Let’s face it, the UK weather hasn’t really done itself many favours over the last month or two. Rain, rain and more rain; May and June have been the wettest months we’ve experienced in years. This doesn’t even include the amount of rainfall collected from keen festival lovers cheeks as they’ve looked out at another dismal day and considered the prospect of another total al fresco flood out.
But do you think a little meteorological misery could dissuade the raving massive to make the annual pilgrimage to Glade this year? Not on your welly… And guess what? There was barely a spec of drizzle throughout the entire weekend. Although it was windy enough to knock seven shades of Pot Noodle from even the sturdiest of tents!
It was clear on arrival that their second year in their new home on the sprawling greens of Houghton Hall, near King’s Lynn, Norfolk, was an exercise in sheer festival muscle flexing. While last year’s event was incredible, this year’s was utterly outstanding in terms of layout and organisation. Utilising the wooded area to an impressive scale, the new attractions included Feast Of Fools, a carnivalesque style nook complete with a non-stop roaring fire and mead on tap, and the Meteor stage, a mind bogglingly bass-fuelled area that came with its own wooden floor loaded with speakers!
Naturally, each one of the 15 arenas (yup, 15 – from micro tents to massive arenas to a boxing ring set up solely for dance-offs) were all be-suited with pristine systems and tweaked for maximum raving enjoyment. None of the standard distortion, muddy sound and lack of clarity many other festivals are dogged with; Glade cater in class A sonics, and we weren’t to be let down. Which is quite fortunate really, considering what the line up had to offer today’s young and upwardly mobile bass monkeys.
The party ignited with all the excitement and anticipation we’ve come to expect from Glade. BMK was the very first port of call for most connoisseurs, pounding the Bassment arena with every style of D&B possible, ably warming up for the likes of Stanza, Mr Nice, Interface and our very own competition winner Tensor who wooed the crowd over with a very cool, deep and rolling selection by the likes of Spectrasoul, Alix Perez and Jubei.
Meanwhile over in the I:Scream arena (where the sounds are belted out from a party-primed ice cream) D&B was in full force thanks to Bladerunner, Ant TC1, Zen, Northern Lights and Mob Tactics. Elsewhere, the sonic spread was wide and bountiful; from the swashbuckling glitches of Pretty Lights to the monstrous techno of Vitalic; Glade has something to offer for everyone.
As the weekend whisked by in a psychedelic whirl, ably assisted by the mega winds, we were treated to a rampaging live set of skanking sizzlers by the Dub Pistols, a true showcase in soulful dubstep by Submotion Orchestra, speaker-busting, tempo-flexing bangers by Drumsound & Bassline Smith and a surprise appearance by High Rankin who more than made up for Rusko’s cancellation.
Highlights abound. But if we’re to pick two particularly huge moments it would be Dillinja’s Saturday night sensation in the Overkill arena and Andy C’s grand finale on the Sunday night. It seems Dillinja pulled out every stop sign on his way from London, slaying the packed arena with a textured set of tearing bangers and blissful vocals. Double drops a-go-go, no one left the tent dissatisfied. As for Andy C? If you’ve not caught his Alive show yet, make sure you do this summer… Over 100 tunes morphed, melted and mashed with bespoke visuals and a space-age set up involving over 300 buttons and triggers, his next level antics ensured the festival closed with a rapturous note that was just as explosive as the huge fire and fireworks going on in the neighbouring field.
If you’ve not yet experienced Glade festival in all its technicolour, psychedelic, multi-genre glory, you’ve really missed out. Friendly, funny and full of surprises; what began as a Glastonbury off-shoot is now a must-do party in its own right. Book tickets for next year the minute they’re released. Keep watching their site here. We’ll see you there.