First up in 2010 is a return to Camber Sands for what is looking like another right royal mash up! The line-up for this year's Bangface Weekender includes some of techno's true underground icons from the 90s in parallel with acts from today, and is looking like a great weekend already. The Orb, 2 Bad Mice, Ratpack, Hardfloor, Aux 88, DJ Stingray, Mathew Herbert, Kelpe, DJ Food & DK, Kid 606 and Killa Kella join Bangface regulars Luke Vibert, Ceephax Acid Crew, Altern8, Venetian Snares, Mike Dred and DMX Krew in what really is an awesome line-up.
April 23rd-25th, Camber Sands, Nr Rye
Bang Face Massive…Hear Me Now!!! The 3rd Bang Face Weekender sees a return to Camber Sands Pontins for 3 days of holiday park festivalling in a hardcore rave stylee. But lets get this straight early – you wouldn’t normally associate this venue with the sort of legendary hardcore rave parties that Bang Face have now become synonymous with, so this is exactly where any connection with the images conjured up by the rather dilapidated holiday park should end. The way this site transforms for these 3 days a year is difficult to imagine unless you experience it for yourself.
Bang Face describes itself as ‘Neo Rave Armageddon’, and the theme this year takes a post-apocalyptic twist with the birth of a new species of Ravosaurus, that takes over the Earth, causing Pontins to turn into a futuristic imaginary ‘Juracid Park’. One thing’s for sure, there were some pretty scary ravers roaming the chalets of the holiday park, the likes of which are rarely seen on these shores, and the line-up for Bang Face 2010 had uncovered some real techno monsters. Perfectly preserved, presumably after being unearthed during an archeological dig through some record shops crates of long lost vinyl, pre-millenium hardcore legends like 2 Bad Mice, Ratpack, Altern8 and Human Resource were displayed alongside Detroit purveyors Urban Tribe, DJ 3000 and Aux 88. The TB-303s were dusted off and were shown to still be capable of providing the sweetest acid sounds with Hardfloor performing live, and Bang Face regulars Luke Vibert and Ceephax Acid Crew took to the decks twice over the weekend to seal the deal.
Without getting too stuck in the past though, Bang Face also represents some of the most innovative underground acts from the current electronic scene too, and artists like The Bug and 16Bit rinsed the dubstep on the Friday night whilst masters of electronica Plaid, The Orb and Kelpe were all performing projects they are currently touring or working on, rather than just adding to the nostalgia. On top of that, with guest DJ slots from the likes of Matthew Herbert and DJ Food & DK, plus beatboxing from Killa Kella, it probably proved to be the most diverse and accessible selection of acts at a Bang Face yet. This didn’t dilute the atmosphere in any way though, and the Bang Face Hard Crew were out in full force with their glow sticks and rave horns. LET ME HEAR YOU MAKE SOME NOISE!!!!
Camber Sands is a short drive from Rye, right down on the South East coast of England. It may mean a few changes on the train to get you there from anywhere further away than London, but that doesn’t stop a large posse of Hard Crew making their pilgrimages from as far a field as Holland, Belgium, France and Germany. Bang Face events have gained a great reputation amongst hardcore ravers, and when people are travelling across borders and over channels to come and hear the music they love, then the journey to Camber will seem pretty easy for most in retrospect.
Strangely, having all the comforts of home like being able to sleep in a normal bed, sheltered from all the elements seems like a bit of a novelty at a festival. Given the ever increasing price of entry to any festival these days, having accommodation provided to you as part of the ticket price makes events like Bang Face seem like really good value, and when you’ve got a good crew of mates to share the chalets with, it adds another element of excitement and pre-festival anticipation to the whole event.
Once you’re there, the freedom the organisers and security give you to enjoy yourself is to be applauded. During the day, groups are laid out in the grassy courtyards soaking up the sun, blasting their favourite mixtape from the chalet balconies. At night, in every block, you’ll find smaller parties going off and all kinds of music being banged out right around the clock. This can be a double edged sword though, with some people always determined to take up more than their fair share of the airwaves, making it a lottery as to whether or not those who feel they really need to find time to recover actually get the opportunity.
The chalets at Camber Sands are looking really dated now too, but in terms of the festival size and the type of event, it is functional. Rumour was they may be rebuilding it sometime soon anyway.
