Mint Festival returned last weekend, this time taking over the RAF Church Fenton, a former royal air force base that was ready to host thousands of hungry party-goers. Mint have had issues with their venues in the past, with The Tetley in 2016 being full to burst. Organisers have definitely listened to these critiques however, as the airfield had plenty of space for ravers to dance the night (and day) away! The only issue with the new venue was the considerable distance from Leeds City Centre, but luckily, shuttle bus passes could be bought for a bargain from the festival website and ferried attendees from Leeds to the site regularly, and later offered return journeys.
After topping up our wristbands on arrival and with drinks finally in hand, we delved into the crowd at Derrick Carter, ready for some cheerful disco rhythms to warm us up in the autumnal air. Funky tunes like Donna Summer’s 'Bad Girls' soon had us forgetting the queues as we were transported to the disco era of the 1970s.
The Woodstock Disco stage had an incredibly impressive line-up and an even more impressive giant disco ball that was lifted slowly into the air as the sun disappeared from the sky. Moodymann was up next, playing one of the best sets of the festival, packed full of funk it was impossible not to grin and groove. He was joined on stage by dancers adorned in disco ball helmets and silver bodysuits, but he wasn’t to be upstaged, playing non-stop tantalising tunes that enticed an ever-growing crowd.
Heralding once again to the iconic era of disco with Debbie Jacob’s 'Don’t You Want My Love?', then later playing some modern party classics like Crazy P’s 'Like A Fool' - the ideal festival track - it was a masterclass in feel-good groove. DJ of the moment Peggy Gou was up next, making it difficult for us to even bother exploring the rest of the site. She has gathered considerable momentum in the past couple of years and with good reason; it seemed most of the festival had gathered to watch her set. It was a delicious combination of dark, undulating rhythms and staccato beats, that we were sad to leave pulsing behind us as we ventured to some of the other stages.
The Bunker was under the trusted control of Eats Everything and Patrick Topping, no strangers to each other, or to playing huge sets, the atmosphere in the crowd was unsurprisingly electric as they blasted out some seductive sounds. After grabbing a tasty bite to eat from one of the many food trucks, we headed to the imposing structure towards the centre of the site; Area 51.
This had been advertised a lot during the build up to the festival, and it didn’t disappoint; a 5000 capacity aeroplane hangar that boasted an impressive sound system and hypnotic light display. World renowned techno DJ Joseph Capriati commanded the vast space effortlessly, suspending the crowd in ambient euphoric beats, accompanied by blinding light, before dropping them into some dirty bass that made your insides vibrate. He rode the rise and fall of his set like the expert he is, playing teasers and crowd pleasers like 'Café Del Mar' (Tale of Us Renaissance remix), with dangerous drops combined with smoke and dizzying lasers making for one hell of an experience.
With the festival nearing its final hours we headed to the Arcadia After Burner stage, a strange tower structure that looked like something straight out of a sci-fi film. Plumes of fire rose from the top and creepy trees smoked around the edges. We caught the end of Disciples set, as they closed with some crowd pleasing party classics, then handed over to London boys Gorgon City who played the perfect, uplifting set to end the night on.
Famous for their tracks that combine heavy, throbbing bass with catchy lyrics, they promoted material from their recent album Escape which only came out in August but already the crowd was shouting back the lyrics as they danced. The highlight was probably when they played 'All Four Walls', one of the best tracks from this album, it has all the ingredients of a successful house anthem, with an addictive beat and a chorus you just want to belt out, which is exactly what the Mint Fest crowd did, jumping around with reckless abandon.
Mint Festival isn’t quite perfect, but the stellar sets and unique stages make up for any small flaws, and it really is a great place to have one last celebration of summer as the winter months begin to creep in.