Cocoon in the Park is now a well established one day event in the UK calendar. Taking place in the rolling green hills of the park that surrounds the majestic old Temple Newsham house, it makes for a high octane and intense experience for 12 or so hours. This year was no different, and the rain even managed to stay away, too.
Put on by the team behind Mint Club and Mint Warehouse and in association with the king of techno, Sven Vath, the event is now 8 years old and improves with each new edition. All playing out in the open air, it is a one stage showcase with huge speakers hanging from the side of the stage and a focus on colourful dancers, pyrotechnics and big LED screens that show various images across the day and night.
Soon as you crest the hill on the way in, the bass thud comes up through your feet and the excitement builds. Once you get into the festival – an easy and painless process – the sound system really impresses as every hi hat is crisp and every kick drum is meaty. First up as the sun beams down is local lad Bobby O’Donnell who serve sup classy and warm deep house vibes that get the crowd warmed up.
That crowd is a mix of girls and boys, some old, some young, and they all have face paint on, glitter, vests and slick hair cuts. They are glam, and help make for a great atmosphere. After sets from Alex & Digby and KMAH Radio show host Annie Errez, Richy Ahmed steps up to drop some rolling tech grooves that start to up the ante.
People get into it, climb on each others shoulders and generally gave ever more wild. Then comes another techno mainstay in Joseph Capriati, who is fresh off the back of some big tunes and has proven his skills as a DJ with his great entry into the fabric mix series. His bog low ends and revere heavy grooves start to get the crowd marching as one and as the day turns to night the mood gets more mischievous. Obviously, Drumcode boss Adam Beyer is all about funky, chunky, well programmed drum lead techno and it makes for a functional set that gets a great reaction from the crowds.
The final four hours are given over to Sven Vath, who holds court and weaves through some big room techno, curveball cuts and plenty of the charming and characteristic sounds that make him such a well loved figure. Explosions of confetti and lights add drama to his set and even though he has been doing this for more than thirty years, he still looks to be having almost as much fun as us on the floor in front of him.