Laurent Garnier climaxes BLOC for jubilant party people

BLOC Weekend 2011 review

published: Wed 16th Mar 2011

around the festival site (crowd)

Friday 11th to Sunday 13th March 2011
Butlins Resort, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5SH, England MAP
from £140 per person - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Mon 28th Feb 2011

Gentlemans Dub Club
A welcome break from DJ's and electronic music was the appearance of festival favourites Gentleman's Dub Club. They were the talk of the Chai Wallah tent at festivals a few years ago and tours with some British greats such as The Streets and Roots Manuva has now meant a big following finds them wherever they play. Their bass driven ska music explodes with an energy which is irresistible even to the most jaded and tired festival goer and on a Sunday eve it was the perfect tonic to get everyone back in the vibe. The showmanship of frontman Jonathon Scratchly could have even brought yesterday's duds King Midas Sound an appeal and his infectous energy had the crowd screaming for an encore which they obliged.

Venues were now packed with some crazy costumes now as the final day was a heroes and villans themed fancy dress party and many people had really gone to town on their outfits. Robots, super heroes, aliens, ghostbusters, even a human bong (?) could be found gyrating together is in ridiculous and sweaty syncopation to the likes of Iration Steppas, Toddla T, Matthew Dear, and Redlight.

The climax of the weekend was the great Frenchman Laurent Garnier's 4 hour set. He promised an innovative set combining his much loved techno with progressive keyboard solos from Benjamin Rippert and Stephane 'Scan X' Dri, techno artist. This was definitely a live act, it suffered the odd mistake from Rippert and Garnier's mixing was not always as dynamic as I have seen in the past but it felt innovative and forward thinking in the same way that Fluke's progressive house classic 'Slid' tore onto the scene when Renaissance released their first compilation. The packed house was as responsive as they had been all weekend as Garnier expertly navigated his set bringing the close of party as he has done at countless clubs and festivals before. The jubilant party people could not have asked for more and as they wearily left the arena they had surely had their moneys worth.

Laurent Garnier
As with any good party or festival it was all about setting the mood and I'm not sure how or why such a high percentage of the festival goers were from overseas but it made the vibe unique. I also contemplated why the festival had such an old school friendly feel and I think in part it could have been that mobile phone reception on most networks was at best sporadic. It meant people got lost, stepped outside their comfort zone and talked to strangers more, made new friends just like the pre-mobile festival days. The black hole of mobile reception that is Butlins Minehead could well be the answer to that old clubbing atmosphere that I have been missing all these years.

Bloc Weekender's fifth anniversary was undoubtedly a success. It has been a while since I have heard so many people marvel at the friendliness of a festival or how many new friends they met when they lost their own. True there was some dire music as well as some amazing performances but I can't imagine that many of the 5,000 attendees didn't leave on the Monday morning without a rueful look over there shoulder and a head full of classic moments shared and happy memories. Happy Birthday Bloc!
review by: Richard Potter

photos by: Matt Pufahl

Friday 11th to Sunday 13th March 2011
Butlins Resort, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5SH, England MAP
from £140 per person - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Mon 28th Feb 2011


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