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Review: Global Gathering

Izzy donned her wellies and waterproofs to check out the latest edition of Global Gathering that took place in Stratford-upon-Avon on July 30th and 31st.

So I arrive at Long Marston airfield at around 5 o'clock. The roads were clear and there was no queue to get in. I naively thought that I must have chosen a really good time to get there, but after entering the festival I could see that had been created on a much smaller scale than the years before. First impressions were not great. After avoiding British dance-only festivals since 2007, and only going to such amazing events as Glastonbury and Dance Valley in the Netherlands, I think I expected Global to match, or attempt to match that standard.

Funkagenda was on the main stage when I arrived, and although the main stage was much smaller than before, the visuals were just as impressive, and the crowd were already having an amazing time by the look on their faces. To make the moment perfect would have been to have a nice cold drink, but was there a bar in close proximity? Urm. No. There was a distinct lack of alcohol available, although there were men walking around with backpacks full of beer and cider who sold pints by the cup. This was a pretty ingenious idea, not one I've seen before, but there were not enough of these men, and the actual bars, when you found them, only sold bottles for £4. Anyway I got my pint of cider off a man in a backpack, carried on dancing to Funkagenda for a bit, who impressed me a lot, and then decided to roam about. Flitting between all of the tents, and getting a good range of the music it made me realise; what Global lacked in decor and pizzazz, it certainly made up for in choice of DJs and artists.

Digitalism and 2ManyDJs were two acts which really stood out for me. 2 Many DJs came out on a boat, and proceeded to play an insane mash up, as expected, made up of ‘Love Is In The Air' by John Paul Young, ‘I Feel Love' by Donna Summer, my favourite dance track of all time, and a good old death metal tune, interspersed with their Soulwax remix of Chemical Brother's ‘Hey Boy, Hey Girl' and Mr. Oizo's ‘Positif'. You get the picture. It was messy, but only in a bizarrely wonderful way.

Listening to the buzz going around the festival, and it seems Faithless and Eric Prydz came up trumps, but surprisingly not one mention of Armin Van Buuren, who was the only trance headliner on the Friday night.

So to summarize the event, it wasn't the Global I knew and loved. It was much smaller and much less impressive. Apparently, around 12000 people attended the Friday night, compared to the 40000 people overall who attended my first Global in 2005. The economic downfall has unfortunately hit the British dance music scene very hard, and it's a shame to see a festival you know and love struggle. I really hope Global continues, and I hope it gets stronger in the years to come, because they know fucking good music and ultimately, that's all that matters.

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