We had never been to Glade Festival before but had heard of its magic - as well as the problems organisers have experienced in the last four or five years. With the 2012 strap line ‘From the roots of Glastonbury now re-imagined by The Secret Garden Party’, we felt it the right time to pop our Glade cherry and prayed this would be an end of the problems for the organisers.
Although the sun was shining for the four hour drive down to the site – Houghton Hall, King’s Lynn - the forecast had promised of thunder, lightning, gale force winds and buckets of rain so we set off weighed down with enough warm waterproof clothing to sink a battle ship. Entrance to the festival was speedy and efficient. There is only one entrance with a small single file queue which splits out in to numerous lines for you to be thoroughly, but efficiently, searched. Security kept things moving as best they could and were more than willing to ‘have a laugh’.
Once in, we walked straight through to the camp site and found our home for the next four days. Tents of all shapes and sizes were popping up left, right and centre; we quickly erected ours with help from blustering winds... No sign of rain yet, thank god! Before having time to have a celebratory drink and admire our architectural masterpiece, our neighbours poked their heads in to introduce themselves.
The first thing I noticed about meeting ‘Gladers’ was that one of the first questions we were asked was ‘Is this your first Glade?’. To which we reply ‘Yes’ which was followed by assurance of how we were in for the time of our lives. Being Glade virgins we had heard so much before arriving, and learnt so much in the hour or so we had been on site.
After an overindulgent Thursday night at the Dance Off Stage with our new friends, we rose rather late on the Friday. One bonus of this meant we had slept through the first major bout of rain. The great thing about a festival of this size is that although it appeared to have been quite a downfall, the site hadn’t turned it to a mud bath the instant a few drops of rain came down. We used Friday to find our bearings and check out all that Glade had to offer. We were drawn out of the campsite and into the forest by the extra terrestrial green light emanating from the eerie looking trees. After a quick loosening of the legs at the Feast of Fools stage, playing the best in old school, we wandered down past the Liquid stage where we heard our first bit of Psy-trance. We keep moving towards the Meteor Stage, wanting to save our first real hit of Psy for the Origin Stage.
The new for 2012 Meteor stage left us speechless. Although we're not the biggest fans of Glitch Hop, the stage itself makes the experience out of this world, no matter what music the DJs are spinning. It’s as though a UFO has crashed landed in the trees of Houghton Hall, and with the Bass rumbling through the underground speakers like a labour of moles burrowing under your feet, you are sure to have a great time at this stage.
- Date: Sunday 17th June 2012
- Event: Glade Electronic Arts Festival at Houghton Hall
- Venue: Houghton Hall
- Artists: Andy C, Toddla T, Sven Vath, Krafty Kuts, DRUMSOUND & BASSLINE SMITH, Dub Pistols, The Correspondents, Stanton Warriors, Rusko, Max Cooper, Dynamite MC, Foreign Beggars, MC Serocee, Robert Babicz, A Skillz, System 7, Vitalic, Extrawelt, Pretty Lights
After the first of many episodes in the ethereal forest we went out straight into the main body of the festival to meet the heartbeat of Glade - The Origin Stage. We meandered our way into the crowd to get a proper feel for the pounding music being blared out by no doubt a Psy-Trance legend. Having stomped our feet here for a good couple of hours we dragged ourselves away for a hit of DnB in the Bassment.
The dark, dingy big top housed the same hooded, sun glassed DnB heads every time we went in over the weekend. This thankfully wasn’t many, meaning we had plenty of room to get our skank on to some lyrically gifted MCs spitting over old and new DnB tracks.
After a long mixed-genre day of music, we wandered through the Pyromid and finished off with the sluggish techno of Marc Romboy. The equipment they use to bat songs to each other is nothing like I have ever seen. They each had what looked like a transparent touch screen soundboard. God knows what they were doing on them but it looked and sounded technically brilliant.
Saturday got off to another late start. Today’s agenda was to enjoy the delights the Pyromid Stage had to offer, then onto the Glade Stage for Extrawelt and papa Sven. We found however that things at Glade don’t always go to plan! We were quickly lured back in to the dark depths of the Bassment by the heavy beats we could hear while trying to relax in a nearby cafe. Having missed Tom Demac’s and the Majority of Alex Jones’ sets, we dragged ourselves away from the Bassment and over to the Pyromid to find Eats Everything soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the end of Jones set with the pumped up crowd. The Bristolian man of the moment took to the stage to rapturous applause and got straight down to business, playing his signature garage infused house. Having spoken to him whilst enjoying Alex Jones’ set apparently he had had very little sleep from a set the night before - though none of this was visible in his enthusiasm levels during his Glade debut.
Plan – to go and watch Extrawelt on the Glade stage. Actual – go and watch Dillinja in the Overkill stage. At other festivals, with me being such a tech-head, a line up like today on the Pyromid and Glade stages I would have set up camp at one of these stages for the day. At Glade you just seem to go with the flow and go where your party goes. It’s a great feeling not to have a lanyard decide where you go for the entire weekend. And yeah, that’s right more DnB with Dillinja.
After a quick stop to get our faces painted we, for once, stuck to the plan and headed over to watch Sven Vath (above). In true fashion we left after only an hour of his set to head down the infamous Glastonbury Rabbit Hole - famous for its after hour parties that go on long after the sun has risen for another day. There was great energy in the stage with house music playing all night long, and we found ourselves dancing with the craziest characters and not batting an eyelid at their outrageous fancy dress. We quite literally crawled out of the stage (to get in and out of the stage you have to crawl on your hands and knees through a winding tunnel and out into the party) around 7am.
On Sunday, I’m ashamed to say we only left the campsite at around 8pm to tamely dance at the back of the Glade stage for Andy C. We had had our fill of partying and music and were looking forward to seeing the festival out in (chilled) style by watching the ceremonious burning of the Pyromid Stage. There was a great feeling of ‘oneness’ when the entire festival gathered to watch the burning of the magnificent festival centre piece. Friends old and new reminisced over what they had been through over the last four days while being hypnotised by the flames engulfing the stage that had given us so much.
Glade Festival is more than a music festival. Of course, you are there for the music but for me it is more about sharing the creme de la creme of electronic music with the beautiful, like minded people you meet. There are no egos here, and although you are watching some of the worlds biggest DJs in the likes of Sven Vath, Andy C and Eats Everything to name but a few, for me it is not about who you are watching performing but who you are sharing this amazing moment with.
Glade... You are one of a kind, take a bow!
Words: Dominic Citarella
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