Global Gathering 2006
Long Marston Airfield
Stratford-upon-Avon
Saturday 29th July 2006

Global Gathering is now into their 6th year at Long Marston Air Field, Stratford-upon-Avon hosting the UK’s biggest dance festival. Like last year the option of camping on the air field was available for those wanting to make use of the weekend and live the whole Global Gathering experience.

The week’s weather leading up to the festival in the UK was fantastic as we were still suffering from a heat wave, with the weather looking all in favour for Global Gathering.
The line-up was spread over 9 main tents featuring BBC Radio One broadcasting live.

We left Birmingham and got to Stratford fairly quickly. We followed the A3400 but there were many routes leading to Long Marston which were sign posted, this eased congestion around Stratford and the surrounding villages. Having followed a convoy of cars we finally arrived at the airfield, parked up the car close to the entrance and made our way to the ticket booth.

Queuing didn’t take too long, there was a strong presence from security with drug amnesty boxes along the queues and full CCTV units. This message was reinforced with the presence of West Midlands police and their sniffer dogs, which ensured the festival ran smoothly with minimal incidents.

Once through the gates we were greeted by a raving metropolis. There were so many tents with various genres of music being showcased to cater for the 45,000 party people.

Due to the size and the amount of artists on offer I grabbed a programme to help navigate around the complex. The airfield was turned upside down and twisted into a ravers paradise. There were plenty of merchandise stalls including official clothing and other bits of memorabilia, together with herbal highs and various other head shops.

In the centre of airfield was the tarmac’d landing strip were a majority of fun fair rides on offer including a bungee. Seeing as we arrived in the mid afternoon we headed up to the Polysexual tent just before Hixxy and Storm were to arrive.

Hixxy and Storm were once again hardcore’s only representatives at this years festival. After the success of last years set I would have thought hardcore would have got more than just a single set, but I guess it’s better than nothing!

DJ’s Mark H and Hinsely were finishing up, I’m not an avid fan of hard house but there was a very friendly crowd in here with the ladies dressed up in fluffies and more flamboyant outfits showcased by the blokes. The production in this tent was massive with an enormous stage at the front and side to side high rise projector screens. Gigantic speaker stacks shadowed either side the front of the stage, the system wasn’t as loud as I was expecting as normally during the day the system is quite loud.

The DJ’s were playing plenty of party tunes, I recognised lots of oldskool classics that have been remixed, which went down well with the crowd. They dropped remixes of ‘Everything starts with an E’, ‘Let me be your Fantasy’ and a mega mix of The Prodigy Classics, which seemed keep the ravers dancing. It was looking like Storm and Hixxy were running late and the crowd were starting to get agitated.

Finally after 30 minutes than advertised Hixxy and Storm arrived, they were late having been stuck in traffic. Soon as Storm stepped up on the stage he didn’t have to say a single word on the mic as he and Hixxy were greeted with a massive roar from the crowd!

Well Hixxy was showcasing plenty of material from his Raver Baby label dropping many tunes which have been featured on the recently released Bonkers 16 compilation and as he dropped ‘Report to the bassline’, ‘Never too late’ and ’Suck my …’. Hixxy was squeezing in as much as he could with only 30minutes than his allocated hour, with so many sets on tonight Global Gathering really can’t afford to change the schedule around late comers

Storm was fantastic hyping up the crowd of 4,000 ravers inside the Polysexual tent, bouncing on this enormous platform moving from left to right getting the ravers involved with his lyrics. At one point he tried to mc by the barrier which separated the stage from the crowd, but was told by security to get back on stage!

Hixxy ended his set with some remixes of hardcore favourites such as ‘Set you free’ and ‘Injected with a poison’ before finally finishing up with the Force and Styles classic ‘Field of dreams’. Was a shame the set lasted only 30 minutes and was the only scheduled hardcore set over the weekend at this year’s festival.

Following on from Hixxy was DJ Amber D, was quite shocked as she started the set with an oldskool garage tune from Double 99 the infamous ‘Rip Groove’ but shortly after the tent started to empty. We, along with others dispersed and headed off to the beach arena which was hosted by BBC Radio One.

