comes on as the energy around the main stage drives you to keep moving and dancing. Kicking off with “Try it Out”, Skrillex is already bouncing around behind the decks and instantly has the crowd moshing and going crazy. His mixing is fast and his set is powerful and energetic and by the end of the set we are soaked with sweat. Talking to a few people on the crowd after his set, you can tell that Skrillex delivered exactly what they came here to see.
Sunday sees the likes of Hurts, Suede and Pretty Lights take on the main stage as well as the return of Deep Dish and Jaymo vs Andy George in the Dance Arena.
Hurts kick off our night in the Main Stage and play to a packed out crowd. This English synth pop duo have the entire crowd sing through the majority of their set with standout hits “Mercy”, “Wonderful Life”, “Excile” and encore “Better Than Love”.
We managed to catch up with grammy nominated producer Pretty Lights in London prior to his Exit performance and we made sure that we caught him on the Main Stage in his early morning slot. Pretty Lights genre infused music is something fresh and pleasing to listen to over the huge sound rig and he rightly has a massive crowd on hand to enjoy it.
Deep Dish reformed this year after a hiatus to bring their house music to Novi Sad. Playing in the Dance Arena they played massive set full of huge drops and fat baselines to those that ventured to see them perform. It was great to see these guys back together as their productions were hugely popular back in the day.
Exit Festival has come a long way since its inception back in 2000 and now see’s over 200,000 people go through the gates each year.
As we walk around the festival we are gutted that its almost about to be over, the weekend has flown by and Exit has captivated us, the crowd have been amazing and the lineup even better. It was our first Exit experience and it definitely will not be our last. If there is one European festival that you need to experience in your lifetime then Exit should be at the top of your list. See you in 2015!
Back once again to raise the roof in a quiet little corner of Cornwall is The Eden Sessions. Held in the futuristic agricultural experiment, The Eden Project – these one night concert spectaculars have seen some incredible names grace the stage in front of the Biomes over the years, and this year sees the likes of Ellie Goulding, Pixies and Elbow top the bill.
However, tonight is the night Eden comes alive with a dose of electrifying bone-shaking beats from misfit messiah DJ Sonny Moore, aka Skrillex.
After a heavy-handed search by the mass of event security (we are told that quite a lot of 'interesting' items have turned up already and that searches have been significantly upscaled for this particular night of the sessions) we head out to take in the view of Eden from the top of the hill. Giant caterpillar-like Biomes nestled in a lush valley of vegetation are the sci-fi lovers wet dream, and with their burst looking skylights you could almost imagine some kind of alien escape scene. As we stroll down towards the stage and café area, a screeching man flies past attached to a perilous looking zipwire.
The cafes offer pasties, burgers and sweet potato fries (all Eden specials of course, no rubbish festival food here) and the hippy-tastic Carrot, Lemon & Sesame burger with a dollop of extremely hot Eden-made sweet chilli sauce is exactly the kind of meal you need before you spend a few hours raving in a garden.
The arena itself faces towards the hillside and visitor centre, with the Biomes making for a stunning backdrop, and the curved amphitheatre has a grassy area for reclining, which many people are doing in the sunshine.
Warm up DJ's Chris Lorenzo, followed by Tchami are perfect for the event, a nice mix of heavy drum and bass, and samples of stuff everyone knows to get us in the mood. Running in to join/take over from DJ Tchami, Skrillex in his signature black uniform, black scruffy hair and black Wayfarer sunglasses – looks so out of place at the vibrant Eden, but gets down to business straight away with devastatingly loud bass-drops.
Jumping atop the deck rig as flame and smoke canons erupt, Skrillex yells "Yo everybody is participating, I wanna see your hands up like this" and initiates a side-to-side wave from the crowd, whilst simultaneously keeping the music going and smoking a cigarette.
As an artist who travels seamlessly between songs and samples, it can be difficult for fans to snatch a bit of tracks they know, but Skrillex makes sure the major favourites are included in snippets all the way through as he energetically leaps and bounces through the set.
After a particularly weird set of VT's involving aliens and computer error messages, the opening scenes of Disney's The Lion King appear on screen, accompanied by a heavily remixed and scratched version of 'The Circle of Life' and Skrillex screams "Light it up Eden" to an ecstatic crowd.
Fan favourite 'Kill Everybody' goes down a storm, with everyone up and dancing, throwing clothes and shoes to the floor in an attempt to be more free, and Skrillex wears his white headphones around his forehead like a halo as the sun dips on Eden.
For ex-girlfriend and ex-collaborator Ellie Goulding's Skrillex track 'Summit' the stage is filled with stars and white beams of light, but the wonder is short lived as the song is well and truly clipped short in favour of 'Vikings' and 'Rock and Roll'.
Calling "Shout out to mother nature for giving us a beautiful day, no rain! Shout out to eden for saving mother nature" Skrillex gives the frenetic crowd what they want, 'First of the Year (Equinox)', samples of MGMT's 'Kids' and some seriously heavy basslines.
With Nyan-cat floating across the screen, the night drawing in and the lasers getting sharp, 'Kyoto' is enough to flutter the eardrums of the furthers alien planets, and 'Bangerang' (with a little sample of 'Work It' by Missy Elliot in there) as expected gets the biggest roar of the night. During a 'crowd participation' moment where Skrillex implores everyone to "…get low! We're going to blow this shit into outer space and colonise mars…" the true nature of the night is shown – everyone is joining in, ready to go big on the beat.
Skrillex's "Shout out to those twin kids, dudes! Start them young! When I was 9, my dad took me to see Metallica, I loved it. Speaking of Metallica, is anyone going to Glaston-berry?" is met with tumble-weed like silence but his appreciation of the Project "So blessed to be invited to Eden, did you guys see that biodome over there? That shit blew my mind" is met with rapturous applause.
'Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites' have people dancing like they aren't being filmed… which they are, you can catch it on Eden's youtube channel… and Skrillex closes out this session with an abrupt but warm departure. Despite the crowd chanting for more, it's the end of the night, and the mass of sweaty bodies and red grinning faces say it's been a damn good night.