As another British summer reaches its peak of field based festivities we look at the past, and the present, of the pioneering UK dance festival.
Date published: 4th Jul 2012
Celebrating its 11th year in succession, the now world wide brand has dominated the clubbing calendar since its birth, spreading high quality dance music events across the world. To get an idea of just how quickly the festival has grown and the role it has played in shaping the way that dance music is consumed, we must look back to where it all started.
In the new millennium, dance music found itself closer to the mainstream than ever before; the UK had experienced the blossoming rave scene bringing through legendary artists such as The Prodigy and Fatboy Slim. Jungle, Hardcore, House and Techno were breakthrough sounds that dominated night clubs up and down the country, as well as the odd field littered with thousands of party goers. Nostalgic monologues found in the film Human Traffic allow us to gain a clear understanding of just how such music influenced those that were a part of the latest cultural revolution, hitting the youth of an ever changing Britain.
Overseas, Ibiza - once looked at as a hippy retreat - soon turned into the hub for dance music; a commercial paradise that was simply booming by the end of the late 90's. A decade of riots and mass unemployment during Thatcher's Britain had caused many to look elsewhere during the early days of Acid House. The hot climate and relaxed laws offered the perfect location to expand upon the initial energy brewing in the UK, and as more and more people took advantage of the seemingly perfect location, the demand for dance music amongst young people was growing greater every year.
In 2001 Global Gathering was born on a weekend that somewhat matched the idilic weather of the Mediterranean haven that so many had fallen in love with. God's Kitchen, a club brand that had experienced huge success throughout the 90s in the UK, as well as Ibiza, hosted its first outdoor festival event at Long Martson Airfield in Warwickshire. 25,000 people attended the sold out event that played host to familiar names such as Judges Jules, Tiesto, Seb Fontane, as well as additional underground acts Andy C, Roni Size, Mampi Swift and many, many more.
This debut event was widely acknowledged as a enormous success, and when the festival returned the next year, an extra 10,000 people attended and partied until 7am, well and truly cementing the event in the festival calendar. Throughout the decade, Global Gathering continued to expand, lavishing those lucky enough to attend with line-ups unmatched by any other dance music festival. By 2008 the festival had spread its wings, hosting events in a range of countries including Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Australia, and Malaysia.
This year the festival returns once again to its home in Stratford Upon Avon, boasting a range of high profile guests including Tinnie Tempah, Magnetic Man, Netsky Live, Annie Mac, Ms Dynamite, Zane Lowe… the list just keeps on going. Demand for tickets have been greater than ever; no surprise with such a mouth watering line-up, and this year festival organisers are expecting another record attendance across the weekend.
The influence of dance music festivals such as Global Gathering are obvious for all to see. One only has to look at last weekend's chart to see the likes of Netsky, Skrillex, DJ Fresh and David Guetta competing alongside superstar acts such as Jay Z and Rihanna. It would certainly be naïve to suggest that such a rise is entirely down to the expansion of dance music festivals, however it must be acknowledged that events such as Global Gathering have seriously boosted the profile of these artists, allowing more and more people to come together to experience dance music in its purest form.
Global Gathering takes place at Long Marston Airfield on 27-28 July 2012. Tickets are available through Skiddle below.