The Glade festival was first started in 2004 by four chaps who’d previously been involved in putting on festivals all over the world, including the incredible breaks and techno Glade stage at Glastonbury music festival. Glade was a sponsorship-free space, a colourful environment that took all the paths to let you express yourself in amongst some of the greatest electronica music on Earth. Having quickly established themselves as one of the UK’s premier events, it was unfortunately cancelled last year, only for it to be bouncing back again this year in 2011, stripped back to its shiny grass roots. They’ve even got a shiny, brand new website: http://gladefestival.net. The line-up has yet to be announced for this amazing three day party but the stages are set.
The brilliant Origin stage, who will thumping the beats under the flag of air, and is one of the rightful homes of psy-trance in the UK; with a new stage, new décor, and sound from Funktion One and, as ever, engineered by Tony Andrews himself. Of course the Glade stage is back, this year the home of fire, with a wonderland of sizzling music, sound, visuals, performance and acrobatics. The Overkill stage is also back, first born at Glade, this is the place for bass and beats; music from the downright ridiculous cusp of electronic creativity. There will also be the Lewis Carolesque Rabbit Hole, with house, techno, breaks and more; the legendary In Spiral with groovy nights, ambient mornings and dubby days; and not too mention Nexus, Nanosystems and Wellbeings. Tickets are selling out fast but you can still grab some from here. Still not sure? Here’s my review, which I did for Fallyrag, the arts and culture magazine, in 2009:
A Trip through Glade
The campervan jolts and flicks your morning stare back inside the festival vessel. You’re surrounded by an alchemical-crazed festival crew; the alternative culture, wrapped up in a space-shuttle with a haze of pre-emancipation. You don’t know what the time is. You don’t care. Time doesn’t matter now; you’re on your way to Glade festival 2009.
The night is awake. Beat-boom-beat-boom-beat-boom.
Spinning and spinning; round the lights of the blues, greens, yellows, reds and whites. Spinning round the sounds of drum n’ bass and break-beats, psy-trance and dub-step, funky house and a whole bursting cacophony of electronic dance delivery. Spinning round the smiles, stares, dances, dreams, gurns and lives; spinning and spinning until the Glade crashes together in single humming ambience.
Time suddenly slows. You’re watching in a hypnotic trance. Watching the ground. A web of green neon stripes, criss-crossing the tufts of grass, illuminating the points and edges. A mellow waterfall, ebbing and flowing, carefully tending your thoughts. Gently you run your foot over the waves in the hope you might touch it; in the hope it might wash over your clownish feet.
A searching light catches your eye; stares you down. It’s grabbed you and you’ve started wandering toward it. Beats from either side; squeezing you forwards. Bass running up your legs; keeping you moving. The sky all around; openings between clouds. Turning upwards, whilst piskies slink this way and that, weaving around you and you howl to the moon. And a moment later you’re suddenly surrounded by the howls and calls of the whole pack.
The night is old. Beat-boom-boom-beat-boom-boom-beat. The morning cometh.
You’ve forgotten any sort of jumper but luckily you’ve met a nice pixie who’s offered you some help: “Otherwise you’ll be frozen in your own sweat by the time you got back to the campsite” she says.
She leads you like a lost child through the lights of liberty toward some sort of magical information tent. She’s easy to follow, covered head to foot in neon-glow-sticks and dancing to and fro between breakbeats and bounce: “Come and let Glade and I clothe you” she calls out. She looks like the lost psychedelic character from the film Tron, or a Timothy Leary pin-up girl.
Seconds later: “Free clothing for the dispossessed of warmth courtesy of the Glade information tent!” She waves a thick woolly jumper in front of your eyes. It glows slightly with an alchemical-warmth. Soon after, (hours maybe?) the music has stopped. It’s gone five. Glade giveth, Glade taketh away, Glade… knows you need to get some rest.
Three days later; somewhere between the Glade and home you wake up.
You’re back in the campervan; body rattling back and forth, brain rattling aimlessly round your head. All about, a plume of smoke hangs on the air. The heavy smell makes you gag slightly. You don’t care though; you’ve had an unbelievable time and you shut your eyes and listen to the music still happily syncopating on your ear drums.