by Jon Burns
After the festival washout that was 2007, we’ve been treated to some good weather, and none more so than at the UK’s biggest dance music festival – Global Gathering. The festival took place on Long Marston Airfield, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and once the sun came out, it stayed out – to the delight of everyone who came to dance the weekend away.
The highlight and lowlight of the Friday had to be Kanye West on the Main Stage. Having been billed as his only UK date on his ‘Glow in the Dark Tour’ we were surprised that he didn’t appear to glow much at all. West’s show was the only performance to take place on the stage on the Friday because of the huge technical aspects of bringing his ‘extraordinary’ lightshow, animations and set. There were lots of lights and smoke, but a lot people were disappointed when the expected show (which is by all accounts amazing) failed to materialise. Perhaps the rest of the time on the stage could have been handed over to other artists?
Despite the lack of technical show, he gave a good solid set and got the crowd mostly on his side with hits like ‘Diamonds are Forever’, ‘Gold digger’, ‘All Falls Down’, and ended the set with the Daft Punk sampled ‘Stronger’ which really worked for the dance crowd.
The rest of the music went on till 2am, and there was so much to choose from. We opted for a bit of mad trance from DJ Tiesto, and Eric Prydz in the Global tent, and polished off the night with Roger Sanchez in the Stealth Arena.
The Saturday was all about even more sun. Being on an airfield, there are hardly and trees or shade, so everyone was looking either highly tanned, or on the verge of self-combustion. The Saturday was also the big one – the music started and 2pm, and finished at 6pm if you could go the distance.
We kicked off with a bit of Sam Sparro on the Main Stage. Sparro is a fantastic performer and has such a good voice. Despite people not knowing much of his work, he connected with the crowd by running around the front of the stage, high-fiving the audience, and laughing through one of his songs when he dropped his mic. His band and singers were awesome also, singing and doing comedy hand dance routines to old dance favourites like ‘Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)’ by Crystal waters, and generally having loads of fun. By the time he played the last song, his biggest hit ‘Black and Gold’, the crowd sang along with hands in the air.
Next up was Swedish dance-pop sensation Robyn. I’ve always thought Robyn was pretty, but she really has presence on a big stage, and her brand of almost 80’s inspired pop fitted in perfectly as the day started to cool off a little.
Mark Ronson – Man of the moment who can do no wrong. He and his band, The Version Players were fantastic, and as it was the last show of their tour, I think they’d started enjoyed themselves a long while before they even hit the stage (one singer looked like he was about to fall over). The huge cast of performers (including Charlatans singer Tim Burgess) and musicians ploughed their way though all of their songs with so much energy and passion for what they do, and their set looked spectacular (note to Kanye – it makes a huge difference!). Ronson was keen to point out that the idea of his very bright set with a great light show, was designed for ‘anyone who is on drugs’, which resulted in a huge cheer.
Ronson has that rare ability to be loved by almost everyone, and I’d say that he got the best response of anyone I’d seen all weekend, especially during ‘Ooh Wee’, ‘Valerie’ and his final song ‘Stop’. Great stuff.
After the fun of the main stages, we hit the tents for mammoth DJ sets from Ferry Corsten, Armin Van Burin, Eric Morillo, David Guetta and Plump DJs. I would like to tell you more about what they were all like, but to be honest, I can’t remember huge amounts about the end of the Saturday, other than dancing so much my kidneys nearly gave out. What I do know is that we had a great time, and nearly made it all the way through to 6am… Maybe next year we can go the full distance!