Waveform 2007

published: Thu 20th Sep 2007

Friday 14th to Sunday 16th September 2007
Powerham Castle, Kenton, Exeter, Devon, England MAP
£65 for 3 days
last updated: Thu 30th Aug 2007

Waveform is a wonderful idea, it's an opportunity to see eco-friendly sustainable living and partying at first hand. With wind generators, solar panels, bio diesel and good old wood being used to create a simple and friendly festival.

For those not used to sorting their rubbish the various bins must have been a headache and for those unused to eco-friendly living I suspect this festival would not be for them - especially as the eco-showers took pride of place beside the main stage. But for those of you living an environmentally friendly lifestyle and quite happy to live with the latest eco-friendly technology and back to basics sustainable wholesome with in the main vegetarian food and organic alcohol, it comes highly recommended.

The whole site was full of colourful characters from aging hippies to glowing psy-fans, to dreaded crusties and new age pirates or fairies and lots of kids running about. Throughout the weekend the whole audience were peaceful and friendly and a wide range of ages, well I should have realised dance music has been around some time now.

There was a lot of incense being burnt to make it smell nice and lots of colourful site art, flags, kids stuff, seminars, workshops, massage, holistic healing and happy music to keep everyone smiling.

The organisers of this the first eco-sustainable dance festival are Family Gathering (the people who do the Sunrise Celebration festival) who clearly really know what they are doing and god they're good at putting on a festival.

The site was securely laid out with a central tree and then a wide circular space with stalls and stages around the circumference. Views of the river and plenty of trees, herds of deer and the castle as a back drop offering cheap entry for festival goers wanting to escape for a while.

Waveform 2007

Exits from the arena were on one side and led into a long drag of more mini stages, including a ‘come up and jam’ dome, the Chai Wallahs café and stage and lots of holistic healing and massage and conscious raising workshops areas. Here too were the god and goddess statues, night tee light mazes and the kids zone, further still was the gently sloping campsite and beside it live in vehicles and then the car park.

They planned everything out we'd want for the weekend, seven main stages offering a selection of dance styles, I'm too old to know my trance from my psy - if I like it I listen, that's it. Although ‘Feed Your Head’ sounds for those old enough to remember were there in abundance.

Friday was overcast and mizzly until night fall when the sky cleared to reveal a firmament full of stars and the festival started late (handy for us arriving after work). The highlight being Subsource a band sounding like RATM or Senser who really got us jumping. Unfortunately the crowd was rather small – with a lot of people remaining in the campsite but Banca De Gaia were a fitting headliner, and drew in people from the other tents.

Late night action in the Gaia Chill, Monstrosity and personal favourite Chai Wallahs kept things going to the small hours, with communal fires dotted about to chill out to and a few stalls staying open to see in dawn. Back at the campsite it was chilled and friendly, although visits to the compost toilets were interesting.

Considering the last 'beep beep' festival I went to was overloaded with chavs and zombied trancers and Ket heads and seemed to involve wall to wall advertising, I've tended to shy away from them since the glory days of the late Eighties and early nineties and yet here is Waveform to re-affirm my faith in dance festivals. Okay so the line up boasted some great old school names Banco De Gaia, Eat Static, System 7, and the fantastic Dream Machine.

Dream Machine

The latter were amazing, finally I got to see them this summer and Jon’s astonishing flute work, sorely missed from the latest incarnations of former band the Ozric Tentacles, was a delight for the aurals. Like the old days it was, mental stuff! Then most of them stayed on stage for ZubZub which had me dancing in the sun while throwing a giant frisbee about - lovely.

That morning Sunfish had opened the party celebrating their tenth anniversary in style. Guitar and vocal layered trance with samples it was a splendid wake up call, they were clearly enjoying the gig and so were we as they slowly teased the crowd up and dancing.

In fact this was the longest I’ve danced for sometime, with only a few breaks through Reality Grid, OOOD, the crackling Zetan Spore and then a glorious set by Eat Static. DJ sets inbetween had me wandering the site, particularly enjoying the Ninja Hippies who just never stopped.

Then there were lots of other little domes offering more choice, fantastic food including the delicious Furnace producing top notch veggie food, great visuals and lasers and a wonderful vibe - really great - mental salve for the mind it were.

The woman running the campsite who also brought her lovely cat was taking bookings for wake up calls with tea to your tent - not heard of that at a festie before. Wonderful idea, we managed to speak to her while she was walking about keeping an eye on the campsite and she said she hoped for more braziers to keep us warm next year. The campsite would be further improved by some underlighting for the surrounding trees, although most of the eco-energy was powering the lights at night so we could easily find our way to the compost toilets.

Eat Static on the Saturday were awesome and followed by some crazy hippy stuff which had me in stitches and was well received by those into their shakras etc - "switch off your mind and open your heart.... you are a wave....form!" It had me smiling and was the worst rhyming in some time - hippies ehh gotta love them. Crystal skulls and Stonehenge and all that - world peace started that night with 350 or so countries also joining in the synchronised dance - personally I'd have had Eat Static do the whole thing. The woman conducting the ceremony just didn’t connect with the bemused audience though she did look great in her mermaid costume.

Eat Static

I told the Eco Rangers to target the N2Ozers who were leaving the metal pellet things (whippets) and their balloons all over what was an otherwise clean site and adding this greenhouse gas pollutant to their bodies and the environment and that’s all I can gripe about over the whole weekend.

Managed to get up after minimum sleep on Sunday morning to catch Eat Static playing again in the Eartheart zone but have to say I was drawn to the all night partying of the Ninja Hippies across the central space of the site who were having a belter.

Sunday was hot so we chilled on sofas in the Eartheart café and listened to DJs on the Gaia Chill stage. The best of which was Mirror System, who I later discovered was Steve Hillage. We decamped to the main stage for Gaudi, Peaking Goddess Collective (I could still dance!) Adham Shaikh and guest DJ Ishq before being blown away by System 7. A school night meant we headed home before the well received, European World Trance masters Hilight Tribe hit the stage.

But my, what a terrific weekend end to the festival season. We had a lovely time camping, and our daughter really enjoyed it, which pleased me as other dance festivals often have an over-18 policy. Met some lovely new random people around our fire. Discovered some great music to listen to - like Sub Source and Sunfish (sun theme there?) - and really got into the hi energy of Ninja Hippies.

Loads of festie characters and familiar festie faces, even a cat, happy kids and a great music programme from full on Friday to blissed out Sunday - They really knew what would go with what and after some probs at the start and a late kick off they really got it organised. Sounds like it'll be even better next year.

Lovely weather too - result! Bit cold at night - good job I brought the fire. The best in old skool dance parties has been brought bang up to date in a lovely setting by the river. We have another festival we can be proud of right on our front door.

The local residents might not be too happy though, on Monday the local news reported some local people had been complaining about the noise all weekend. Strange, as there had been Council guys with meters out every night and from the campsite you could just hear Chai Wallahs, from inside a house I doubt you could hear anything. Shirley Wilks, from Lympstone, said: "This is the first time they have done something like this and I do hope it will be the last. We have had a mini Glastonbury across the road."

A mini Glastonbury, indeed, she summed it up perfectly - but hopefully not the last!
review by: Scott Williams

photos by: Karen Williams

Friday 14th to Sunday 16th September 2007
Powerham Castle, Kenton, Exeter, Devon, England MAP
£65 for 3 days
last updated: Thu 30th Aug 2007

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