My last post - gushing about Above and Beyond - gives a nice teaser about the times I've had over the past 3 months. Trust me when I say that it has been epic. There have been fun times, tired times, mental times and some even disappointing times. But it's all been truly amazing. where do I start?
I may as well start where I ended in my last post - with Above and Beyond. They tore The Oval apart on 3rd August. I'm not going to lie. I was slightly disappointed that the production side of things was less than at the Brixton Academy in April. But it doesn't matter - they were still amazing. 3 hours of amazing music, fantastic atmosphere and the loudest sing a longs you will ever hear at a rave. These guys have it down to a tee. And the crowd are following in a close second. I've only seen them 3 times (brief gushings about the 3rd time to follow in another paragraph), but I can honestly say that each time has been a truly special point in my life. It's going to be a while for the next time...but I already know that it's going to be worth the wait.
Following that was my holiday for the year - FESTIVALS! I wish I could go on and on about how I had the time of my life. But unfortunately both of the festivals I went to fell short for some reason or another. And 'some reason' on this occasion was the Great British weather. Don't get me wrong, i had a great time at both festivals. But one was slightly confusing, and the second was cut short. I still have post-festival blues in October, and I think this is because I feel like I have unfinished business at both. Let me explain.
Beautiful Days was, indeed, beautiful. As always - a nice hippie crowd, random good music and lots to see. But the weather was hideous. As if pitching up in 20 mph winds wasn't enough, the following couple of days saw huge amounts of rain and a burst water main under the site that left the ground a swamp. Last year the sunshine over the Friday and the weekend salvaged everything. The mud dried out, the trainers were put on and random music was listened to whilst sitting on the grass in the sunshine chilling out with friends and a pint. This year, our shifts were less forgiving and we worked Fri, Sat and Sun (ie days of the festival). We also noticed an even larger tween presence than last year, which basically saw an infestation (no, not harsh at all) of 15 year olds off their tits. And this was avoiding the dance area! I find Beautiful Days so hard to figure out. I love the vibe and the random music. I hate most of the people that go to it - the tweens, and their middle class white parents who are hideously snobby, but really think they are raging hippies. I've basically come to the conclusion that I just love the Levellers. And seeing as their set was almost (ALMOST) ruined by the teenagers we were surrounded by during their set (no exaggeration), it seems pointless allocating an entire week of holiday for the festival when really all I'm doing is looking forward to one set during it. And if I was scheduled to work during it? yeah, I'd probably go home. It's a festival I couldn't pay for, due to the campsites being FULL of tweens...and I don't want to work again, seeing as I work full time already and if I'm taking time off work then it's going to be to chill rather than stand on my feet for 8 hours in the cold and wet. In conclusion: Beautiful Days - it's been good. But it's you, not me. And our relationship has to end. I'm sorry it was so short.
Creamfields followed the week after, and I'd been shitting a proverbial brick of excitement since booking it back in April - 3 day hospitality, may I add, setting me back 250 quid. The Friday was a nothing night, with silent disco that ended at 11pm and torrential rain that I couldn't be bothered to stand in to get headphones. I spent the first night in my tent reading, drinking and smoking. Lame it may sound. But I loved it anyway. Saturday was amazing. Chilling during the day in the SUNSHINE, drinking Pimms in good company and listening to ace background music. Spent the evening with great people, Sander van Doorn, Above and Beyond, Gareth Emery (most of - after drenching myself in mud, I missed a good half of his set trudging (wobbling) back to my tent to change my clothes) and Markus Schulz. I won't even bother going on about how amazing Above and Beyond were because you already know how this is going to go: amazing set, stunning visuals, explosive atmosphere. Like last year with AvB's set, I still hear tracks now and get taken back to that field. It was stunning. And I'd fall over in that horrible mud another thousand times afterwards if it meant I could live those short 2 hours again.
