Boundary 2016 Review

Ellie Swain headed down to Brighton to witness the debut of one day dance music festival Boundary. Read our review here.

Mike Warburton

Last updated: 22nd Sep 2016.
Originally published: 21st Sep 2016

Photo: Boundary Festival Credit: Vision Seven

It’s mid-September, and yet the UK’s festival scene is still thrashing on. On Saturday 17th September 2016, for the first time ever, brand shiny new Boundary Festival opened their doors in the wonderfully picturesque fields of Stanmer Park, a mere 15 minute drive from the quirky seaside city of Brighton.

The festival had promised a close-knit boutique atmosphere of a small festival hosting four stages, with an impressive star-studded line-up of a larger festival. This meant we were both curious and excited before our arrival to say the very least.

A concoction of house, dub, bashment, techno, drum and base and electronica to name but a small variety of what’s on offer, there was definitely a fair diversity of both international and local DJS for Brightonians (yes, that’s a thing) and visitors alike to check out. And with festival-hopper favourite Craig David’s TS5, UK dance veterans duo Groove Armada and drum&bass producer and DJ Wilkinson topping the bill it was ‘bound’ (gettit?) to be a big one.

Photo: Groove Armada at Boundary Festival

Despite being a disappointingly overcast day, it didn’t seem too chilly for September and on Saturday afternoon we flocked through the gates in our crowds donning our usual festival attire of denim shorts and jazzy dresses. Our immediate thoughts on entry was how compact and small the site was, a factor we came to appreciate later on in the evening when several friends went missing (as they do at a busy festival), and it was actually for once incredibly easy to reunite and find one another.

Normally frequenting larger festival sites, I have to agree that it was a pleasant novelty to try out a boutique festival that was a lot easier to navigate.

We grabbed our ciders and were instantly drawn to The Arch stage hosted by global music brand elrow. The bohemian, psychedelic-themed tent was decorated inside with strung-up peace signs, flowers and vibrant netting. We were in our element!

We bopped away, absolutely loving our surroundings to the end of house and techno duo Solardo before American house and techno DJ Seth Troxler took to the stage. There we were elevated with his funky electronic beats, jigging away happily under the floating peace signs. 

As we navigated our way round the site, past the bars and past the fairground rides we came to the Boundary Bandstand stage, a quaint Victorian bandstand. Surrounded by revellers, we weaved our way into the throngs to find British DJ Toddla T and hip hop and reggae artist Serocee thrilling the crowds with their eclectic mix of bass and carnival tunes.

The atmosphere was vastly different from the psychedelic Arch stage, and we had an absolute ball bouncing around energetically, especially to fan favourite hit ‘Take It Back’. 

Engrossed in the set, we had almost forgotten it was time for the eagerly-anticipated performance from Mr Craig David himself. Oops. Heading over to the Mixmag X Concorde2 main stage, we managed to squeeze ourselves in and catch the set in time. What came next was a fantastic, energy-fuelled hour long set that seemed to breeze by in mere minutes.

Treating both old and new fans to a collection of both his classic early noughties chart-toppers as well as his more recent dance hits, it seemed everyone in the crowd was loving life. Classics such as ‘Fill Me In’, ‘7 Days’ (a personal favourite) and garage sensation ‘Rewind’ sent us on a nostalgic trip down memory lane, whilst fresh dance tracks ‘Nothing Like This’ and ‘One More Time’ had everyone moving non-stop. Even Drake’s ‘One Dance’ was thrown in for good measure, sending fans into a frenzy.

We decided to stick around the Mixmag X Concorde2 stage for the final act of the evening, drum&bass DJ and producer Wilkinson. Impressive visuals and heavy drops made the set a very entertaining and energetic experience. 2013 hit ‘Afterglow’ had the crowds singing and we left the site back into Brighton on a high.

Overall we were impressed with Boundary’s first festival, and I think it can be deemed a great success for the organisers. The intimate and carefully thought out and decorated stages were a winner, and it was great to finally attend a festival with a compact and easy to navigate site.

The line-up was fantastically varied, and we can only wish we'd had more time to flit between the stages and check out more of the awesome artists that were playing. We look forward to seeing you next year, Boundary.

More like this? Read Solardo Interview: It Takes Two