The Beach arena was a meeting point for many people as an area of the airfield had been covered in sand, with a massive open air stage too. It was a great place to mingle and chat among friends outside whilst listening to the likes of Erick Morillo and the Shape Shifters.

After chilling out here for a bit we decide to head to the drum and bass tent hosted by Accelerated Culture. The drum and bass tent was located on other side of the airfield, after a short walk we arrived to the tent and it was rammed!!!! The tent was decorated head to toe with massive inflatables hanging from the ceiling and a spectacular lightshow surrounding the main stage. Massive speaker stacks towering either side of the stage pumped out the sounds provided by Funktion one system.

I arrived near the end of Pendulum set but just in time for Groooverider. MC’s Spyda and Bassman were on mic duty for this set featuring drum and bass’s original god father. Grooverider rocked the crowd with ‘Airplane’ and ‘Piper’ remix. Spyda and Bassman were entertaining the crowd in true shadow demon fashion!

Next up was DJ Krust from Full Cycle, Bassman was joined by Full Cycles very own MC Dynamite for this set. Krust was playing a rolling set with some dirty basslines to test the function one system dropping tunes like ‘Who’, ’Warhead’ and ‘Tombraider’ remixes.

As well as the main advertised tents on show at the Global Gathering festival, ravers were provided with smaller tents dotted around the airfield. Gurn.net were here along with contagious and BBC 1Xtra. I thought I’d check the 1Xtra outdoor arena before it closed as the previous night Grooverider and Fabio were broadcasting live from Long Marston to those who could not make the festival.

Back to the Accelerated Culture tent and it was the first of three sets that’s I was looking forward too, luckily they were all on back to back. Full Cycle chief Roni Size was up next with MC Dynamite, Roni brought his ibook laptop allowing him to mix off final scratch. I had noticed that the sound system seemed to have been cranked up a notch whilst Roni Size was on!

Roni was using final scratch to mix off, giving him the perfect opportunity to play a set predominantly featuring some brand new dubplates. Roni played a remix of Babylon 5’s oldskool classic ‘Yes yes’, ‘Jamrock’ and his own remix of TC’s ‘Deep’ featuring MC Dynamite on the vocals.

Bingo Beats DJ Zinc was on next along with two of my favourite MC’s Fearless and Eksman. This was one of my favourite sets of the night and with both Fearless and Eksman tearing down the crowd you know you can’t go wrong!! Zinc ripped up the dance floor with ‘Bounce’, John B’s ‘Bandwagon poos’, ‘Champion sound’ remix. Fearless and Eksman were fantastic hyping up the crowd hence why they are the number one mc’s . They were mcing on either side of the stage, going back to back and working off each others lyrics, a great mc combo in the making!

Next up was DJ Friction and after last years performance at Global Gathering with Mampi Swift this was a set that I definitely did not want to miss. I enjoyed Friction’s tune selection with tracks like ‘Anastasia’ remix, ‘Bounce’, ’The Burial’, ‘Who’ whilst teasing in ‘Black doves’ before finally finishing off with Pendulum’s ‘Blood Sugar’. Friction’s mixing was out of this world teasing in tracks and using the mixer to its full potential. Fearless and Eksman were again mcing for most of the set but were later joined by oldskool legend MC GQ. The Narni shakers were here too shaking their stuff on stage.

DJ Marky was going to be playing next but Andy C DJ’ed instead with GQ on mic duty. Andy C in true fashion delivered an awesome performance behind the decks. Andy true to his form was teasing in plenty of favourites whilst showing of his mixing skills on the 1210’s. There were a number of tunes showcased of the Nightlife album being played with beats like ‘Airplane’, ‘Aliens’ and ‘Love & Happiness’. Andy teased in classics like ‘Renegade snares’, ’Nosher’, ‘True romance’ and ‘Grimey’

GQ was outstanding during this set mcing with his unique style of hyping up the crowd with his distinguished deep voice and rolling lyrics. GQ was later joined by Eksman and Foxy who were mcing back to back bouncing off each other lyrics on the mic. Andy continued to play ‘Gold Digger’ remix, ‘Spaced invader’ and ‘Rah’.

