A sun drenched weekend was the perfect setting for this years We Are FSTVL, held just outside of Upminster. Year after year the festival delivers with excellent programming, and the 2018 edition was no different with a host of big names from the world of dance music.This year saw a slight reshuffle of the site layout, but one that made life easier for those in attendance.
Swathes of sequins and glittered people pour into the festival for a day of music and dancing, and once we are through the gates it’s straight to the main stage to catch Bristol’s finest bass export in My Nu Leng. They drop Dimension’s huge ‘U.K.’ which has become a mainstay in the scene of late. For an early afternoon set, the crew set about trying to hype up the crowd, best captured with the mass singalong of Chase & Status’ ‘Blind Faith’, which gathers friends into huddles as they shout the words back.
We take a trip across the site to the Hyte stage where Enzo Siragusa is warming the crowd up well before Ben Klock takes to the stage. Klock quickly builds the audience up with a mesmerising mix accompanied with large pulsating visuals dominating the vast screens that stretch on the back of the stage. Equally at home in Berghain as he is on the festival stage, Ben Klock really shows his credentials and signs off in style with KiNK’s ‘Five’ from the producer’s recent album Playground, which is received with rapturous applause.
Taking over the reins is Green Velvet and the crowd swells to the busiest of the day so far, as he delivers scintillating selections. His instantly recognisable vocals are blasted out as he drops ‘Flash' (Eats Everything Remix), with its air horn resembling bass this is a track that is made for the big stage and sounds brilliant on the soundsystem. Velvet also spins another of his own productions, this time his collaboration with Patrick Topping ‘Voicemail’, the line “meet me at the club” being met with hands in the air as the track hits full stride.
Heading over to the We Are Bass Stage, one of the outdoor stages that is housed in with brightly coloured shipping containers and a relatively small stage given the size of some of the acts booked to perform on it throughout the day. Sub Focus does well providing a mix of his older dnb classics like ‘Time Warp’, as well as the newer ‘Lingua’ and ‘Tidal Wave’.
Elsewhere on another outdoor stage, Denis Sulta is in the mix on the Circoloco stage which does it’s best to imitate the iconic ibiza party. Irish duo Brame & Hamo, have surely delivered one of the hits of the summer with their song ‘Roy Keane’ out on their self-titled label. Full of that 70s disco groove and horns to match, it goes down a storm with the sun starting to retreat beyond the horizon. Circoloco top dog Seth Troxler, pops down early to catch the latter stages of Sulta’s set and is treated to Will Easton’s ‘Technic’ with it’s pumping beat it was hard not to move to this one.
To cap off the day it’s back over to the Hyte stage to see the legend that is Carl Cox, and he does not disappoint delivering a spellbinding mix of thumping techno. It’s impossible not to smile when you see how much he is enjoying playing and this is reinforced with his classic rhetoric of “Oh Yes! Oh Yes!” which draws large cheers every time. To pick a highlight from his mix is very difficult, but Ninetoes’ summer anthem ‘Finder’ absolutely tore the roof off when Cox dropped it into the mix, still sounding big five years after it’s initial release.
All in all, another successful year for the festival that can’t seem to put a foot wrong, we can’t wait for the next one!