The line-up promised more than I had ever felt was possible. Anyone who deserves to go under the title of a 'Progressive House DJ' was due to play in one tent, on one day. Had angels come down to earth and taken myself and many others to a new world where house music actually means something, where wobbly bass lines make your hairs stand on end and where the likely-hood of hearing a chant of "Oi-Oi" is as likely as winning the lottery twice in two weeks? It seems that Gatecrasher were planning on transforming Turweston Park, Oxfordshire into the promised land, a land ruled over by dance music and where as 'Faithless' put it, "God is a DJ".
Gatecrasher certainly seemed to have some connection with the higher orders, as the gods were gracious enough to bless them with the hottest day of the year and prevent a re-run of the mud fest that was 'Homelands'. This made for a real festival atmosphere as 25,000 clubbers made their way through the gates and danced in the open air, t-shirts tied round their waists and a grin on their faces matched only by a child at Christmas. For the crasher-kids it seemed that Christmas had actually come early and out came all their toys to compliment their neon attire and obligatory glow-sticks.
By 7.45 however, things got a lot more serious. It was England verses Germany on the big screen and more importantly, it was Craig Richards and Lee Burridge playing back-to-back in the Progressive Arena. Despite my love of football, there was no way that I was going to miss this opportunity to see the boys from 'Tyrant' playing together. My enthusiasm was rewarded by a collection of the most amazing chunky, funky, bass driven grooves. Craig Richards set the pace with quality tech house but Lee Burridge's break-beat influence soon took control. The tracks got deeper, darker and nastier, with Burridge dropping a new 'breaks' re-mix of Sasha's legendary 'Expander'. 57 minutes into the England match some footy fan came in and told me that Shearer had scored. My excitement came a few minutes later however, as Burridge and Richards began to show why they will soon become the new stars of the clubbing constellation, bringing in cutting-edge bass driven progressive house that was simply out of this world.
Anthony Pappa finally arrived, after being delayed at the airport, and took over from the 'Tyrant' boys. His trance influenced, groovy house seemed to blend in effortlessly as he held the crowd with his precision control of the one's and two's.
Jimmy Van Mallegham of 'Twilo' fame played next. His set was filled with tracks that could only be described as good. He was playing a warm up set of quality grooves, but the crowd needed a bit more stimulation. The last few tracks of his set proved however, that he is more than capable of rocking it.
After a brief excursion to the 'Metalheadz' arena we returned for the phenomenon that is Dave Seaman. His entrance in the no. 1 England goalkeeper's shirt mirrored how many clubbers feel; that "There's only one David Seaman, one David Seaman etc .". This man compliments any line-up. However, by placing him early on in the proceedings he was also forced to play more of a warm-up set and thus, he was unable to un-leash fully his massive ability which he regularly proves by playing the final set at clubs such as Renaissance. His often lyric based progressive trance tunes went down well however and the temperature inside the tent soon increased as more clubbers arrived.
Next on the decks was Sander Kleinenberg, a Dutchman making his British festival debut and who will no doubt be a household name by the end of the year. His hard and driving progressive style had enough intricate and innovative sounds to keep the crowd interested.
He was to build it up even further before John Digweed, the man behind Bedrock was to step forward and take his place. He was to start a marathon progression all the way through till 6am including 3hours of back-to-back mixing with the man-like Sasha. His deep progressive house got the crowd rocking and many were soon locked into Digweed's unmistakable beat. Sasha joined him at around 3 o'clock and he added his unique style to an already impressive set. Both were obviously having fun, competing over who could get the best reaction, but neither failing to find a better tune than the last. As the music darker and harder, the sun began to shine again on Turweston Park, and at the end of their set, no one wanted to leave. Eventually, everyone made their way back to the cars or to the coaches and talked of the promise of seeing these two at Space in the summer. It is something that I won't be missing, that is for certain
latest on this festival
festival home page
and planning major UK and international events
line-ups & rumours