There are a multitude of festivals to choose from in the UK, from tiny affairs with an attendance of a few hundred right up to the behemoth that is Glastonbury. But when it comes to big EDM festivals with a big lineup, there are only a few that really stand out, and Global Gathering
is certainly one of them. Now in its 12th year, the festival is one of the highlights of the summer, with a stellar ticket full of big names that once again attracted a sold-out crowd of over 50,000 to Long Marston Airfield, deep in the heart of England.
Having won “Best Dance Event” in the 2012 UK Festival Awards
, the organizers were keen to keep things fresh and exciting for this year’s event. Global managed to strike a near-perfect balance of mainstream and underground, providing some amazing performances for the more casual EDM fan while also keeping the die-hard ones happy until the early hours. LessThan3 attended for the Friday half of the two-day event, and as our first UK festival, we couldn't have asked for anything better.
To kick things off, right in the middle of a glorious (and unusual) warm summer’s evening, was Plan B's
headline set on the main stage. Following on from Disclosure
, the crowd was warmed up by some stunning beat-boxing from Faith SFX
--forget some poor impersonation of an old drum machine. This guy could put most synthesizer designers out of a job. Plan B then launched into a set, which largely comprised material from his multi-platinum-selling album The Defamation Of Strickland Banks
, his soulful vocals searing across the packed arena as the sun finally set. Easily the biggest crowd-pleaser of the night was End Credits
, the collaboration with Chase & Status
, which catapulted Plan B into the mainstream.
Attention then turned strongly to the various arena tents dotted across the site. First up was the simply and aptly named House arena and Bingo Players
, who had the crowd moving with some funky and melodic house, including some of their famous bootlegs--their Cold As Oi
mashup threw down a storm.
The Godskitchen brand was what started the festival in the first place, and so much attention was on the tent, almost a hall of fame for the greats who've played the festival and the club over the years. After an evening of solid trance from the likes of Orjan Nilsen
, Cosmic Gate
, and Lange
repeating his back-to-back set with Andy Moor
, Ferry Corsten
headlined the tent with an epic set including some unknown gems and some recent hits, such as Orjan’s XIING
, his own F The Bull$h1t
, and some reworks of all-time classics, notably the Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike
rework of Rock Your Body Rock
Back in the House tent, special guest Sander van Doorn
was ramping things up with some prog house, paving the way for the headline act, while in the Digital arena, Seth Troxler
, this time with his clothes on
, was keeping things deep and stylish, headlining a tent which was rammed throughout.
The Gods arena continued to get more and more exciting, as one of the true legends of the scene was taking to the decks. Paul Oakenfold
has played so many UK festivals that you’d think he’d just go through the motions, but his set was one of the most creative of the weekend. Starting with some big room trance--the Blasterjaxx
remix of Adagio For Strings
, a firm crowd favorite--things nicely slipped into the Fluoro psy-trance realm, with a few tracks from Symphonix and DJ Fabio to end the set.
The peak of the night, however, was about to take place in the House arena. The tent was rammed to the edges, the crowd literally spilling outside, all of them awaiting the arrival of Nicky Romero
. Taking the crowd into the early hours of the morning, his set has its fair share of underground house tracks, but the mainstream side of things had a well deserved outing. I Could Be The One
proved a firm crowd favorite, almost symbolic of the whole festival: a crowd willing to experience something new and unknown, but also up for a good sing-along to a recognizable synth hook.
Global Gathering proves that when it comes to hosting a major EDM festival, experience counts. With Creamfields and SW4 just around the corner, Global have some major competitors on their hands. But given what was on offer this weekend in Warwickshire--the sell out crowd, the stellar lineup, the chilled yet energetic atmosphere, and of course, some amazing music--Global Gathering is a festival that will be around for many years to come.