So glad about Glade
I used to work on an assembly line in Aldershot packing those Glade air refreshers – while that proves seven of my prole credentials it is a completely unconnected introduction to Leo’s review of the recent Glade festival:
Festivals are becoming a commercial rash on the verdant jacksy of the UK. Many of them are cack and simple opportunities for the minority who organise and perform to make quick and substantial money out of the captive majority who are attracted by a vaguely subversive reputation.
Such cynical pissings wafted through my mind-urinal when an associate alerted me to the Glade Festival. It was marvellous to have these whining prejudices dispelled by the quality of the event from the moment the routemaster bus (craftily displaying a Muswell Hill destination) arrived at the rural Berkshire location.
Now, I’ll state here that I helped set the tent up content in my view of psy-trance as the acceptable – but still not very good – face of trance. This genre is the driving force behind Glade. On zipping up the tent and proceeding toward the thumping beats, it was already abundantly clear that this dismissive attitude toward psy-trance would simply not do. The main arena for such epic doodlings was not in a large tent but, in the best traveller traditions, out in the elements and most were already ‘at it’ by 10.30 on the Friday. This venue was to become a Makkah-like focal point on the beatific crescendo (for me, perhaps only, but it didn’t seem so) of Sunday afternoon.
Moving back from the elegiac rostrum, the other tents provided some pleasingly varied tunesmiths, with Sasha’s epic/utilitarian approach going down well on Friday and Cassetteboy providing a satirical point to proceedings with his crudely hilarious cut-up technique (Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter), no doubt inspired by William Burroughs, although there were no dead roads to understanding their act. His ctrl x and ctrl v is available to buy , or email for a rip. Unfortunately, this reporter was collapsed in the tent trying to communicate in Japanese without speaking when the often heralded Aphex Twin played. The Mount Fuji of the mind had been reached. (Historical footnote - this was the last weekend in the UK of the period of sanity in which the sale of those fabulous mushrooms was legal.)
Other honourable mentions: The Bug's blistering set to a packed and jumping Little Big Tent. Dub Side of the Moon, creaming the dairyless cakes of good proportion of the Sunday afternoon crowd, with their dub versions of Stink Floyd tracks from that ‘classic’ album - refreshing, revising and renewing the cerebral 70s group’s turgidity has never been so pleasurable to witness, listen, dance and fall over to. As the pharmacological clock ticked away the last precious minutes of the music, Richie Hawtin's exquisitely minimal slow-building tech-throb ultimately lost out to the immediately-gratifying idiot charms of the Breaksday tent (where the closing track was a surprise outing of RATM's exultant 'fuck you, I won't do what you tell me' song, which never sounded better!). Thankfully, there was another hour to be had of immersion outdoor psy-trance, in a haze of dust, sunlight and extremely bright colours everywhere!
Organisationally wonderful (there was sometimes even bog roll in the portaloos), aesthetically striking, with fleets of huge Tibetan-style flags, the most striking thing of all was the disarmingly friendly vibe. Compare this to the barely concealed tension and drunken aggro of your average corporate club or posey bar, and ask whether you can really be bothered with them any more. See you there next year.