Hardcore Til I Die
Event 23
The Summer Gathering 2007
Custard Factory
Birmingham

After staging their colossal event in Spain HTID returned back to England and presented Event 23 ‘The summer gathering 2007’, which was also the official HTID in the sun 2007 reunion party. The event was originally scheduled to be held at Air but was shifted a few weeks before hand across the road to the Custard factory complex instead.

Tonight saw the return of the outdoor stage but on a bigger scale as the Custard factory’s pool was emptied, and addition to this the Rojac warehouse arena was used alongside the Medicine bar and Kitchen arena’s making full use of this complex in Birmingham.

The outdoor stage was a showcase of different styles of hardcore music from upfront hardcore to oldskool to hardstyle/ gabba and jungle / drum and bass all thrown into the mix

We arrived in Digbeth shortly after 10 and located the main entrance for the Custard factory, there was a separate ticket booth located up the road to avoid congestion at the main gate. The outdoor complex was turned into a small nocturnal village with various stalls dotted outside ranging from an outdoor bar, full merchandise and food stalls.

Headed to the outdoor arena but with the sheer volume of people waiting to get into this arena there was a large queue as it was fast approaching the kick off set, we decided to venture to the Rojac warehouse instead. The kick off set was originally planned in the outdoor Lake arena but this was moved to the Rojac warehouse instead as there was a few alterations made throughout the evening.

The Rojac warehouse was amazing this arena is also named the hidden factory and now it’s understandable why, this is one of Birmingham’s best kept secrets as it rarely used unlike the custard factory itself. The arena was literarily a warehouse like the old raving days, it also reminded so much like the old Sanctuary (RIP) main arena in Milton Keynes in the way it was laid out.

The production inside here was phenomenal, at the front of the arena was a large stage with numerous video screens dotted behind the DJ box. There was plenty of inflatable objects dotted above the ceiling with various banners that people will remember from LLoret de Mar.

The heat was very intense inside the warehouse and it really hit you hard inside here especially as it was a very warm night. Re-Con and Whizzkid made sure thing got kicked off with a very upfront set as Re-Con opened the set with ‘Sunshine’ remix he carried onto playing ‘Magic Touch’ and ‘Life force Generator Remixes’.

Whizzkid was working hard on the stage and battled though the intense heat hyping up the crowd with his lyrics. Re-Con dropped a remix of the classic Force and Styles track ‘Paradise and Dreams’ which features both Jenna and Junior on the vocals, this sent the crowd into a frenzy! Re-Con played ‘Pefrect Dreams (Sweetheat)’, ‘Sure feels good’, ‘Only you’ and ‘Piece of heaven’ for the remainder of his set.

Next up was the Quosh showcase featuring DJ’s Sy and Unknown alongside MC Storm. Really enjoyed this set from the Quosh duo as there was plenty of new upfront material being played alongside a number crowd favourites. Sy and Unknown dropped ‘I see the light’, ‘Your shining’ and ‘Be with you’.

Throughout the set Sy and Unknown were having a scratching battle with MC Storm, Storm really worked hard throughout the set and worked through the intense heat. The ravers safety is paramount to Storm, he ensued the ravers where clued up about drinking plenty of water as the heat was rapidly rising in this arena as he was feeling the effects himself removing his t-shirt which got a number of the ladies quite excited!

Sy and Unknown carried onto play ‘Free your mind’, ‘Slide away’, ‘Caught up in your love’ and ‘Set your free’. Storm continued to battle through the heat but looked much relived when Sy and Unknown played ‘If I were you’ remix at the end of their set.

Vibes and Livelee where on next and played an upfront set but the heat was starting to take it toll in here so we decided to retreat to the outdoor arena. The outdoor arena was small bustling nocturnal village with plenty ravers out here mingling during the warm summers night. I managed to persuade a number of my friends to join me on one of the free funfair rides available which was the perfect way to cool down.

Headed to the Lake arena which was where the outdoor stage was located, there was no marquee covering the emptied pool as tonight was sweltering hot. HTID managed to have escaped some of the bad weather that has plagued many of the numerous festivals this summer.

At the end of the pool was the stage main which was a magnificent site, it was covered in numerous lights and strobes which lit up the pool and the summers sky. There was a booming sound system which featured the EV-LAV system provided by Clearsound. There was various stacks and sub located at the front of the pool which rumbled through the crowd. Kevin Energy was finishing up in here and up next was one of the sets I was looking forward to featuring the oldskool legends Sy and MC Scratchmaster techno.

MC Scratchmaster techno is a legend in his own right known for his classics set at Obsession in the early 90’s with his infamous vocal scratch an inspiration to many of today’s MC’s in the rave scene.

Sy was playing a classic 92-93 Obsession set giving he crowd a history lesson as he took them on a journey back to hardcore’s early roots. There was plenty of classics from the golden raving era as Sy starting off the set with the infamous ‘Raving I’m raving’ to get the crowd singing. He moved onto ‘I feel the heat’, ‘Out of space’, ‘Sounds of the underground and ‘Uptempo’

Scratchmaster Techno was impressive as this was the very first time I’ve seen him live and was impressed, he definitely lived up to my expectations. Scratchmaster Techno performed many of his trademark vocal scratches and had some classics rhymes along with a number of new ones to get the crowd rocking. MC Storm was lurking in the shadows watching his mentor. Sy continued his hardcore history lesson and played ‘The Slammer’, Tango & Ratty’s ‘Final Conflict’ for the remainder of the set before finishing up with ‘In effect’.

