Slammin Vinyl presents:
Westfest 2006
The Royal Bath and West Showground
Shepton Mallet
Somerset
Saturday 29th October 2005

Slammin Vinyl returned back to the all mighty Royal Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet to present ‘Westfest 2006’. Westfest is now in its 3rd year collaborating alongside 7 various promoters showcasing the best in Drum and Bass, Hardcore, Hard Dance / Trance and Oldskool to cater for a variety of peoples tastes with a bit of everything for everyone. Once again Hardcore Heaven hosted their annual Award Ceremony which is now in its 4th year. Like last year the main area was a showcase with various genres of dance music so tonight was an event definitely not to be missed!

For those who don’t know The Royal Bath and West Showground in Shepton Mallet is embroiled in rave history having been already used to stage historic events from the likes of Fantazia, Dreamscape and now Slammin Vinyl.

After last years Westfest event, Slammin Vinyl took note of some of the criticism they had received and improved this year’s event by implementing an additional arena, which should hopefully eliminate some of the arena swapping and congestion.

Leaving Birmingham we arrived in Shepton Mallet shortly after 10pm via the motorway and various winding country lanes in the South West of England. Finding The Royal Bath and West Showground wasn’t to difficult as the venue was clearly signposted once leaving the motorway. There was quite a bit of traffic leading into the venues car park which can be expected at a colossal event like this, reminding me of Global Gathering.

Heading down to the car park there was a large queue with plenty of ravers who were all congregating down the sides, waiting patiently to get in. around the outdoor entrance their was a large security presence here and the security team were tooled up looking like the SAS with full body jackets so there was messing around here tonight!

Once through the main gates we were led to the massive search tent, after a thorough search from the security team we were finally outdoors and in the dance complex.

It was starting to rain so we quickly headed for cover and went in the direction of the main warehouse. Inside here there was a massive corridor which divided the 3 main arenas.

Easily located the 1Nation drum and bass arena and it was very busy in here, with not much room to move in here. DJ Krust was on but with the heat starting to take its toll I decided to find the Hardcore Heaven arena. The hardcore arena was next door and was a complete mirror to the 1Nation arena, so there shouldn’t be many complaints on who got the biggest arena between the two.

DJ Unknown of Quosh records was on with MC Storm, there was a large stage at the front of the arena with the DJ box located to the back of it. Unknown was showcasing plenty of material off the Quosh label with tracks like ‘See the light’, ‘Product of a devil’, and ‘Passion’ remix.

Storm was hyping up the crowd on this stage and with the heat rising Storm decided to mc topless off for the remainder of Unknown’s set, causing some excitement with the ladies in the crowd!

The lighting and production was good inside here though there was quite a lot of heat and it didn’t really help as this arena is used as a cowshed so you can guess what the smell was like.

After finally giving in to the heat and smell, I headed straight for Main Stage. The Main stage arena was hosting a variety of dance music styles and once again I was very impressed. The arena is a 5,000 capacity arena and was rammed in all directions, the sheer size and volume was unbelievable filled with ravers dancing away, this sight was spectacular!

The production was totally out of this world, a technological showcase! At the front of the arena was the main stage similar to what you’d find at a concert with 3 massive large LCD screens which had various visuals being displayed along with video footage of the DJ’s playing along with a huge lighting rig. Either side of the stage stood tall a pair of giant speaker stacks, dotted around the ceiling was various inflatables.

It looked like Andy C was running late though Skibadee was already here and DJ Fuze of Rebirth fame stepped in on the main stage. With Skibadee already here I was suspecting that he was going to be swapping sets with GQ as Skibadee was originally booked for DJ Hype’s set later on.

DJ Fuze played TC’s ‘Bounce’ to this enormous crowd but his moment was cut short as Andy C finally arrived. Andy C and Skibadee tore down the roof, Andy was playing plenty of crowd favourites with current dance floor slammers such as ‘Game Over’, ‘Bloodsugar, ‘Back to your roots’ remix and of course ‘Bounce’.

Andy C was very impressive on the decks using the mixer to its full advantage and teasing in numerous tracks with the likes of ‘Nosher’, ‘Outer space’ and ‘True romance’.

