REVIEW // Gottwood 2012 // 21st – 24th June
The theme for Gottwood festival this year was ‘Summer Of Love’. How apt then that every single person I camped with pledged to attend for the rest of eternity, even if Glastonbury (normally) takes place at the same time.
Never before has an 800 mile round trip been so worthwhile; Gottwood Festival 2012 was incredible. Taking place in the stunningly beautiful Anglesey, North Wales, the weekend was filled with fine electronic music and feel-good vibes that you just don’t find at other, more commercial festivals.
It may be clichéd to say, but this festival really is like no other I have experienced before. This is one for true fans of electronic music. As such, all of the 1500 crowd were clued up and in the mood to party hard. House music dominated throughout much of the weekend but there is a real diversity to be found too, from hip hop through to reggae. Gottwood is an electronic music paradise.
There are only five stages at Gottwood, and on the Friday, Charlie Banks was warming up for Mosca on the Summer Of Wood stage. Halfway through his set the tent became rammed, and Banks delivered his most-compelling set to date.
Torn between sets from Mosca and the deep house sounds of Casino Times, NEN floated between the two. The closeness of the stages meant that witnessing both was possible, and both acts were brilliant. Following Casino Times in the Walled Garden stage were Tiger and Woods. Here, the crowd was mesmerised not only by the music, but by the amazing visuals on display upon the roof of the dome. The epic scene above your head, consisting of incredible patterns, shapes and colours was so enticing that people were suffering from a slight stiffness in the neck the next day. This stage was very special, and hosted a number of festival highlights over the weekend including Greymatter and Dinky, whose blend of minimal techno and tech house had the crowd in the palm of her hand on Saturday night.
Ocular treats were plentiful throughout the whole of the forest. A mere stroll through the woods felt dreamy with projectors, lighting and artwork being used to great effect. Added to this, the fancy dress theme saw all manner of spectacularly dressed punters floating around the forest, from John Lennon pretenders to beautiful hippie girls. This festival is stunning in a number of different ways.
By Saturday morning it was clear that many had partied through the night as the forest was almost deserted for most of the afternoon. Josh T caught the eye with a set befitting the cool atmosphere of the afternoon, finishing with Dr Dre’s Xxplosive – a delightfully simple choice. The Stables hosted Atlas and the cutely named Eton Messy, but more memorable were The Correspondents. Playing an eccentric mix of electro swing, ska and even some drum ‘n’ bass, the twosome were incredibly entertaining. Crowd interaction was top of the agenda and the audience were absorbed by their originality and lively (to say the least) performance.
Sunday rolled around far too early and brought with it the only disappointments of the festival. Not only did England lose another penalty shoot-out, but the rain that fell the night before meant that the Lake Stage was too dangerous to open; judging by the state of some of the party goers, probably a good decision. Added to this, the music finished ridiculously early, just after 12.
Not to be disheartened, people took matters into their own hands and created a party out of bounds. Outside the site, some ruins were transformed into an after party of sorts. Some genius parked his car close to the impromptu after party, allowing the merrymaking to continue way into the night. One thing that sets this festival apart from others is that everyone is on the same wavelength. Revellers share a deep understanding and appreciation for electronic music that is as far removed from the commercial dance scene as you can get.
What a find Gottwood has been, I’ll definitely be visiting again.