Review: Eastern Electrics Festival
Over the last couple of years Eastern Electrics has evolved from its warehouse-based roots, into a fully-fledged large-scale festival event. Last year they were maybe a little too ambitious, throwing a three-day event with camping options at Knebworth Park in Hertfordshire with a ridiculously big line-up. It ended up backfiring in a major way with the company behind Eastern Electrics going into liquidation after the event.
This year they came back with a one-dayer, learning from last year’s mishap and, understandably, playing it a little safer. Even so, the line-up was still a mouthwatering prospect with Derrick Carter, Kerri Chandler, Dyed Soundorom, Laura Jones, Loefah, T.Williams and many more on the bill – all taking place in the plush surroundings of Hatfield House, a stately room with acres of rolling countryside. The stage was set for Eastern Electrics 2014, so Deep House London went to go and check it out…
Arriving in Hatfield you could feel the anticipation in the air as countless ravers descended on the tiny train station and made their way into the grounds of the stately home. The few minutes it took to trek to the main entrance felt much longer, but as soon as the distant throb of a kick drum could be heard, we picked up the pace and were soon inside the gates and on the festival site.
Though it was early in the day, the site was already full of colourful party people lapping up the sunny weather, and soaking up the good music, which emanated from every stage and tent. The main stage stood large and proud, towering over the site, with various tents, stalls and stages dotted around in front of it, together with fairground rides and the VIP area. The atmosphere was lively, with people trotting around and getting accustomed to the geography of the site, some already in full-on party mode and others just chilling and getting into their groove.
In the Art Of Dark tent French maestro Dyed Soundorom was throwing his usual brand of groovy house cuts, old and new. The new Bootshonk 2 release ‘Troubled Times’ doing some serious damage, along with numerous other deadly tracks. Always a pleasure to catch Dyed in action. Just opposite the Art Of Dark tent was the Red Bull Studios Live stage, where T.Williams was holding court. He was on fine form, rolling out some tough, bumping house with the odd slice of garage thrown into the mix – which, of course, sent the crowd into a frenzy.
No Eastern Electrics festival would be complete without owner Rob Star’s beloved pub – and in the Star Of EE Pub was Mr.Normski, powering through his set with a firm focus on classic house sounds, mixing contemporary tracks with slightly older ones to perfection and getting the pub pumping in the early afternoon.
In the Switchyard we caught the end of Mano Le Tough, who had the afternoon crew in the palm of his hand with a rousing selection of emotive, deep techno. Lush layers of melody and melancholy strings combined with stomping basslines drew in a large crowd ahead of the curly-haired wonder woman, tINI. The first lady of Desolat was one of the day’s main draws and didn’t disappoint, bringing the heat with a tight selection of melodic techno cuts, full of drive and energy yet never too overpowering. At the same time as tINI was doing her thing, Laura Jones was giving the Main Stage a thorough workout. Her polished performance was another standout moment during the day part of the festival.
As night drew in, the festival attendance reached a peak and every stage became full of ravers – Art Department tore it up on the Main Stage with one of the day’s biggest crowds, as did Kerri Chandler whose set was accompanied by some very impressive pyrotechnics which wowed the audience. Wanting to wind down as the festival came to a close, we headed over to the VIP stage, hosted by Kubicle, to check out fabric resident Craig Richards playing some classic disco.
It was the perfect way to end a great day. Bearing in mind the fact that the future of Eastern Electrics was hanging in the balance after last year’s event, it was great to see them return and come back so strong. The festival was busy, full of ‘up-for-it’ people with a good energy throughout. The production was on point, as was the organisation and the music was faultless.
Big ups to Rob Star and all the gang behind the event, here’s to many more years of raving in the countryside!