All the biggest names in Electronic Music were hard at work making people in Europe smile this weekend, most of them splitting time between Global Gathering and Tomorrowland. I wanted to see what all the hype was about, so after 4 hours of riding public transportation through the English countryside, I decided to get weird at Global Gathering, in the running for the title of Britain’s biggest electronic Music Festival along with Creamfields. Even a half an hour before the bus stopped you could spot the huge circus tents and carnival rides poking up above the trees and rolling hills of the English countryside. These tents looked if they could have weathered a monsoon and most of the English crowd seemed ready for one as well. Luckily this was to be a dry weekend with no worries where my biggest conflict was deciding who’s set’s I was going to see.
These Brits are addicted to the BassCulture! The majority of the local focus was on the largest tent which hosted Feed Me, Knife Party, Skrillex, Borgore, Doctor P, Flux Pavillion, Modestep, Subfocus and Nero, among many others, over the weekend. Sadly, the bass as this tent was extremely limited throughout the day allowing only the biggest and baddest drops to be achieved by the main headliners, which, unfortunately, made the earlier artists sets sound distorted and amateur. I found it was Better to stand at the small house stage by the entrance and listen to the killer sets by Dada Life, Tommy Trash, and Nicky Romero! R3HAB, Mark Knight, Michael Woods, and Afrojack.
The second biggest tent, and the one with the best sound featured amazing trance, nonstop, all weekend. Jochen Miller, Aly&Fila, Markus Schulz, Armin Van Buuren, Mat Zo, Cosmic Gate, John O’Callahan, Simon Patterson, Ferry Corsten and, of course, Above and Beyond, took us to a higher place and kept the crowd moving from doors to close both days. With the best crowd and vibes, it was the place you never wanted to leave.
When it comes to music festivals I think we can agree: The success of the festival is not just about the music, but the overall festival experience, sometimes determined by the festivals setting and props. All the carnival rides were overpriced, there was almost zero decoration, and there was no visual theme actualized in production for the event. Maybe growing up with the Gorge in my backyard and attending mostly Insomniac and/or USC Event hosted events has spoiled me or created unrealistic expectations, but for the number of people and almost 150 artists attending, I expected more love, thought and $$$ to be spent on giving the venue some more character. Several Americans we met at the festival also commented on the lack of expense that went into the crowds ‘experience’. This may have had a lot to do with the fact that the weather in England sucks 90% of the time, or so I’m told.
In comparison, VIP is definitely worth the money if you are attending GG. At least an hour before the first performers went on inside the main venue, an area called “The Woods” opened up for VIP. This was where a two- story fabricated airplane hanger, built in a hollowed-out grove of trees, provided a place to dance or chill out in beanbags, couches, hammocks or tractor tires, while some damn good DJs spun deep-house all day long.
Although the music was amazing, the company was phenomenal, and the drinks never stopped flowing, I doubt I’ll be coming back to Global Gathering. Unfortunately, I doubt it will ever hold up to its name and be the place people all over the globe gather, the last weekend in July. As far as I can tell, it just doesn’t have the guns or reputation to match up with its competition that weekend. Guess I may have to make the trip to Belgium next year to find out.
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Written by Will Fort
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