It looked as though DJ Marky was not going to show so Accelerated Culture’s resident DJ and MC took their turn on the stage as Garry K and MC Presha were on. Having spent most of the evening in the drum and bass tent I decided to have a wander around the rest of the airfield.

The airfield was transformed into a nocturnal village in the darkness. It looked like I had missed the rain but it wasn’t anything to severe like the mud bath of 2003.

In the darkness the sky was lit up with the massive fun fair rides which reminded me of Blackpool pleasure beach. I had a wander around the various merchandise stands and found Slammin vinyl had set up a merchandise stall with cheap discounted tape packs

Amongst the merchandise stalls there were a variety of food stands, not only did you have the traditional burger and hotdog stands but there where Chinese and other food stand available. Drinks were on the pricey as it was £2.50 for a bottle of coke yet a bottle of beer was £3.50.

Back to the drum and bass tent and Ganja Records DJ Hype was rocking the crowd with Shabba D and Eksman. Hype scratched through his set whilst banging out ‘Voodoo people’, ’Warhead ‘and ‘Represent’ remixes and showing off his mixing skills. Eksman and Shabba were really working the crowd rolling off each other lyrics seriously damaging the mic!! Hype dropped a few classics like ‘Snap shot’, ’The one’ and ‘The nine’, he also dropped ‘Who’ amazing tune from Dillinja!

After Hype it was the turn of another oldskool legend Mickey Finn, I was a feeling a bit tired having been up most of the day and decided to give this set a miss, chilling outside and mingling with some friends. Returned back for the remainder of Mickey’s set as he dropped ‘The beginning’. Quite glad I missed most of Mickey’s set as the final set of the night came from Mampi Swift.

Mampi is known for his quick and fast paced sets so have recharged my batteries I was ready to give it my all for the final 60minutes. IC3 was here too to make sure the crowd were kept lively for especially as the tent was to close at 4am. This set was fast and furious from the word go with Mampi double dropping tune in true Mampi style. With the likes of ‘Twist ‘em out’, ‘Pacman’,’ Who’ and ‘Style baby’. IC3 was awesome on the mic like a true entertainer he was getting involved with the crowd

Swift carried on playing ‘X-Ray’, ’Floodlight’ and ’Bounce’, a great performance from him and IC3! Well it came 4am and the drum and bass tent came to a close whilst the rest of the festival partied onto 6am.

Overall tonight was amazing with a great atmosphere from the variety of party people across the airfield, the weather wasn’t too bad as it only rained once during the night.

I was disappointed with the sound system in the drum and bass tent, as I felt it could have been louder, but I guess the local authorities monitor the sound levels all night. The system in here was cranked up at one point as it was loud mainly at the front and sides of the arena, but shame this wasn’t consistent through the night.

The drum and bass tent closes early to the rest of the festival which is annoying and unfair but this is due to the sound levels as the mc’s frequencies apparently carry further compared to the music. The 4am finish does allow you to beat the congestion if your driving as in previous years getting out at Long Marston at 6am is a nightmare with tail backs stretching back for miles !

I would say to those that attend for primarily one style of music all night maybe let down whereas those that are very open minded and enjoy various genres of dance music then the festival is for you. As it’s not about just staying in one tent all night! With so many genres of dance music being showcased and with plenty of headliners spread across the tents around the air field there is a bit of everything for everyone and well worth the money. Especially as the festival is now spread over 2 nights.

Big respects to Rhinanon, Liz and the Spring PR staff, Mark and Chris Lambert and the Accelerated Culture crew, Joe from HTID, Storm, Hixxy, Fearless, Grant at Slammin, Eksman, IC3, Mistress Mo and Jimmy, Mickey Finn, Brockie, Chrissy Chris, Kirstie and the Narni Shakers, Freestyle, Biggie, Fozz, Garry K, Foxy, and Magika

Massive respects to Shaun, Leanne, Zoe and Collette, Escape, Helen, Lisa, Sara and Arwem, Andy Farmin, Craig, Mike, Jessi, The Smither Bro’s, Dodgee, Charlie and James, Katie, H100, Michael Syz, Francis, Loydy, Max, Nikki, Rolly, Money Penny and everyone else whose names I don't' know but faces I recognise.

Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'
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