Following on from Sy’s history lesson in hardcore stepped up the King of the beats Mickey Finn as he performed a classic jungle jump up set. Originally billed was MC GQ but was replaced by MC Fearless which I felt was a better move for the hardcore crowd.

Mickey opened his set with the raga jungle classic ‘Fire’ and proceeded to play ‘Ready or not’, ‘P-Funk era’, ‘Warhead’, ‘Degrees’ and ‘Turbulence’, a classic selection which got the crowd jumping. Fearless was tremendous on hyping up the crowd which he does best rocking the stage with his infectious lyrics, which was welcomed and recited by the hardcore crew.

Fearless was joined by Birmingham’s very own MC Bassman was quite interesting to see the response that he would receive form the hardcore crowd as he was getting dirty and nasty with his lyrics. When Bassman came on Mickey dropped ‘Bass 2 Dark’ which features Bassman on the vocals and carried onto playing the infamous ‘Pulp fiction’ and ‘Sound in motion’ before closing the proceedings with his VIP remix of The Luniz ‘ I got 5 on it’

After the double history lesson we decided to retreat to the nocturnal village outside to catch our breath back for a few moments before heading back to the Rojac warehouse. Dougal was on in here with MC Storm and was playing an upfront vocal set with plenty of euphoric tunes. Dougal was dropping the likes of ‘Faith’ remix, ‘ Hold me close tonight’, ‘The tunnel’ and ‘Sunshine’ remix. This kept the ravers singing into the early hours of the morning.

Headed back to the Lake arena and Marc Smith was finishing up, following on from him was a surprise set featuring the Random Concept duo of Garry K and MC Presha who were playing an upfront drum and bass set. Garry littered the set with plenty of jump up favourites dropping the likes of ‘Mr Happy’, ‘Where’s my money?’, ‘Selector’ and ‘Busted’. Presha kept the vibe going into the early hours of morning and was joined briefly by Scratchmaster Techno, unfortunately he outdoor stage was closed earlier than advertised, finishing at 5.30.

Well what a great night from the HTID team and how lucky they where in getting great weather over the night! I really enjoyed tonight especially the outdoor stage showcasing not only hardcore but a variety of styles across the night.

Tonight’s production was breath taking especially inside the Rojac warehouse a very impressive lighting and laser system also the outdoor stage was remarkable once again. Just like last year with the added sound system that was rocking through till the end of the night. Especially as there was no marquee covering the Custard factory there was some addition speak stacks, it made it that extra special to be raving under the stars on a warm mid-summers night!

The atmosphere from the ravers was electric as many of the party people had travelled from all over the UK, as tonight was the HTID in the sun re-union. There ravers from all over the UK in attendance as I met people who travelled from Southampton and as far as Scotland over the night. Many of the ravers were back with the friends they had made during the 7 days of madness in Spain. Tonight they were reunited once again for a night of hardcore madness in Birmingham.

The artists performing tonight did a grand job I felt there were a number of sets that I enjoyed tonight but in particular it was Mickey Finn and Fearless that I enjoyed the most. I do think that Fearless was more suited to the hardcore crowd as he is the hype master from the drum and bass world and did a fantastic job. With HTID being a hardcore rave the ravers really enjoyed Mickey Finn’s jump up selection as the pool was throughout his 60 minute set!

But overall it was a great night and an excellent move from Air to Custard Factory, as last year the Hardcore Gathering was ram jammed with hardly any space to move. HTID really needed to find a larger venue as tonight was another sell out and with all previous events at Air. Tonight was quite a special event with an outdoor stage and re-union. HTID really needed a larger venue as tonight there was around 4,000 people in attendance!!

Massive Shouts to Hixxy Joe, Mark and Chris Lambert, Presha, Spruce, Garry K, Ripper and all the HTID crew, Storm, Fearless, Vibes and Livelee, Whizzkid, Knight, Sy, Unknown, Re-Con, Mickey Finn and Bassman, Scratchmaster Techno MC, Druid, Sharkey, Marc Smith, Daren Styles, Caspar, Chit Chat, Twista, Scorpio, Tony Res, H-100, Squidgy B, Ribbz, D-Ice, The Doctor, Cruze, MC Energy and Stacie, Dave Ecksta-C, Kaylene and Uplift

Big Respects to Shaun, Lozzy, Lisa-Jo and Phill, Sallie, Ric Reaction, Danny Smithers, Hanna, Foggy, Joe, Kate, Maggie and the Burton Crew, Smithy, Boo, Sanjay, Jenny, Kirri, Joe from Broken Minds, Emma and Sarah Mark Mervin, Lucy and Andy Immz, Lee UHF, Emma, Sharl, Damo, Izzy, Mark and Rave the Dave, Emma, Wookie (Happy Birthday)and Jen, Mad Maz, Ortie, Keyes, Ben X-Treme, Gillian, Gareth, Andy, Timmy and Jamie from Kent, Savage, Upfront, Chris Mental, Emma, Taha, and Mark Pleasure Dome, Shazza (Happy Birthday) and Dave (Congratulations)Rob JPS, Charl, Stacie, Charlie and James, Sarah Jane, Becky and Abbey, Leanne, John Sketchy, Mark SFX, Sippy, Wilffe, Clodhopper and Roxie, Amanda, Sammie, Andy from Birkenhead, Astraboy, Gsus, Ush.net and DSI crew, and everyone else whose names I don't' know but faces I recognize.

Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'
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