Glade Festival, Aldermaston [UK], 17/07/08-20/07/08

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23 Jul 2008, 1:07

Fri 18 Jul – Glade 2008

Glade 2007 was an apocalyptic mudbath made blissful by two of the best DJs going: Richie Hawtin and Derrick May. How was Glade 2008 ever going to be as memorable?

First things first. My best memories of this year's festival were memories shared with my pet zebra, Marcel:

Marcel, before we went on adventures

Tragically we can't reflect on these memories because, being the irresponsible idiot that I am, I lost Marcel on the way back to the carpark on the Sunday evening. If anyone has seen him (with or without sunglasses, still dancing or passed out in a ditch) please let me know. I miss him so much!

******

We arrived at Glade on the Thursday morning and, after getting our wristbands on entry, we laid claim to one of the best camping spots on the site. My friend gwenan's monster tent made for a great base and we had a lovely view of a huge tree and sunrise (more of that later).

Thursday night we explored the site, catching a bit of Spastik at the Flat Cow trailer and taking in the always-pretty ID Spiral chillout area. G's portable speakers made for a good rave back at the tent - I guess you could have called it the pre-party.

******

Friday was the proper party. We managed to hear some techno at the Origin stage (pretty much the only listenable sounds coming from that stage, which reminded me of a needy cockroach with ADHD - "look at me! look at me! see how many beats I can fit in a minute! LOOK AT ME!" - and a nervous tic that meant standing in just the wrong place made for AWFUL delays from the speakers either side), including the Dubfire remix of the aforementioned 'Spastik', and the seemingly all-pervasive Albertino. This set also established an unfortunate trend for the weekend: poorly beatmatched Ableton sets. If you're going to use a computer to do your dirty work, at least get it set up properly beforehand!

Later we tried to see Vitalic but instead got another badly-warped set from a pair of unrecognisable DJs over the equally unpredictable main stage speakers. I don't remember there being any problems with the Funktion One systems last year (in fact they'd sounded amazing) but this year even turning your head 10 degrees left and right was enough for the sound to change completely, and there was a constant tinny echo from the cancelling rigs at the back of the main stage that made for a maddening distraction.

The only tents where the sound really worked for me were the Overkill tent, where we saw the Bangface people really tearing it up on the Friday night, and in the underwater-themed Sancho Panza tent. The latter proved to be by FAR the best of the whole weekend, with its ascendant fish, comfy seating, raised central dancefloor and crystal-clear setup. Oh, and it's wicked DJs, who played a wonderful mix of disco, house, techno and madness all day and every day.

******

Saturday was the big night as far as I was concerned. We achieved relatively little during the day, but as the evening wore on we managed to get in just the right mood for the night-time - not least by witnessing the first moonrise any of us had seen. The moon rises pretty damn fast! We tried to watch The Bug but he didn't really capture our attention so we headed off to Sancho Panza for some real dancing. Later, Claude VonStroke had a go at the main stage crowd, but the sound again let us down: the bass was one big fat 'bzzzzzzzz' and Who's Afraid Of Detroit? was reduced to a few plinks and that's about it. Oh well. Paul Woolford hastened our exit from the main stage by playing Yeke Yeke far too fast. We returned to watch the legend, Jeff Mills, and his three decks, but the sound let us down AGAIN. All fuzzy and bleurgh. I heard from others that the sound was fine down by the speakers, but where we were was awful. Jeff looked pretty monolithic up on his raised platform and I'm sure I'd have enjoyed the set on a properly set-up system, but as it was we had to escape.

Luckily we had Sancho Panza to rely on. We danced to two hours of incredible aquatic techno/house/whatever, all elastic and pinpoint, sounding great over the speakers. Earlier we'd heard Dance With You, which Armand van Helden sampled on 'U Don't Know Me', in the discofied Pussy Parlure. The Sancho Panza soundsystem capped my night with the brilliant inclusion of Professional Widow (Armand's Star Trunk Funkin' mix). I didn't recognise anything else they played, but I wish I had a playlist. It's so nice to know there are DJs playing stuff that is recognisably techno but still doesn't sound like anything else i've heard.

We went back to the tent at around 6am for some Pantha du Prince afters. Saturn Strobe was the soundtrack to one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen. The 2007 mudbath was a distant memory. Bedtime was 8am, the Sancho Panza sound still ringing in my ears.

******

I guess it's understandable, then, that after waking up late and packing up the megatent on the Sunday, we went back to the Sancho Panza tent for another few hours of dancing. A few classics later - including Show Me Love (original mix) and I Feel Love - and we were on our way home into a beautiful sunset.

******

Glade was wonderful. There were serious sound issues a lot of the time, but the Sancho Panza DJs more than made up for the shortcomings of the other stages. The people were friendly as before and the food was yummy (especially the Chicken Cacciatore). If only I hadn't lost Marcel.

Where are you, Marcel? :(
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