Westfest 2016 Preview: A Spooky Spectacular to Remember

Paul Underhill
Photo credit: Paul Underhill

This year I knew exactly where, when and with whom I would spend my Halloween. There was never a doubt in my mind that I would be anywhere other than Westfest, the mad D&B, party, rave festival that I’ve always dreamed of attending. Not only me, my two friends have always begged me to go and with it falling on my friends birthday this year we knew we had no choice but to get our tickets.

Westfest is the D&B love child of the UK’s biggest rave promoters, Slammin Vinyl, the masterminds behind events such as One Nation in Bournemouth and Tranz-Mission in Finsbury Park. These events are well known to me, and to anyone who’s a D&B fan, for their incredible lineups which produce insane raves. And its this insane lineup, this self proclaimed ‘hard-core’ lineup, that is my focal reason for my desperation to go to Westfest 2016. Just looking at the lineup for each stage makes my heart flutter because, if it isn’t someone I already love, it’s someone I’ve been told I will love and that’s enough to make anyone excited.

For the acts that I already love there is one true winner and that is headliner Andy C. I’ve been a avid fan of his since 2001 when Body Rock was released and it was this song that sparked my love for D&B music. I recently watched him perform on his own stage at Soundclash festival and his set was insane, truly unforgiving, drum and bass music that made me remember my love for not only him, but the whole D&B genre. His performance at Soundclash has made me beyond excited for his set at Westfest because I believe Westfest’s hardcore atmosphere and crowd of dedicated fans will bring out the best Andy C has to offer. I have no doubt that he will be a highlight of the night, playing iconic D&B tracks and will, once again, ignite my little, raver heart.

For the acts I’ve been told I will love, well, this encompasses half the lineup and this is slightly worrying as they are spread over seven stages, all named after Slamming Vinyl’s varying events. One Nation is the first stage which is featuring G-Dub aka Adam and Jake whose frachinese has taken off in the last few years. I’ve only heard their remix of Shy Fx’s Rah but that track is one of the hottest out there and I’m interested to see if they will perform some of their jungle music opposed to just D&B. I really hope so as I’ve heard their jungle music is off the board and would make for a phenomenal set. In addition to G-Dub, I’ve been told to see about twenty other promising acts across the HDUK, BodyNod & the Blast and Dreamscape stages which is an awful lot but at least promises that I will be seeing someone awesome at all times.

I do have a plan to try and tackle this intense lineup. Step One) Carefully circulate the arena so that I at least know where everything is, especially the VIP tent because I live for those tents where you get to feel like a VIP queen. Step 2) Dedicate one hour to each stage and see some new acts whilst becoming increasingly more drunk and Step 3) Finally drunkenly gather everyone and get to the front for DJ Hype, MC IC3 & Andy C. This sounds wonderful in practice but in reality I probably will spend 80% of my time at the Garage Nation stage thanks to headliners Artful Dodger and Majestic who are solely responsible for my current, and nostalgic, love for Garage music.

Garage music has, and always will be, my No.1 genre. It’s nostalgic for me because Re-Rewind genuinely was my most played song on my pink IPod nano in 2008. Granted this may be largely be thanks to it featuring Craig David (I fancied him a lot) but nevertheless it still began my Garage music journey, and it was one that would continue to grow. Artful Dodgers more recent hits Please Don’t Turn Me On featuring Disclosure and the new radio edit of his classic Movin’ Too Fast have been favourites of mine and I’m buzzing to see them performed live. Alongside Artful Dodger is Majestic whose mixes of hits by Disclosure and David Zowie and, again Craig David (sigh), make up the majority of my Spotify Garage playlist and will be so good live.

My biggest worry for Westfest isn’t the acts, it’s definitely production. As I said earlier, we are attending West Fest for my friends 20th birthday (shoutout to Amber, this one is for you) and because of this I really want it to be a spooky, spectacular party. I’m hoping the fact it’s the weekend before Halloween will mean production is on point. I mean if Boomtown can bring the quirky, Halloween theme to their festival in August then surely Westfest can pull out all the stops for one two days before Halloween itself?! I want a fully themed festival with light shows, laser shows and a raver atmosphere that will warm the cold, October night.

Despite this, I have high expectations for Westfest 2016. The lineup has sealed the deal for me and with such a variety of new talent and icons from over six genres I’m super stoked to be going. Westfest 2016 I will see you in a few weeks for a night of raving, partying and Halloween fun.

More information and tickets available here

Westfest 2016 poster