Festival Review: Global Gathering 2012
Seminal UK electronic music festival Global Gathering showcased its grandeur for a twelfth annual instalment with a phenomenal line-up. Spanned across seven stages, the two-day festival saw the crème de la crème of electronic music and its collaborators descend upon Long Marston Airfield to entertain eighty thousand spirited revellers in the heart of Shakespeare country.
The inaugural day of the festival had us already unequivocally spoilt for choice with a diverse music roster. A State of Trance stage saw Trance pioneer Armin van Buuren bring his Invasion tour to Global Gathering with a stellar line up including the likes of Markus Schulz and Ashley Wallbridge. Broadcasting the show live to millions across the globe, music truly was transcending geographical boundaries.
Nicky Romero played a delicious set on the outdoor House stage at sunset, setting a jovial tone for the eve to come. En route to the main stage, we bumped into a group of dinosaur suite wearing festival goers from Tunbridge Wells who were counting down the hours to see Skrillex’s return to the festival; a sentiment that was echoed all over the airfield.
At the main stage, Tinie Tempah performed a string of his hits. Addressing the crowd, Tinie gave a shout out to Emeli Sandé and Ellie Goulding then launched into his collaboration with the latter- “Wonderman”. The audience made ‘w’ hand sign and sang in accompaniment, as the rapper justified his title as a British household name.
Over at the Rinse arena that had seen Emalkay play earlier in the day, Dubstep pioneers Magnetic Man delivered an outstanding performance. The trio had the jam-packed audience belting out “I Need Air” with near religious fervour and the energy was electric.
The UKF Bass Culture arena was laden the entire day with heavy bass driven sonic swag. Jaguar Skills, Knife Party and Feed Me enthralled the audience as anticipation built up for the arena’s late night headliner- American electronic music maverick Skrillex. The Grammy award winner sluiced the arena with a deluge of sound and light that had the audience willingly submerged in nothing short of a spectacular high octane sensory fiesta. Hypnotising video visuals provided an engaging back drop as Skrillex played an exquisite energetic set that included smash hit “Still Getting It” with Foreign Beggars and the stunning collaboration with members of The Doors, “Breakn’A Sweat” as he closed Friday festivities. The artiste’s perpendicular career trajectory was exemplified and we were left ecstatic as probably were the dinosaurs from Tunbridge Wells; Skrillex was superb.
Day two offered another superb serving of music that warranted a meticulous schedule to ensure respect was paid at all arenas. We began the festivities with a visit to the Toolroom Knights arena to see Paul Thomas play a thunderous afternoon slot. The crowd shrilled when the DJ dropped his Jerome Isma-Ae collaboration “Tomorrow”, as did we!
A quick walk to the Hospitality arena, High Contrast delivered a charismatic set which was nothing short of sublime. A favourite of ours for a long time, the Welsh maestro did not disappoint and left us wanting an encore- of the entire set.
The main stage had seen a number of fantastic performances all weekend from the likes of Maverick Sabre, DJ Fresh and Labrinth. By sunset on Saturday, there was an air of excitement amongst the press corps as we awaited Chase and Status’ performance. The UK duo lived up to our expectations and delivered an explosive performance, with MC Rage and Andy Gangadeen on drums. Tracks such as “Pieces of Me”, “Flashing Lights”, “Eastern Jam” and “Time” attracted thousands of festival goers who thronged to see them in action. “End Credits” saw all of us singing in unison as nightfall befell Long Marston and the lasers were out in full retinal force.
We proceeded to head back to Hospitality as droves flocked to see Belgian Drum and Bass producer Netsky in all his glory. Having first heard “Secret Agent” a few years back when the chap was still relatively unknown, it was heartening to hear “Iron Heart” played live by the now established name, at Hospital Records’ arena.
A short while after the clock struck twelve, the Metropolis arena called loudly as Nero took the stage. With a Matrix-esque stage set up, the duo spellbound the audience with deep bass goodness that gave us goose bumps and a tinge of tinnitus. Flux Pavilion followed and the bass extravaganza continued with the Circus Records co-founder as he pummelled the night air with a sonic assault of oh-so-phat tunes.
As temperatures dropped and our hoodies were on, we headed over to Hospitality where experimental Drum and Bass artiste Cyantific was joined by MC AD on stage. The tent was heaving with bass heads as the “Ghetto Blaster” producer played a masterful set that had us dancing from the outset.
We later proceeded to traverse the expansive backstage village and make our way to see family favourite Sub Focus, en route having a quick chat with the wonderful ladies from Taylor Herring who had been doing a fantastic job all weekend. Before reaching the entrance of the Metropolis arena, we serendipitously bumped into Flux Pavilion. The “Daydreamer” producer spoke about plans to release new material in 2013. When asked about the UK music scene and the US take on UK originating Dubstep he replied, “Whether it’s Blink 182 in the States or the Sex Pistols here, Punk is Punk- just a different interpretation of it. Music is music.” We concur.
The highly anticipated Sub Focus took to the stage with MC ID at 3am and a magnificent audio-visual spectacle ensued. Ensconced in the centre of three mesmerising light rings, the colourful spheres pulsated as Sub Focus played a phenomenal closing set. The versatile artiste has the ability to effortlessly command the audience with finesse, in a manner reminiscent of French legend Jean Michel Jarre. “Out Of the Blue” received a rapturous reception from the concerted audience and we could not help but leave the press enclosure and join the masses, immersing ourselves in Sub Focus’ sonic opulence as festivities came to a beautiful culmination.
From Andy C to Afrojack, Global Gathering’s 2012 line-up was a diverse and veritable celebration of the finest in electronic music. It is nearly impossible to mention every act featured at the festival but we can say this; British music is the most vibrant it has been for years and it was wonderfully humbling to see our home-grown artistes take centre stage alongside international artistes and propound a myriad of UK sounds. Tinie Tempah tweeted, “Global Gathering 2012 was EPIC!!! A massive thanks to everyone who came to see... Still Buzzing!!" He hit the nail on the head.
We bid Shakespeare country adieu for the bright Olympic lights of London, that much more enlightened, that much more content. Global Gathering 2012 was epic, euphoric and simply in a league of its very own.
Reema Kumari Jadeja and Diya Jadeja ©
Photos: Diya Jadeja ©
For more information on Global Gathering, please click here.