It’s 12.40 on a slightly blustery Saturday afternoon, and we’re currently speeding in a large people carrier somewhere between Kings Lynn and North Norfolk (Real alan partridge territory) to the rather wonderful Glade festival situated in the grounds of the stately Houghton Hall.
After about an hours worth of calling taxi numbers to no avail, we’d finally procured a large people carrier piloted by ‘Bob’ a large scary looking chap, who’s friendliness is matched by his knowledge on his home county. He fills us in on the Queen’s antics at nearby Sandringham and on local celebrity drinking holes as he careers through the muddy gates of Houghton as we near our destination the liquid stage and tighten our seatbelts…
Upon arrival Glade is in full flow. Recovering from the crazy weather of Friday (several tents are still embedded in the perimeter fences) We’re led through a real woodland Glade, past a sauna and wood burning hot tubs (yes really) to the quite awesome Liquid stage. You can’t miss it with it’s brightly coloured canopies protecting any revellers from any rainfall (none luckily). Amazingly still standing after monstrous sets on Friday from the likes of Tom Real, Liquid Ross and James D’ley winner of the New DJ award at Breakspoll 2011. With competition winner Headroc first on the decks for the day it’s straight into action with his eclectic mix of bass heavy house and breaks alongside his trademark rock influenced mashups. Napt and Stevie Nicks blast forth from the speakers as the sun comes peers out from behind the clouds. this could be a good sign…
Venturing forth into the gorgeous woodland we stumble upon the Meteor stage – a sunken dancefloor sit’s atop a cluster of subs (think Fabric’s room 1 in a forrest – amazing) whilst a range of DJ talents spin out from the custom made UFO DJ booth. It’s really something to behold. Noteworthy sets from weekend have to be said of the likes of D*Funk and Mike Hulme’s incredible sci-fi set really sets the tone. With Predator and Alien samples blasted over his progressive house beats.
Wandering out from the tall treed woodland passing crazy decor ( and a custom tea trolley turned mobile DJ booth) we head out into the main Glade field. The awesome Pyromid stage sits in the middle of the fest – burnt annually to mark the end of the festival, Wickerman style. It offers an eclectic mix of house and electro beats in the mid-day sun. Surrounded by a mouth wateringly large array of food venders (special mention has to go to the mighty Foccacia bacon sandwich Cabin). But Glade are known for their unique custom build stages and this year doesn’t disappoint.
With a wealth of other crazy stages including the ‘Rabbit Hole’ kitted in suitably apt Alice in Wonderland garb, the stunningly psychedelic Origin stage which sits beneath a gigantic rainbow coloured canvas flower, which dancing erratically in the norfolk breeze and atop it’s psy trance loving residents. Not to mention the Vaudeville stage under the Roller Hoe Disco – where class acts such as JFB and Swing beat heroes Dutty Moonshine’s electro swing work up a storm in the tent. That’s not to mention the I Scream stage – a converted Ice cream van / come dance wagon… and that’s just a few!
Special mention has to go to The Dance off stage, an impromptu boxing ring surrounded by large speaker stacks and bails of hay see’s a ridiculous amount of attention in the mid-day sun with Pyramid rocking the decks. Dancefloor casualties hit the ring en-masse whilst the crowds close in to watch the dancefloor carnage. There’s no mercy from Pyramid, dancers stumble from the ring as the beats get faster. True dancefloor carnage.
The Glade Stage is back in force this year – with it’s it’s fluro space decor and mighty sound system. is a huge circus tent of an arena. As we enter we’re greeted by the heavy bass riddled sound that can only be the Dub Pistols. Barry Ashworth as always the awesome front man. Effortlessly cool. The tent’s speakers are filled by the bass riddled beats of ‘Cyclone’ and the crowd go crazy. Further delights from the weekend include the booty bass loving Stanton Warriors, who’s speaker heavy set see’s people literally running to join the crowds flexing to the newly crowned classics from the Warriors album. ‘Bodyrock’ and ‘Get Up’ literally doing what they say on the tin. Other noteworthy sets come from the likes of Gaudi and dancefloor legend Don Letts, who’s dub flavoured set sets things up nicely for the messiness of Toddla T. Other tent heavyweights include the legendary Freq Nasty, Rusko, and of course the mighty Sven Vath. Closing the proceedings on Saturday before Andy C follows for his massive Sunday finale.
– and so with the weekend weather remaining somewhat tempestuous but not too savage, and monstrous sets played all round Glade ticks off another fantastic weekend at Houghton Hall. Amazing location, top DJs what more could you ask for from a fest?
(photos copyright Alice Heggie)