Music: We Are FSTVL, Upminster ~ Saturday

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Award-winning, We Are FSTVL returned for its third successive year this weekend, bigger than ever and booming electronic dance music across the countryside.

The two day event in Upminister, Essex, brought in crowds from all over Europe as festival goers were offered 150 artists across 15 stages on Saturday and Sunday.

A short commute from London, We Are FSTVL has been dubbed the Best New Festival in 2013 and Best Medium-sized festival in 2014 at the UK Festival Awards.

Festival goers had high hopes this year would continue to amaze, and it did just that. Crowds began to gather early for the 10:30 start, with queues of over two hours in the morning.

Weekend and Saturday day entry tickets had already sold out by Friday evening.

Excitement has been stirring for weeks as the rabble awaited some of the most prolific electronic acts from across the world. The main stage proved to be where it was all happening, with house dominating throughout the day.

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The fun, fast and friendly atmosphere made for an intense day and evening. Leaving revellers sidestepping and shuffling on a sea of nos canisters, plastic bottles of beer and broken sunglasses.

The Main Stage continued to be graced with the best energising dance acts including the likes of Gorgon City, Hot Since 82, MK, Monki, Solomun and Secondcity, among others.

An exhausted Seth Troxler flew in from Berlin, to perform his hour and a half set. Followed by superstar Carl Cox’s penultimate performance, wowing the horde with his anthemic mix of house and techno, alongside an impressive light and fire show throughout, finishing with a brilliant fireworks finale.

However, the festival left a few with higher hopes. The outdoor stage didn’t prove as eclectic an arena, with the sounds of thumping house far better suited to a club environment, the open space proving to take off the edge of the bass.

In relation to the Sunday line-up, Saturday failed to satisfy some with its lack of electronic dance music accompanied by vocals. Constant repetitive beats proving to not be the taste of some.

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The Used + Abused stage, an impressive aircraft hanger venue, featured the likes of Noir, Oliver Dollar, Sam Divine and Masters at Work. Steam and confetti cannons filled the air as rammed revellers remained dancing to the flashing lights until the end.

Thankfully, drum and bass pumped through The What Hannah Wants stage, featuring the prolific DJ herself, alongside Cyril Hahn, Redlight, Friend Within, My Nu Leng and Waze & Odyssey.

The Defected in the House stage presented Loco Dice, Adam Beyer, Tale Of Us, Yaya and Enzo Siragusa.

The VIP area allowed ticket holders to enjoy an additional stage with exclusive performances by Mark Knight, Wankelmut, Weiss, Shiba San and Dosem in the ‘VIP Village’.

Only in Essex would you find GHD stands and an outdoor spa lurking in the VIP area. In regards to this area, it failed to overly impress with its exclusivity meaning an additional stage (Toolroom Live), an outdoor spa, and access to viewing stands at the Main Stage.

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Although an amazing weekend for the majority, the lack of space for camping proved disappointing to many who faced ‘chaos’ leaving the site once the festivities concluded.

Many reported struggling to find travel back home, of shuttle buses not being efficient and of an immense difficultly in getting taxis home, with many opting to walk along the dark roads the 2.3 miles back to the station.

Although mental and a tad exhausting, Saturday proved to be a non-stop party, filled with renowned acts and a consistently upbeat atmosphere.

We Are FSTVL should definitely be in the running to receive further rewards at this years UK Festival Awards.

Keeping the party going at Everywhere Festival, Nottingham

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Everywhere Festival, Nottingham review

An indoor playground for electronic enthusiasts, Everywhere Festival, the largest multi-venue dance event in the East Midlands returned to Nottingham clubs for its third successive year.

On May 3rd, an eclectic selection of artists and DJs catered for many tastes. Dollop presented acts to satisfy the most passionate electronic, house, techno, grime and garage lovers.

Alongside hardened veterans of the electronic and dance scene such as chart-topper Route 94 and Leeds’ Hot Since 82 performing at Forum, came newcomers such as garage and grime goddess Flava D adding a sense of rhythmic bass to Rescue Rooms.

International talent in Nottingham

International talent came from Cyril Hahn at Rock City and Motor City Drum Ensemble at Stealth.

Rescue Rooms set off Everywhere 2015 with a day party from 2pm. Finally switching at night to a line-up with an urban edge. Melé concluded the evening with a bass-fuelled set, contrasting the infectious house and techno pumping throughout the other venues.

Rock City’s main hall attracted the largest crowds of the evening, as the masses crammed themselves onto the dance floor and along the balcony.

Anthemic beats throughout the night

Redlight gave a sterling performance with anthemic beats. Popular hits such as Gold Teeth & 9TS ensured the crowd continued to beat the air throughout his set.

“Notts was sick,” he said, posting a picture of the audience post-set on Instagram.

Hannah Wants steals the show

Finally, the highlight of the evening, Hannah Wants. She kept the masses of 20-somethings shuffling on their feet with a cleverly driven DJ set. In essence, a seamless mix of renowned original work such as Rhymes alongside clever remixes of old-school classics such as Renegade Master. Her bold determination towards the end of the night left many a sweltering and heaving mess.

Aggravated bar staff and bouncers tried to stay optimistic as dawn approached and sweat began to drip from the booming speakers upon the waning crowds.

Stealth offered a wind down from the smoke machines, flashing lights and visuals. Survivors swayed to the calm beats of Chunky, Paleman and Loefah.

A night to remember

With bass pumping through the mind, bodies and souls of revellers for eight hours straight, most will still have a ringing in their ears today.

Finally, for the partygoers of the Midlands, it’s a good thing it’s a bank holiday weekend.

As seen originally for the Nottingham Post in print, and online for the Summer Festival Guide.