Published on October 13th, 2016 | by Sid Wesley
Green Meadows Festival 2016 Review
(Before I get this review underway, press play on this mix from, Toy Beats. More on his mix later, but for now it’ll accompany your read and help set the scene perfectly.)
Green Meadows Review
Two things that I’m always intent on doing whenever I go out, either to club nights or festivals, is making sure I dance as much as possible to some amazing music and connect with like minded souls who are there. Both of those were achieved with consummate ease when I attended this years, Green Meadows Festival, back in the middle of August.
Green Meadows moved to a new location this year and held the festival at the beautiful, Elton Hall Estate, about 10-15 minutes from Peterborough (25 minutes from my front door, bonus!). Once parked up and unpacked, it was a short walk to get the tickets checked and off into one of two large open fields that housed the campers. One of the fields was the campsite for the ravers pretty much, and the other which was separate and neatly distanced, was for those who had come for a family weekend away, because this was a festival that not only catered perfectly for the the big kids, but also the little ones too.
After the tent had been pitched and pleasantries exchanged with our neighbours, it was time to explore the festival site and head to the bar to sink a nice cold beverage because we’d scored big-time with the weather. The thermometer read hot and the cloud count was zero, which as you can imagine, had everyone one in buoyant mood and that was a trend that continued throughout the whole weekend. Leaving the campsite, a small walk through a corridor of trees soon opened up to the festival site. It wasn’t a festival site that was held in one big field, it was one that turned out to have 3 separate openings that were strung together by a winding farm track. On one side a festival, the other, corn fields and trees. If that sounds lush, your heads in the right place.
The first of the three openings to be found was the ‘Village’ area. This is where all of the food stalls were situated which offered many different types of food and was dead handy for breakfast time! It’s also where the first of the stages was situated ‘The Church Of The Poisoned Mind’. This stage was mainly for bands and solo acts who were both local and from further afield and on Saturday, BBC Introducing Cambridgeshire took control of proceedings. A short stroll from there down the farm track and an opening appeared in the trees. This needed to be investigated, so after a walk through a tunnel of trees the ‘Electric Garden’ stage was found. This giant inflatable was to be where many of the Dj’s would be doing there thing. Half way along the path to the ‘Electric Garden’ stage and off to one side was a woven dome of willow that had been constructed by members of the Grass Hopper Soundsystem. The dome began it’s life well built but in a basic form at the beginning of the festival because people were encouraged to have a go at weaving it themselves to create a small place to party in as also in there was a small soundsystem with various ways to play any music people had on them. It turned out to be a very cosy, friendly and interesting place to hang out. A walk back out of there and further down the farm track was the third and final opening, the ‘Meadow’. This was the biggest out of the three with plenty going on. Clothes stalls, face painting and an area off to the left of the field for children’s activities who had loads to do. To keep them happy they had a climbing wall, quad bikes, crafts, puppet shows, the Bugtopia Zoo and a cinema (held on the family campsite), to name just a few of the things to keep the children entertained. Also in the ‘Meadows’ area was ‘The Den’, which was a little tent off to the right that catered for music of a Soul and Disco flavour. Finally, the main stage at the end of the field was where the headlining bands and Dj’s would be found. The layout of the whole festival felt just right and felt like you were actually going on adventure, instead of feeling like you’re walking around in circles.
So, with the tent up, beers flowing nicely, hanging out with best friends and nice new ones and the festival site checked out, it was time to focus on the music. As an electronic dance music blog and as I was on review duties, my focus was mainly on the Dj’s playing that weekend as several of them on the lineup were artists we’ve featured here on the ward. From a personnel point of view it was great to finally put some names to faces while at the same time getting to dance to the music they played. After all, I’d packed my best dancing shoes and they needed a good workout and that’s exactly what they got!
As mentioned above, the ‘Electric Garden’ stage didn’t get going on the Friday night, so the Dj’s were moved to ‘The Church Of The Poisoned Mind’ stage. Kicking things of there was Hong Kong Ping Pong‘s, Jack Nash aka Morphosis. He laid down the perfect marker with his set and if you’ve ever listened to any of the ‘Hong Kong Ping Pong Mixtapes‘, you’ll know the kind of eclectic, bouncy and bass heavy sounds that went down. With the energy levels right up there from the off, Featurecast stepped up next. Now due to some unfortunate technical issues with his setup, he only played for half an hour but hey, it’s Featurecast, so it was one of the best half hour stomps ever! Jack Nash stepped up to finish that particular slot and pretty much picked up from where he’d left off from his set by keeping everyone bouncing along merrily. Next up was the Deep House legends, Inland Knights, who returned to Green Meadows after a legendary set last year. They dealt with the expectancy with ease and once again delivered a set to remember. After those guys had finished their set I took a break for refreshments, got chatting and went for a walk down to ‘The Den’ where I knew Zayaer Malik from Eclectic Ballroom would be spinning some prime Disco cuts. I was not disappointed, so got my groove on for a while before heading back to ‘The Church Of The Poisoned Mind’ where I could hear none other than the Utah Saints closing that stage. I headed straight for the dance floor amongst many happy ravers who were feeding off the Utah’s infamous high energy, multi-genre, bass influenced set. The guys not only put a full shift in behind the decks, but they were also a presence throughout the whole festival because as they’re now a part of the Green Meadows fabric, there was still plenty of organizing to be done, which they were helped along with by a band of super helpful and friendly volunteers.