Bang Face Hard Crew…respect due! The atmosphere at any Bang Face event is what makes it special, and the weekender party crew show it is possible for 3000 ravers to join together and enjoy themselves without imposing on each other in any way. The full on party attitude of all who attend, mixed with the hardcore nature of the music on offer will always mean there are people going hard at it, but the vibe of the whole weekend is superb and we are always particularly impressed with the friendliness of all the staff on-site, from security and bar staff, to ambulance workers and organisers. We only saw someone get asked to turn the music down in their chalet once, and we wouldn’t be surprised if that was due to a distress call from a passing boat having trouble reaching the shore judging by the strength of the drum and bass being pumped out of one of the rooms on Saturday afternoon (there’s always one…). All in all, a great place to be.
After the inevitable craziness of the opening ceremony which sets the scene for the ‘Juracid Park’ theme, Luke Vibert takes on the challenge of raising the bar early with a Friday night laptop set in the Bang Room. Constantly switching styles and showing an inspirational choice of tracks in the mix at times, Vibert seamlessly takes us through old skool classics like Kick’s Like A Mule’s ‘The Bouncer’ to hip hop treasures like Silver Bullet’s ’20 seconds to Comply’ in a flash of the crossfader. DJ 3000 and Urban Tribe fill the Face Room with the sounds of Detroit early Friday and Aux 88 provide the electro highlight of the weekend. From 2am the the dubstep bass takes over with 16Bit, followed by The Bug providing some quality beats for MCs Daddy Freddy and Flowdan to do their stuff to.
Saturday started with a fascinating live set from Kelpe, before the Queen Vic was taken over by another up-for-it Vibert and Ceephax back to back session. A tweaking acid set from Hardfloor proves difficult to beat in the end though, and some rave era flashbacks in the form of Ratpack bring back some old skool memories.
Sunday is always a bit different at Bang Face, often with something a little more unusual added to the pot, and when Killa Kella is on his own, he shows off some clinical beatboxing skills. Plaid show off their latest AV project, while The Orb produce an incredibly intoxicating hour long journey through deep resonating bass and glitchy echoey electronics, blending ambient sounds and barely recognisable snippets and elements of their tracks with thumping beats reminiscent of the Aubrey mixes, before settling up at the end of the night with the classic Rocker’s Revenge track ‘Walking on Sunshine’. Another great lesson in soundscaping from The Orb.
The organisers have gone out of their way to fill this year’s line-up with the perfect balance of old skool rave pioneers and new up and coming underground dance acts. As a result, it is difficult at times to tie yourself down to a particular room when the schedule in all three is just flat out with quality, but because the alternatives are just a short jaunt down or up stairs rather than a trudge across a muddy field, this is never a problem. The choice of music overall shows great knowledge and passion on behalf of the Bang Face crew, and they deserve respect for it. Can’t wait to see who they come up with next year.
The range of slogans the Bang Face crew plaster around the place has reached epic proportions, and T-shirts and banners reading things like ‘Rave Slag’ or ‘I Look Shit on the Dancefloor’ always help keep a smile on your face.
The beautiful sunshine again all weekend.
The volcanic ash cloud disruption in the build up to the festival unfortunately meant the usually loaded Bang Face welcome packs were looking a bit sparse this year, as delays meant a whole load of goodies were still making their way from abroad.
Also, rumours of some opposition to the play on the ‘Jurassic Park’ logo that was the flag for the dinosaur theme running throughout the weekend, meant one of the favourite T-shirts were in short supply. Bloody lawyers…it’s just a bit of fun?...and they look so cool!
Every year the pool party never ceases to amaze, with any festival weariness quickly replaced by childhood regression. Everyone seems to get this compulsive desire to scream and jump around amongst the mass of rave themed inflatables, splashing like you’ve never even seen a swimming pool before, let alone be let loose in one on your own. Even the artists were affected by the infectious mayhem, with the 2 Bad Mice DJ inadvertently diving into the shallow end of the pool and cracking his head open.
The on-site ambulance crew navigate their way round the chalets on what looked like seriously pimped up quad bikes, and their colleagues pose for pictures with Bang Face smiley faces drawn in tape on their rear window. It’s good to join in…
Review by Matt Cook
This article has also been published by Virtual Festivals here
© 2006-13 Image Creation Corporation. All rights reserved.