Skibadee hyped up the crowd with his double timing mcing and lyrics that plenty of the drum and bass massive were enjoying, Skibadee was getting plenty of participation from the crowd. Andy finally finished his set with ‘Rockstar’ and teased in the timeless classic ‘Renegade snares’

Following on from Andy C was the turn of the True Playa and oldskool legend DJ Hype. Pendulum was meant to be playing at this time but Hype was here early and played instead. Hype and Skibadee was a good combo but it looked like a no show from GQ which was kind of disappointing

Hype teared down this massive arena with numerous dubplates along with crowd rumblers with the likes of ‘Holla’ from Dillinja, ‘Jamrock’ and, ‘Warhead’ remixes.
Skibadee continued to MC for Hype, though half way through this set Skibadee called for the paramedics as someone unfortunately collapsed near the front of the dance floor, Paramedics were quick on the scene and people made plenty of space for the person as they were carried out of the venue.

At this point I decided to have a wander around the outdoor complex, outside was various fun fair rides on offer and people milling around locating their friends. There was a massive merchandise stall from Slammin Vinyl selling various bit and pieces including cut down tape packs from previous event and very reasonable prices.

Tonight Slammin were implementing a token system being used at the bar with each token costing a pound each. Located one of the various bars at the back of the main arena and it was 4 tokens for a beer and 3 tokens for a soft drink.

Hype was still on as I returned and Hype played ‘Crush’ and ‘Everyday’ for the remainder of his set, next up was a surprise set from DJ Friction with MC Eksman as it looked like these two were replacing Pendulum.

What an awesome set from these two from the word go! The Energy from Friction’s mixing and Eksman’s mcing definitely complimented this set, a great DJ and MC partnership in the making.

Friction was showcasing plenty of tracks from his forthcoming mix album ‘Next Level 2’, with tracks like ‘Game over’, ‘Where’s my money?’, ‘Bounce’ and ‘Who’. Eksman’s mcing was immense with the crowd reciting his lyrics and the response was unbelievable, hearing the crowd recite his lyrics especially his ‘Semi automatic’ lyric! His presence on this stage was second to non mcing to a crowd of 5,000 ravers he just seemed like a natural!

Friction continued to play, ‘Represent’ remix ‘Slam’, ‘Aint too loud’, before finally finishing off with ‘Rockstar’. After 3 hours of drum and bass it was time to switch over as the Hardcore fraternity took over. With the switch over the faces in the crowd definitely changed but the 5,000 capacity arena still remained extremely busy.

Essential Platinum’s DJ’s Dougal and Gammer took the decks with MC Storm on mic duty. Dougal and Gammer were playing plenty of their own material alongside plenty of crowd favourites.

Dougal is known for his known for his vocal selection as he dropped the likes of ‘My direction’, ‘24-7’, and ‘Still the one’ remixes. Storm was amazing on this stage hyping up the crowd as he does naturally sending the ravers into a frenzy.

Storm was joined by Essential Platinum’s vocalist Jenna, Jenna sang live a number of tracks as she gave the ravers a live performance of ‘All the tears I cried’, ‘When I close my eyes’ before finishing off this Essential Platinum showcase with ‘Through the darkness’.

Following on from the Essential Platinum showcase it was the turn of the Raver Baby trio of Hixxy, Darren Styles and Re-Con as they played a special back to back with Whizzkid MC. Tonight was also the Hardcore Heaven awards and MC Storm made the first set of presentations in the main arena, before the Raver Baby trio took over.

Darren Styles collected not only Best Producer but also best DJ and Best Track for ‘Save me’. A very overwhelmed Darren Styles collected his awards and opened the set with a live PA with the Award winning track of 2005, ‘Save me’.

Hixxy got the set underway with Whizzkid MC, Whizzkid MC definitely made the stage his own. The ravers were enjoying his mcing hyping up the crowd into a mad hysteria with his lyrics whilst interacting with the crowd who were reciting his rhymes with him.

The Raver Baby collective were dropping plenty of their own tracks including some new tunage too. Playing the likes off ‘Love Comes’, ‘Give me a reason’ and a remix of the oldskool Hectic classic from Ramos and Supreme ‘Gotta Believe’.