So Saturday rolled around and after a late breakfast it was time to realign my senses and prepare for another day and night of dancing. A slightly fuzzy early afternoon wander down to ‘The Den’ was undertaken because local spinner, DJ aDams, was there laying down smooth Disco tunes to ease everyone back into the party mood, which he did a cracking job of. After a bit of lazing around in the warmth both at the main stage area and back at my tent, I decided to go for a wander to stretch my legs and what a wander it turned out to be. As I neared the Electric Garden stage I heard what I thought was the sound of Breakbeat, classic Breakbeat, the kind the legendary label, Finger Lickin’ Records once dropped. When I finally reached the stage I found a DJ by the name of, Zenithsoul, playing an all vinyl Finger Lickin’ set and he was smashin’ it! Every trace of roughness from the night before was instantly removed by the shapes that were thrown to that set. Check it here…
Next up on the dance music stage was, Toy Beats, who’s set your more then likely getting stuck into right now. He was due to play on Friday night but because of the technical issues, had been slotted into the late afternoon lineup. As you can hear, he brought his Funk ‘A’ game with both House and Breakbeat tunes aplenty. On next were a couple of guys I’d been very much looking forward to seeing, TWOGOOD. I’ve blogged several tracks from these two lively and pleasant chaps, so it was great to finally get the chance to dance to their music. They got the evening session off to a flyer with a fully funked up set that they’re now getting so well known for. Another LSM favourite, Pimpsoul, stepped up next and it was clear he was in no mood to mess about. His action packed 1 hour set of fired up Funky Breakbeat and whomp heavy beats was one that had the whole area rocking! After much furious dancing, a beer and a breather was needed because it would soon be time for the headline act of the night, A.Skillz. He brought along all his best booty shakin’ weapons he’s so well known for dropping and absolutely killed it! It’s A.Skillz, you know how he do! Because of the scheduling, my time with A.Skillz had to be shared with another couple guys who are no strangers to the LSM regulars, Shaka Loves You. They were playing a sublime Disco set when I arrived at ‘The Den’, with Marty doing his thang on the bongo’s which added an extra dimension to the lush sounds being spun by Jamie. Much dancing was done and the party continued with friends back at the campsite but as we all know, what happens at the festival, stays at the festival, right?
Sunday soon rocked up and after two nights of dancing and partying hard, it was very much an easy going day. Lots of laughs with friends new and old led us towards the evening where we would find, Zoe Roberts (pictured above), one half of the Peterborough DJ duo, The Dirty Housewives. She set about playing the most ideal set of Tech House music for a Sunday evening. She had everyone at the ‘Electric Garden’ stage getting there groove on once again and warmed up ready to finish the weekend on a real high.
The night progressed and it was soon time to go see one of the acts I’d been most looking forward to seeing the whole weekend, Craig Charles. After listening to his radio shows, the anticipation as to what would go down was very high and he did not disappoint. He had pretty much the whole festival up and on there feet to a stunning selection of Funk and Soul. If you ever get the chance to go see him play live, you really must. Leaving the main stage it was time to head back to the Electric Garden for the last time to see Peterborough’s very own old skool legends, Shades Of Rhythm. The Shades guys were clearly still on a high from playing Boomtown Fair the night before and ended the festival in true style with a huge set of old skool dance classics, including many of there own of course. The guys always give 100% at there gigs but when playing to their long serving hometown supporters, an extra 10% always seems to get added.
So all in all I had a pretty amazing time at Green Meadows . So many things were on point that weekend from the happy and helpful volunteers welcoming everyone in to the litter collectors that kept the whole site spotless across all three days. The security crew were again very helpful and friendly too. The music I got round to seeing blew me away, as did the vibe of my fellow party folk who attended the festival. Everywhere you went, all you saw was smiles which bred positivity and made everyone feel at ease and safe. If you’re loving the sound of Green Meadows, please come along and party next year, I know I’ll be there with my party head on once again that’s for sure! It’s one not to be missed.
Links for Green Meadows :
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