We Love... Homelands


published: Thu 1st May 2003

Saturday 24th May 2003
The Bowl, Matterley Estate, nr. Winchester, Hants., England MAP
daily capacity: 50000
last updated: Mon 26th May 2003

"I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere, somewhere in a field in Hampshire" (Jarvis Cocker)
"so each year I go back trying to find it" (Neil)

Fifth time around, Homelands - re-branded as We Love Homelands, and never really just about those full-on pumping beats - evolves and diversifies yet again. The re-name reflects that the evolution of dance hasn't left Homelands behind.

Approaching the site you can't help but share in the excitement that purveys through the friendly and very diverse crowd. You crest the lip of the Matterley Bowl and below, nestled in the Hampshire countryside, the numerous arenas are spread before you. Bass floats on the breeze as you eagerly anticipate what you will do, who you will see and the friendly randoms you will inevitably meet.

There's something for everyone, and with a line-up as diverse as the congregation who actively make it what it is. Homelands includes live acts that usually grace the stages of the more traditional weekend festivals. In previous years some of these have included Ian Brown, Moby, Zero 7, The Beta Band and even Pulp.

This year's Live Arena is exclusively for live acts - with no DJs - and the bands finish before midnight.... the upside is that higher volume is hoped for from the DJ arenas thru the night ... but don't be late! Dance music is now the big ticket in live arenas across the globe, with acts capable of delivering shows as muscular and mesmerising as any rock act.

Groove Armada are at the top of that pile with a live reputation much higher than the number of discs sold would imply - just check the reviews on this website! The Streets - often wrongly labelled as the British Eminem (about as close as Casualty is to ER) - has carved a huge reputation in a very short time. Bristol drum & bass trio Kosheen have consolidated their reputation as fearsome talent on vinyl with superb live shows. And with Junior Senior, the legendary De La Soul, Un-Cut, Audio Bullys and Mint Royale this is a live line-up like no other.

Arena 1 could be called the "superstar DJ arena". The Chemical Brothers' vinyl collection gets a good seeing to, and Paul Oakenfold, Sasha, John Digweed and others do their thing; look out for the increasingly popular Plump DJ's.

For the house fans, Arena 2 offers a veritable selection box. Roger Sanchez, Pete Tong, Steve Lawler, Lottie, Cassius and others will be entertaining the masses right thru the night.

Now if so far it's all been a bit "fluffy", Arena 3 is hosted by Movement to bring you some of the best names in drum 'n' bass. Photek present "Do or Die" featuring Ty & Chiara; Krust and Die are sure to get things seriously dirty, and the list goes on and on: Bryan Gee, Fabio, Andy C, Hype, Zinc, etc, etc. You may not want to leave!

Eminem said 'nobody listens to techno'. With Jeff Mills, Dave Clarke, Slam, Umek and more in Arena 4, he'll be proved wrong.

With variety from the Soulwax surprise 2 Many DJ's, Erol Alkan, and the legendary Grandmaster Flash, as well as Dexter delivering a jaw-dropping set, the only word for Arena 5 is eclectic ... OK, the word is overused, but here it's appropriate. Go see!

A festival isn't a festival without at least some dancing in the sunshine. Here it's brought to you by the Radio 1 Outdoor Stage with its own arsenal of "superstar" DJ's: Fergie, Timo Maas, Dave Pierce, Judge Jules and Seb Fontaine.

And we haven't touched on the BBar and Strongbow rooms!

Whatever your tastes, whatever your background, Homelands succeeds in mixing people and genres as seamlessly as any one of it's DJ's can beat match. It's not for the faint hearted - it's a full eighteen hours - but when the sun dawns over the edge of the bowl you'll understand what a dance festival is all about. You will have been a part of the scene you looked down on all those hours ago, you will not begrudge a penny spent and you'll wish it would never end. But with a smile on your face and warmth in your heart you will leave, safe in the knowledge that you maximised the potential of your Bank Holiday Weekend.

Be kind to yourself, be kind to others. See you there!

We Love Homelands? Of course we do!

Robin Warren / Neil Greenway

Saturday 24th May 2003
The Bowl, Matterley Estate, nr. Winchester, Hants., England MAP
daily capacity: 50000
last updated: Mon 26th May 2003

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