Gottwood celebrated its ten-year anniversary in 2019. That is a milestone many nice festivals fail to succeed in. In some ways, its longevity feels associated to its humble strategy. As highlighted on this yr’s pageant booklet, the Welsh occasion began as “a celebration for our closest buddies. We by no means as soon as [thought] it will evolve into what it’s now.”
Gottwood’s household vibe is clear. It takes place within the grounds of Carreglwyd Property, the house of one of many organisers. At one level, I walked previous the Carreglwyd household home and noticed Transfer D peering via the bed room window like a calming home cat. Lots of the identical crews and DJs play the pageant annually, and loads of punters are additionally return prospects. Even the meals merchants—one among whom is a sibling of a Gottwood founder—appear to have deep ties to the pageant.
The pageant is situated on a north-westerly tip of Wales, the place rolling pastures meet the Irish Sea. The location is miles away from a significant metropolis. This remoteness signifies that, other than teams of surprisingly up-for-it native farmers, people who make the journey actually need to be there. This yr, the circumstances weren’t at all times excellent—biblical rain fell from Friday afternoon via Saturday morning—however come Monday, this barely felt like an issue, which says lots about the remainder of the weekend. With stunning nature, nice individuals and a lineup that balanced big-hitters with proficient up-and-comers, there was little to dislike about Gottwood.
Listed here are 5 key performances from throughout the weekend.
Enzo Siragusa (Jungle set)
If there’s one factor you possibly can depend on UK festivals for, it is that the group will likely be raring to go from the primary evening. Enzo Siragusa’s jungle set on Thursday was a fantastic place for enthusiastic ravers to let unfastened. The Fuse London cofounder has made his title with stripped-back home music, so he may not be an apparent candidate to smash out a set of classic jungle. However the clues are there in his music. Speaker-busting backside finish and hyperactive percussion, each key components of the Fuse sound, are instantly linked to his early years of raving in London.
Siragusa’s set was an expertly curated choice, crammed with deep cuts like “Quest” by Andy C & Shimon, Roni Measurement’s “Style” and “Horizon” by LTJ Bukem. Seeing individuals going wild to frantic breakbeats in The Barn, my thoughts flashed again to long-since-closed venues like Stratford Rex. Siragusa’s set felt like an genuine revival of jungle’s rowdy power, albeit with out the annoying MCs or the specter of being mugged on the way in which again to the tube station.
Festivals can generally really feel like a warfare of attrition and a day of continuous rain on Friday made life tough. Some cowered of their tents or ducked for canopy whereas the hardcore majority caught it out underneath the downpour. Just a few hours of classic electro closing the Curve stage—first from Radioactive Man after which from Freakenstein—was a simply reward for braving the weather. Freakenstein, an obscure alias of the larger-than-life UK veteran Tristan da Cunha, was one of the vital stunning units of the weekend. His tackle electro verged on the lurid. Miami bass, ghetto home and raunchy electro, akin to Aaron Carl’s “21 Positions,” made up a set of politically incorrect bangers. Da Cunha’s enthusiasm was palpable as he head-bopped to the pacy music. The set completed with what appeared like sampled squeals from a porn movie. Behind me, a doof stick, coated in fairy lights and topped with a dilapidated cuddly toy, rose above the group in appreciation.
At round 5 PM on Saturday, the rain lastly relented. Because the solar mercifully shone down on Carreglwyd Property, Palms Trax’s choices epitomised the now-balmy temper. His set started with some deft use of the isolators and Stephanie Mills’ disco traditional “What Cha’ Gonna Do with My Lovin’.” A turning level got here 15 minutes later with Justin Van Der Volgen’s edit of Bobby Thurston’s “You Received What It Takes,” sped up by about ten BPM. This allowed Palms Trax to pivot right into a string of trans-continental chuggers. From thereon in, it was easy crusing. The tent swelled to capability and the environment buzzed. A flurry of costly Afro disco cuts teed the group up for a ultimate run of hits. LaSo’s “One other Star”—a canopy of the Stevie Surprise traditional by Latin disco legend Joe Bataan—raised the temperature. A 3-person-strong human tower shot up. The ultimate one-two punch of “Janice (Do not Be So Blind To Love)” by Skip Mahoney and an edit of Billy Paul’s “Solely The Robust Survive” was a real chef’s-kiss second.
The Walled Backyard featured a few of Gottwood’s most anticipated units. Highlights included the Berlin-based diggers The Ghost, a back-to-back between Craig Richards and Nicholas Lutz, and a technical masterclass from DJ Stingray. Sonja Moonear’s equally sturdy efficiency came about on Sunday afternoon. The Swiss DJ minimize her tooth on the minimal scene of the mid-’00s, however has since broadened her vary. There was little that sure her set collectively aside from a relentless, effervescent groove and a desire for sonically impactful data. The set veered rapidly from obscure MJ Cole-style storage and ravey synths via to traditional techno akin to Lemon eight’s “Mannequin eight (Lemon eight Remix).” A slick mixing fashion meant that regardless of the temper and style shifts, all the pieces hung collectively completely.
Peach b2b Nathan Micay
Peach and Nathan Micay are two DJs completely suited to closing a pageant, partly as a result of they share an unironic love of foolish dance music. They performed Ricky’s Disco, one of the vital compact phases on the pageant. With a coated roof and (relative) safety from the rain, the house typically took on the environment of a rowdy home celebration. Peach amped up the group early by enjoying unarguable party-starters like Cybotron’s “Cosmic Automobiles” and pulling beat tips on the CDJs. Micay upped the ante with Earth Hyperlink’s “Blink,” a observe filled with guitar energy chords and churning acid traces.
In direction of the top, the goofy vibe intensified. Because the data turned more and more uncool, they turned more practical. Pop-house remixes of R&B tunes met the Clever Dodger’s remix of Sisqo’s “Thong Track.” The climax got here with a Nathan Micay edit of Andrea Bocelli’s “Time To Say Goodbye,” a report really outstanding in its tastelessness. Because the report shifted from opera to a sickly candy EDM-style drop, resplendent with air horns and spinback sound results, Peach appeared on in horror. Micay smirked. When the second drop hit, the man subsequent to me guffawed and spat out a drink. Solely DJs who take their craft severely can ship a set this unserious. It was a plainly ridiculous, but in some way apt, method to finish 4 days in a discipline.
We have compiled a YouTube playlist with a few of our favorite tracks from Gottwood Pageant 2019. Verify them out right here.