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Review: The Zoo Project at Benimussa Park, 22nd August

Mid-season animalistic trip to Benimussa Park.

On the outskirts of San Antonio, as you pass through the gates into Benimussa Park on a Saturday, animals await you. Upon closer inspection, however, these untamed creatures are actually humans. All thanks to The Zoo Project taking over the park since this side of the millennia, offering a unique, festival like setting to get a taste of the underground, outdoors.

Within, the Seal Pit is littered with people top to bottom as Philipp plays a hard-edged remix of Let's Prance from Radio Slave & Thomas Gandey. Enthralling performance art is ahead of us at the stage as two contortionists in tiger-striped morphsuits duelled. At the Treehouse sparks are flying, as Dana Ruh mixes up a skipping percussive storm, including Guy Gerber's hot off the press remix of Monkey Safari - Walls, taking it more tribal towards the end. Around the enclosures the wild breed of ravers loose in the vicinity are glittered and painted up with animal markings.

The line-up features names many of Zoo's clientele have little clue about, a booking policy that invites a musical education for the crowd. The open-air can be embraced, although near the front of the treehouse it is definitely getting sweaty under upside-down umbrellas as everyone goes bananas to invigorating house and techno cuts in Spencer Parker's lively set. Fittingly, he later plops a banana on his head as he heads off of an 80s tangent with Blackbox's Ride on Time and Toto's Africa.

Back at the Seal Pit, Holland's very own Cinnaman is serving up a set of tunes almost as lethal as having a spoon of the spice his alias resembles. For unknown reasons, dancing on a level is lots of fun, the multiple tiers at the replica dolphinarium therefore making Floorplan's beastly re-plant of Never Grow Old all the more enjoyable. To go along with those endorphins released dancing, the Mandala Garden ensures you're feeling as zen as possible with healing vibrations away from the speakers from some friendly enlightened ones. You can even get a tarot reading and they'll probably inform you you're about to have a wicked time, leaving the place with your new pack.

WORDS | Emma Gillett PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman

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