Midway through the set Storm presented a further set of awards which Hixxy collected with Raver Baby winning Best Record Label, Best compilation awarded to Bonkers and finally Hixxy receiving outstanding achievement award for 2006.

Re-Con played his remix of a classic drum and bass favourite ‘Age of empires’ which samples the classic Egyptian Empire ‘The horn track’ spine tingling stuff! Re-Con carried on playing ‘Report to the bassline’ and ‘Never too late’, finally the Raver Baby crew finished up with ‘Tantric’

Final 60 minutes came from Sy and Storm, at the beginning of this set MC Storm was awarded best MC of 2006, 4 years in a row! After a heartfelt speech and dedicating the award to his daughter Storm got the set undergo with Sy.

Sy and Storm rocked the finally 60 minutes with Sy playing ‘Make it bounce’, ‘Passion’ and ’Forever’, remixes. Storm’s mcing was unbelievable proving why he won the best mc award for the fourth time. Storm was showcasing his new lyrics along with old for the crowd, whilst hyping up the crowd running from left to right on the stage.

Sy and Storm in trademark form were having scratch battles throughout the set with Storm’s vocal scratch complimenting Sy scratching on the decks. Quosh’s very own vocalist Lou Lou made a surprise appearance and joined MC Storm on stage to give a live performance of ‘Caught up in your love’.

Sy rounded up the final 15minutes with ‘See the light’, ’Inspiration’ and finally closed the night with ‘Free your mind’. The house lights lit up the main arena and it was time to go home. Unfortunately someone’s car got stuck in a ditch in the car park and we had to endure a two hour wait whilst this was resolved.

Well it’s been 12 months since the last Westfest event at the infamous The Royal Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet and it was well worth the wait! Main qualm of the night was the heat in both the Hardcore Heaven and 1Nation arena’s as it was just too hot and with them both being used as a cattle shed during the day, the smell wasn’t too desirable especially under this heat.

The event itself was a great improvement on last years, as like last years the main arena was playing host to various genres of music. But this year the music styles were constant for 3 hours before switching, so not much arena swapping every hour and less congestion in the main halls between arenas.

Set of the night definitely has to be Friction and Eksman rocking the main stage once again like last year with Friction’s tune selection and mixing was spot on! Both the Raver Baby showcase and Essential Platinum sets were very impressive too!

What I love about this venue is the sheer size and magnitude of the main arena it’s just massive! There are not many venues which are able to host 5,000 ravers in one arena. The view is awesome seeing an ocean of ravers dancing the night away, it’s just spectacular, one of the main reason that Westfest is probably the highlight of any ravers year.

Massive shouts to Grant, Michael and the Slammin Team on a great night, Storm (Big up your status), Whizzkid, Eksman, Sy, Styles (Congratulations), Hixxy, Re-Con, Friction, Andy C, Dougal, Unknown, Lou Lou, Gammer, Hype, Skibadee, Foxy, Knighty, Wotsee, Smiley, Odyssey, Marc Smith, Nicky BM, G Spencer, Joey Riot, Caspar, Ben, Katie, Tori, Sam and the Up the Cut crew, IC3, Mampi Swift, D-Ice, Bianca, Charlotte, Charlie and Vicki (Narni Crew), Flyin and Alison.

Big Respects to Lisa Jo, Phil, Lisa, Arwen, Helen, Mike, Andy Legs, Mat KoR, Sallie, Brian BK, Sean, Hatty, Damo, Caddy, Kelly, Kate, Zara and the Lowesoft Girls, Caddy, Juicy, Scott Womble and the Shrewsbury crew, Kat and Chelsea, Jamie and Carasel, Brian BK and Sean, Andy from Birkenhead, Annabelle, Foggy, Compulsion, Sketchy, Clodhopper, Jenny from Bornhardore, Ciarra, Becky, Emma, Chris Mental, Pleasuredome Mark and Tessie, Hana, Gsus, Tess, Jaquie, Steph, Obie, Staci and Rob, Andy Sykee, James and Charlie and to everyone else whose names I don't' know but faces I recognise.

Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'
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