global gathering

the ultimate Global Gathering lowdown

Written by Sophie Mizz

August 5, 2011 6:48 pm

global gatheringA few days back from Global Gathering 2011 and my body has still not fully recovered from what can only be described as an extremely messy weekend.

After re-inventing their look, changing the festival layout and overall promising a bigger and better year than any before, I was intrigued to discover what Global had to offer. It was clear from the line-up they had aimed this years festival away from their previous ‘old skool raver crowd’, ditching the likes of Fantasia and Polysexual in favour of the more commercially popular Union and Annie Mac arenas. This, along with other various popular acts including Pendulum, Chase & Status and Underworld, meant the year did look set to be an interesting one.

Arriving slightly later Friday than in previous years, we had expected to be queuing for a significant period of time, however much to my amazement, we walked straight through to the campsite, with the eagerly waiting sniffer dogs barely battering an eyelid (dumb buggers!) We learnt that with the time of arrival you really have to pick your battles; get their early, queue for several hours but get a better camping spot, or arrive later, skip the wait and find yourself facing quite a mission before setting up camp. Either way, once inside the buzzing atmosphere becomes apparent almost immediately, with roars of excitement ripping right the way through the campsite every 10 minutes and a sense of eager anticipation building by the minute.

Around 6pm we follow the sea of people flowing toward the already bustling arena.
The line-up change is certainly reflected in the crowd, with previously dominant UV hotpants and fluffy boots replaced by a distinct amount of TOWIE lookalikes. We head straight to the main stage, where Global has followed in the footsteps of Creamfields by separating the stage from the other arenas, a concept which works well. The stage has been re-invented bringing the colours and cubes from the new artwork concept to life, and it does look impressive.

But the new stage, whose theme is continued with the other outdoor arena (hosted byglobal gathering Toolroom & Union) seems to come at a price, as these are in fact the only two visually appealing aspects of the festival. If you’re silly enough to have missed Eric Prydz Epic 3D show, there seems to be no other visuals worthy of mentioning. In comparison to the unbelievable Godskitchen Boombox (which managed to keep myself, a non-trance raver, transfixed to the GK tent for the majority of the weekend last year) the visuals are a bit of a let down. However, what you think they lacked in visual you’d think they’d make up in audio, this could be said for the Group Therapy, FD Rinse and Wax:On tents, but in Electric and Global it was possible to have a normal conversation when standing directly in front of the speaker, in fact during Dubfire’s set the music was cut out twice for a period of time long enough that people begun to chill out on the floor. Should this happen at a festival boasting its 10 year anniversary?

Sound and visual issues aside, it has to be said that the abundance of fresh and dynamic dance acts meant the night was certainly living up to expectations. With Jaguar Skills & Pendulum smashing the main stage, Above & Beyond delivering as always, and Annie Mac rocking the Wax:On arena Friday had been a night of outstanding electronic music.

Saturday we woke up to the sun shining, meaning the atmosphere was immediately uplifted (despite comedowns hitting everyone hard!), and even the rancid stench of the porta-loos wasn’t putting a downer on things. It was too hot inside the tents meaning most people were forced to spend the day laying out in the near 30 degree heat, ultimately resulting in half the festival looking like they’d just got back from a week in Spain. Not that I was complaining as the number of toned and tanned torsos on show was certainly topping last year!

As with every year, the change from Friday to Saturday is immediately apparent, by the time we get down to the arena (5ish) the number of people has doubled already, with the Saturday day ticket holders arriving early to make the most of the days music. And once again, with a staggering line-up of arenas reflecting the best in Dubstep (Metropolis), Electro (Union), Techno (Carl Cox), Trance (Godskitchen), House (Bedrock) and Drum & Bass (Hospitality), Global really do seem to have picked the cream of the crop. We headed straight to the main stage wanted to make the most of the unbeatable feeling of raving in the sun. Dirty South were smashing out remixed classics like Nirvana’s – Smells Like Teen Spirit and Everything But the Girl’s – Missing and the vibe was truly unbeatable. The rest of the night was certainly not a disappointment, with sound issues apparently dealt with and all tents full to the brim with contented ravers, Global was definitely living up to it’s label as one of the best electronic music festivals in the UK. Daddy of Techno Carl Cox played a blinding set much harder than usual, but which fitted in nicely with the intense level of music blaring from all corners. Chases & Status and Nero both tore up the Metropolis tent nicely, with the only issue being the sheer volume of people (maybe next year would be best to get them on the main stage?). Although as mentioned previously I’m not so much of a trance raver, reports from trance addict mates claim the music was top notch all night, with Ferry Corsten, as always, a particular highlight.

In spite of the usual problems which are pretty unavoidable at a festival of this nature (casualties being rushed out left, right and centre, numerous robberies and just a general dodgy looking crowd), Global Gathering 2011 really did not disappoint. It is a slightly sad fact that it seems the ‘old skool’ element of Global has been well and truly laid to rest, but I am certainly going to be intrigued to see what tricks they have up their sleeve for next year. On that note I only have one comment… BRING BACK THE BOOMBOX!!

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