Welcome to the monthly rave review for May 2017. Featuring WE ARE FSTVL, An Evening With, Oculus, Subliminal Audio and Rave On Avon.
WE ARE FSTVL ★
We Are FSTVL was undoubtedly the biggest event within my calendar month of raving, and you cannot argue with this at all when you have the finest DJs, producers and record label owners within the underground music scene from every point of the globe coming together to provide the very best sounds in house and techno.
Each year this festival seems to become bigger and better – whether it’s from the line up with additions including techno fans favourite Carl Cox, Music On main man Marco Carola or the serious levels of effort and time injected into the production – after waiting a year for it all to take place, it was time to rave at We Are FSTVL again. In contrast to last year and others before it – the festival planners and designers completely transformed the layout of Damyns Hall Aerodrome, and I think most of you will agree that with the combination of the music and how these stages were assembled with incredible levels of production, and it quite simply took my breath away.
In particular Terminal 1 on the Sunday was something truly special to behold as can be seen below with a spectacular piece of photography, and really encapsulates what Jamie Jones’s Paradise brand has become with it’s iconic ‘Paradise’ logo as the masterpiece in the centre. Through an intense amount of graft and determination over the last few years they possess a real unique and quirky concept within the scene, and on the day they were boasting not just their famous residents wAFF, Patrick Topping, Richy Ahmed and Jamie himself, but also legends including Ricardo Villalobos as special guest, Skream and Dubfire to name but a few on what was one of the most unreal line ups for this festival.
This year I was both humbled and proud to be asked to become a part of not just We Are FSTVL but specifically for my good friends Morning Gloryville on their very own stage. It is always a pleasure starting an early morning raving into the day, and especially when it is on stage with this crew of friendly, like minded individuals. It was also a real pleasure to see various up and coming underground music brands being given a chance by the organisers of WE ARE FSTVL to showcase their exciting concepts, and also for up and coming DJs and producers to show the vast masses of people passing through what they had to offer. I feel that supporting the smaller promoters and brands is still of great importance, as supporting local from their roots enables them to nurture and hopefully become something great. My good friends Banjax who are a Bristol based brand really took their chance with this opportunity and I was proud of them for smashing it in the space that they were presented with!
Here’s a video I got whilst raving in Terminal 3:
Overall my favourite stages from this years instalment of We Are Fstvl were: Terminals 1 & 3, the Aerodome and the Urban Forest. Terminal 1 for its towering structure that really set the scene and absorbed so many bodies into it’s cocoon, Terminal 3 for its gritty warehouse and strong techno vibe that was so well strung together; The Aerodome for being open-air and a having a particularly cool circular stage, and finally the Urban Forest for an intimate vibe and a real energetic atmosphere – with the popular brand Solid Grooves setting a firm foothold on the weekend with residents like PAWSA impressing massively.
We Are FSTVL was definitely the place to be during May’s bank holiday, even with so many other events on a smaller scale dotted far and wide around the UK. But if one thing is for certain, it is that I shall be making a return in 2018. Whilst I was there I also met up with fellow raver Birdman and went for a dance at the Circoloco Stage:
Big shout out to We Are FSTVL for posting this picture of me too:
An Evening With Jackmaster and Jasper James @ The Marble Factory
I started the month back at the local warehouse: The Marble Factory (part of the well known Motion venue). ‘An Evening With’ were hosting the rave which is one of my favourites in Bristol’s underground music scene, as they never disappoint whenever they play host. Drawing comparisons to We Are FSTVL but on an obviously much lesser scale, they always put on a top quality event and you always tend to feel that when you’re departing after a great experience at one of their nights you can return expecting the same, if not better.
When an events title begins with ‘An Evening With’ is concluded by not just the legendary mixing wizard Jackmaster, but also his fellow Scotsman and up and coming star Jasper James – you know full well it is going to be a night to remember. Jackmaster has been around for quite some years now and deservedly landed the number 2 spot in Resident Advisor’s top 100 DJ poll of 2016, and will always be regarded as so unpredictable in regards to what he is going to play – whether it’s house, disco or techno. Jasper on the other hand has seen a great surge in his popularity recently, after being deservedly recognised by many for his consistency during his residency for the renowned venue Phonox in London, and has since gone on to lay it down at spots from the Rainbow Venues in Birmingham to DC-10 in Ibiza.
Oculus Part 3 @ Monastery
On Friday May 12th I travelled over to Birmingham to support my good friend Callum Hughes for the third instalment of his Oculus events, which is an underground house and tech night that showcases talented local DJs and producers that are trying to break through. What is nice about this event is that it is also non-profitable, and donates all profits to a different charity every time.
I attended part 2 and I thoroughly enjoyed myself there when it was held at Tunnel Club, and I knew full well that part 3 was bound to be even more successful and better all round with it being at held at the Monastery; somewhere I have had the privilege of raving previously as it also home to the legendary brand VOID Digbeth.
Overall 300 people attended the event and there was a really positive vibe about the place, with so many new faces to meet and get to know, plus all of the DJs played some incredible music, and headliner Josh Gregg’s 2 hour set was a real musical journey and gave him the opportunity to show everyone how much the sacrifices he had made were paying off from his behind the scenes work on his own productions.
Most importantly though I was pleased to here that after all costs were covered £650 was donated towards food and supplies for the homeless in Birmingham city centre, and the next main event from them is in October as they celebrate their first birthday. I cannot say anymore but I do know their is a big headliner on the cards for this one, so keep your eyes peeled!
Subliminal Audio @ Blue Mountain
Moving on from the fun I had in Digbeth for Oculus Part 3, I was making my return on the quality Blue Mountain rooftop terrace, and this time it was for Subliminal Audio who were providing the rave with highly charged drum & bass. When I first immersed myself into the world of raving drum & bass was a big passion of mine in the early days, and something I still get excited about attending as a brief break from the polar opposite sounds of house and techno. The rooftop at Blue Mountain consistently achieves it aim of moulding such a great environment to dance in and allowing you to properly embrace the music, and this place is definitely one of my favourite venues in my beloved Bristol.
Rave On Avon @ Various Venues
Rave On Avon is an annual event that occurs across multiple venues in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol, and boasts many talented individuals that Bristol beholds from various musical backgrounds and genres. This is something I enjoy as a change and personally feel is of great importance in terms of exploring and tasting new genres and meeting people from different walks of life.
Rave On Avon commences in the day time with numerous clubs flinging their doors open for the eager ravers, and then the rest of the venues initiate the continuing antics later on in the night time. It was as expected really good this year, as it has been year after year, and there was a nice additional surprise twist at the event as they provided a ‘register to vote’ stall for the upcoming election.
Mr Whompy were hosting the day time stage at The Full Moon venue:
Authors: Bradley Gunn, Callum Hughes (editor)