July 28th-29th 2006 saw the return of Godskitchen's Global Gathering, the UK's biggest dance music festival, at Long Marston Airfield near Stratford Upon Avon. i:Vibes was there, so read on to find out about what you missed if you weren't there...!
Now in its 6th year and 2nd time round as a two day camping event, Global Gathering is getting ever more popular. This year it enjoyed an unsurprisingly huge media presence, dominated by Radio1, who had live broadcasts and essential mixes coming out of their ears all weekend. This year's event saw an extra 15,000 added to the capacity, pushing up the total to a whopping 45,000!
The Friday, which I didn't attend, saw mainly progressive, electro, breakbeat and house music being played over the 9 hours allocated that day (5pm - 2am). Massive acts such as Groove Armada, Sasha, Pete Tong, Daft Punk (live), Tiesto, Deep Dish, Steve Lawler, Hybrid (live), and the Plump DJs (and many more!) filled up the lineups of the various tents, arenas and stages. I heard a few mumbling from Friday attendees that it was all extremely regulated that day, and they were made to feel a little too restricted.
The Saturday saw the 'main' part of the festival, sporting more of the trance, hard house, techno, house, drum 'n' bass and electro musical styles than you could shake a really big stick at. DJs such as Fatboy Slim, Paul Oakenfold, Ferry Corsten, Armin van Buuren, Judge Jules, Marco V, Above & Beyond, arl Cox, John Digweed, Eric Prydz, Lab 4, Rob Tissera, The Tidy Boys, Roni Size, Grooverider and Nicky Blackmarket, plus a whole load more, made for an extremely appetising Saturday lineup.
I arrived at about 16:30 and by the time we had parked up, got in, found our bearings, chilled out and made it to the Godskitchen arena, it was about time for Above & Beyond to finish their set, so I missed it. That was annoying - I thought they were scheduled too early. Anyway, in we went just as Fergie was starting. He played some good, chunky music - kind of fat, techy house which was good to start on. He finished his set with the 'That Fuct Camera' bootleg and it was ace to hear that classic track being played. Marco V was next up (at 19:00, again I thought this was a bit early) and he put out a kind of mellow, funky, weird sort of set. he kicked it off with 'More Than A Life Away', which was nice, but I left nearly half way through because I had to meet up with a few people.
We then got to the Beach stage at just after 21:00 to see Fatboy Slim play his set. He played some proper Fatboy Slim classics like 'Fucking In Heaven', Right Here, Right Now' and 'Rockafella Skank'. The sound and the bass coming from this stage was unbelievable. I was nearly 100m away and it was really booming.
A bit of exploring later, we came back to the Godskitchen arena (via the Polysexual tent where we saw Amber D for a short while) to see Judge Jules play his live set for Radio1. I enjoyed his set, he played quality tunes like 'Direct Dizko' and 'Brazilia' by Mark Norman. It was enjoyable, dancey and uplifting and it was good to hear Jules getting vocal like he does on the radio as normal.
We spent a bit of time after Jules just floating around, hopping from tent to tent. I saw a little bit of Anne Savage who was playing some rather standard hard house / hard trance and then Lab 4, who were hard and fast. And fast. And hard. I saw the end of Paul Okenfold's set, which surprised me as it was more trancey than I would've expected him to play. I then danced away to the entire of Armin van Buuren's set, which was brilliant. He kicked off with Arksun's new track, 'Arisen', he played Sander van Doorn's remix of his own 'Control Freak' and I also noticed Aalto - 5 being mixed in during his set. Paul van Dyk couldn't make his set unfortunately, so at that point (02:00) I went to meet up with some friends, not knowing that eddie Halliwell was going to fill in. Dammit.
I ended up in the Carl Cox tent, which was featuring some really bizarre, slow techno at the time, but then Ben Sims came on and started to bang out some really tough, chunky stuff. After a bit of socializing and resting, we did a bit more tent hopping. Walked in to the drum n bass tent to check out some dirty and fast dnb, but the arena promptly closed, so we visited Andy Farley back in the Polysexual tent who was blasting out some pretty pumping and bouncy hard house. Back in the Godskitchen arena, Judge Jules was playing his 2nd set of the night, and as the classic 'Angel' was being played, the sound rig broke down for a few minutes. It was pretty late (05:00) and the atmosphere was lost so we went to chill out for a while before attempting to leave.
Leaving was interesting to say the least. To cut a long story short, there was over 8 lanes of unmanaged traffic trying to all leave at the same time down a single track road. We were stuck for hours. The GG organisers really need to address that for next year.
Overall, I really enjoyed Global Gathering this year! Loads of top acts and performances and a generally fantastic atmosphere at all times. The weather was fine, other than for about 30 minutes of heavy rain. Besides a few little niggles which can be ironed out for next year, it was awesome.