You don’t always want to traipse around a muddy site wearing wellies. Sometimes you hanker for a little bit of flat dancefloor and some proper lights. You think to yourself, what would it be like if you could have the fun and games of the festival scene in a club based environment without the booth-based, suited and booted tossers? Well, why not try one of the growing number of metropolitan festivals?
These events let you blast it out for one or two days, usually catching a lunchtime and afternoon full of banging tunes and entertainment, which winds down around midnight or the earliest of early hours, giving you a chance to munt the night away in your hotel or catch the light fantastic at an after-party.
To help you find somewhere to let it all go and hug strangers into friends, we’ve put together our pick of the six best metro rave-style events in the country. Yes, OK. We know it’s a little cheeky to call some of these parties city-based events, but in our opinion they’re all close enough to an urban centre to qualify. Our focus is strictly on the Dance based events. After all, you’ve never heard of anyone having it to Bedwetter Indie. So without further ado, here’s our listing:
We Are FSTVL
When: 30th-31st May
Where: Upminster, Essex
This party has stormed on the scene and made everyone sit up and take notice. It bends a number of club brands around a festival format, giving you a feeling like you might have arrived in the UK’s only club village. Staged at an old Essex airfield and recently expanded to take in two whole days of insane head-nodding and fist-pumping, this party brings together a number of top Dance industry names both old and new.
Recognition has dropped down on this event from the prestigious Festival Awards following its first two years of operation, making it a must-go event for anyone looking for sound as a pound big drop action. With a musical menu that’s full of some of the biggest names in the industry, expect to lose yourself as one of the faceless thousands in the big rooms, or seek out something a little more sleek and seductive in one of the many alternative venues on site.
When: 13th June
Where: Brockwell Park, Brixton
You have to take any party that bills itself as London’s premier electronic music festival seriously. Fronted by a group of London promoters who absolutely know who to whip up a crowd into a fevered frenzy, this is an eclectic mix of everything that’s good, now and pulsing about the capital’s heady Dance music scene.
Thanks to a growing amount of interest in recent years, this one-day party has found a new home in Brixton’s Brockwell Park, where you’ll be spoilt for choice with five different music stages. The line-up is not chock full of the usual branded superstars, instead going for a much more left-looking glance at the London scene. For this reason it’s definitely worth checking to experience the latest wave of hot sound.
Electric Daisy Carnival UK
When: 11th July
Where: Milton Keynes Bowl, Milton Keynes
Already an established brand in the US, where it has one of the best-known names on the scene for Dance based hijinks, the Electric Daisy Carnival is a rave and then some. After starting in Los Angles nearly two decades ago, the UK arm of this event launched in 2013, before making its way to the Milton Keynes bowl in 2014. These supremoes know how to put everything you could possibly want into a party, banging it out together with a whole lot extra.
More than the sum of its line-up, which encompasses the top names in the EDM spectrum, this is a festival that delivers a fantastic blend of entertainment. The set up provides a blend stage shows like the 90ft tall kineticCATHEDRAL stage, with walk around jugglers, dancers, stilt walkers and all kinds of attractions. This is a Bacchanalian affair that conjures up the eternal spirits of fun for one night only that can’t fail to leave an indelible print on your psyche.
When: 1st August
Where: Hatfield House, Hatfield
Do you like the unrelenting stomp of the techno circus? Fancy a taste of the free party style sound without the crusties, mud and threat of the law descending at any given moment? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, or if you’re simply looking for a high energy event that’s draped in positive vibes, self-expression and leftfield social antics then you should try Eastern Electrics.
This capital-based affair brings together a number of top party brands in a collaboration that knows how to deliver unabashed sonic mayhem. With more than enough extra silliness and fun on the agenda, you can come in colours at a paint fight, debate whether or not a fairground ride is a good idea and even bash a stranger about with a pillow. Oh yeah, and there’s some of the top names in Underground House and Techno too.
When: 29th – 30th August
Where: Clapham Common, London
The grand-daddy of the Metro festival scene, SW4 is now entering into its eleventh year. Famous for bringing the South London crowds a smorgasbord of some of the top names in the industry, expect a music line-up that embraces everything current from the cool to the cheesy with a good dose of classic thrown in for good measure.
In recent years there have been some issues with sound restrictions due to the party’s proximity to the local property, but this doesn’t take anything away from the stages, sights and sounds on offer from this truly metropolitan event. Expect London’s top party folk to be on parade here without the pretentiousness, in a fun explosion of togetherness where new friendships and connections are forged in the shadow of a speaker.
The Social Festival
When: 12th September
Where: Mote Park, Kent
Want a grassroots style festival that embraces the Ibizan dream without having to watch a bunch of over-privileged German twenty-somethings chew their faces off on brick dust? Then you will be in for a treat at The Social Festival. This is one party that’s been put together with a friendlier, local type atmosphere that mixes home-grown talent with some of the biggest names in the industry.
This rare and free blend of styles and situations combines to give you the best of every world, with moments of laid back elegance where you catch the sun and sights, before diving headfirst into a maelstrom of cutting edge sonics with an audio palette that matches the complexity of the edible delights on offer here.
This year’s line up features Richie Hawtin, DJ Cassy, Dubfire, George Fitzgerald, Joris Voorn, Hot Since 82, Joy Orbison, Sasha and a host of other masters of the mix.
A Final Word
There is nothing like having it in the summer sun, whether on a spontaneous tip or as part of a very carefully planned mission. There’s now a ton of parties out there that manage to combine everything you used to love about raves and club style japes together with the freeness and open expression of the festival environment. All that you have to do is choose the one that suits your musical style best…