I got back to my tent at who knows what time on the Sunday morning to find it in a river of mud. Thankfully it survived, only because I had a good tent rather than a shite one, but it took an hour or so of lining under my ass with binliners and stuffing the corners with huge wads of bogroll to make sure it did. Woke up to rain at 9am...fell asleep again. Woke up at 12 sweating profusely and having to dive out of my tent. Into a massive swamp of mud in my porch (don't even ask about the worms. It was ridiculous)...AND GLORIOUS SUNSHINE. Perfect festival weather. I was so excited about that day. Jordan Suckley, Simon Patterson, John O'Callaghan, Paul van Dyk and Ferry Corsten.
So you can imagine that hideous feeling I got when I found out the last day had been cancelled due to health and safety issues in the arena caused by the mud. I'll never forget hanging onto hope that something would be going on, before giving up at about 5pm and spending well over an hour unearthing my tent from the mud around it (most people abandoned their tents, even though they were on green grass and nowhere near as mud buried as mine, but I refused. It's seen me through many a festival and I refuse to leave a perfectly good tent behind in order to stop myself from getting (more) muddy). The queue for the shuttle bus was depressing and surreal - tonnes of people on huge comedowns wishing they were dancing their blues away rather than going home. All the mud and the wet would have been worth it for all the amazing DJs on on the Sunday...instead we were heading back to our warm, dry beds. Who'd have thought such a notion would be so upsetting. Going through Manchester on my way home anyway, I stopped off to stay with my sister for a few nights because the thought of going home was just too unbearable. What a bitter-sweet weekend. Epic Saturday but a failing Sunday. I think I'm only just getting over it.
Ministry of Sound is helping. One by one, the DJs missed on the Sunday have been playing and it's making me feel much happier about the whole thing. There was Ferry Corsten. In 1.5 weeks time I am seeing Paul van Dyk, the week after John O'Callaghan and a few weeks after that Simon Patterson (with Cosmic Gate! Hell yes). I also got to see some of my faves that weren't doing the festival circuit this year - Tritonal and Lange. Tritonal stole the show the night they played Ministry. What started out a night full of freshers and incredibly rude people ended up being probably the best night I've ever had there. By 4am when Tritonal took the stage, most of the youngsters had gone home just leaving me and a few handfuls of hardcore ravers, dancing their hearts out and loving every minute. The atmosphere was one of the most incredible things I've ever experienced...all you had to do was look through the crowd of smiling faces and you would know why I say that. I couldn't stop dancing nor wipe the grin off my face. My heart broke when their set ended and the lights came on. Making a quick trip to the loo before leaving to go home at 6am, I remember hearing a girl say to her friend 'but...I just don't want this night to end'. And i remember saying out loud to myself 'me neither.' Lange the following week was also fantastic. His set was amazing and the cherry on the cake was getting to meet him. It's a shame I was wasted and didn't know what else to say apart from 'YOU'RE AMAZING!' But seriously, such a nice guy. And such an amazing DJ. One word: LEGEND.
And now I have so much more to look forward to! This weekend there is Richard Durand. Funny that the last time I saw him I didn't even know who he was. I'm now an avid listener to his In Search of Sunrise podcast, and I can't wait to see him again. Then the week after: 2 nights of raving in 2 different cities..WITH 1 MAN. Night 1 at Ministry: the top 100 DJs night, with Sean Tyas (yes!), Orjan Nilsen (hell yes), Markus Schulz (oh god is this happening) and the no 1 DJ in the world, most probably Armin van Buuren (I'm on my way to heaven). Last year David Guetta (hiss. spit) won this spot, and this night wasn't on at Ministry. This year it is, with lots of other trance artists. If AvB hasn't won this then I will be very surprised. Then, Saturday afternoon I am heading up to Manchester to see the man himself, AGAIN, AvB. We all know how much I LOVE HIM so really, 2 times in 2 nights makes me feel like a lucky girl, even though it was a total accident because the top 100 DJs night was announced after I had booked my Manchester ticket. And the fact that he is playing with both PvD and W&W? Oh hell yes please. And then the weeks after that? John O'Callaghan, Sneijder (ahhhh love this man. I'm sure I'm going to end up writing a post about him), Andy Moor, Simon Patterson, Cosmic Gate, Gareth Emery...
...this year keeps getting better and better. It may have rained on my festivals, but 2012 you have spoilt me. And with still 3 months ago, I can barely contain my excitement about what else is in store!