When it comes to UK festivals it seems like the best are saved for last these days. Now a camping event, Nic Fanciulli’s The Social has firmly established itself as a major contender in the UK’s summer festival program.
Despite it’s smaller size, the line up was as vast and impressive as any other event of its kind. New for 2016, Kent County Showground was the base for the two day house and techno takeover, a space more than capable of accommodating the 25,000 party goers making an appearance. This new location boasted a no sound restrictions policy, a priceless attribute considering the mega line up of DJs in attendance.
The picturesque showground in Maidstone is located on sprawling fields surrounded by woodland, creating a dreamy setting for a weekend packed full of otherworldly music. In keeping with the boutique countryside theme and in amongst the spacious greenery were the three main stages, The Stables, The Barn and MixMag’s The Meadow Arena, all serving up giant doses of electronic musics’ finest.
Truly taking advantage of the freedom the no neighbours setting provided, al sound systems were cranked to the max throughout, creating the sort of bass capable of rearranging your organs.
Under a sky of clear blue sunshine Nastia set things off on a buzzing note with a lively daytime set at The Barn stage on Friday afternoon. Those lucky enough to get the day off work were basking in her high tempo set, and continued to party throughout the day with more all star music from the likes of Guy Gerber, Eats Everything and Andrew Weatherall.
Shutting down Friday night’s festivities with a nostalgic set was iconic duo Sasha and Digweed. Playing B2B after a six year hiatus, the British legends joined forces for a brooding three hour set of classic house beats and old school rave treats. The pair’s long awaited performance marks the beginning of their eagerly anticipated upcoming reunion tour and judging by the uproar coming from the crowds present at the MixMag Meadow stage, it would seem fans are still very much invested in what Sasha and Digweed have to offer.
The reigning master of tech house Carl Cox played a trippy techno set, the crazy light show and heavy bass transporting the crowd of devoted fans to a party reminiscent of his early 90’s raves. Cox followed up his set with a B2B special with Fanciulli, a blinding performance of two heavyweight techno talents, an energetic collaboration the founder had clearly been looking forward to.
Meanwhile on The Stables stage, The Social first timers Bicep were treating audience members to a tasty, punchy tech set deep in the forest. Each and every act made full use of the joyously loud sound systems on offer, resulting in a madly intoxicating onslaught of magic music served up by all the big guns on the scene.
As he has divulged of many occasions, the driving force at the heart of this festival is Nic Fanciulli’s desire to bring his love of underground and electronic dance music to those living in and around his Kent home-town. It is fair to say, with such finesse production and world class line ups like this years’, this annual event is successfully transforming Kent into an oasis for both music lovers from far and wide.
With the sunshine intent on sticking around later and later every summer, The Social festival’s September slot is ideal and one not to be missed next summer. If you can’t wait until then, Fanciulli is throwing a Winter Social on 11th March 2017.
Words by April Summers