Cocoon In The Park
Saturday 13 July
Temple Newsam, Leeds
5 years have passed since the stage was put up to hold the very first Cocoon in the Park, and on the 13th of July 2013, the time had come once again to welcome label boss Sven Vath, Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin and Craig Richards to Temple Newsam in Leeds.
Last year saw rather a lot of bad weather cause stereotypical festival sights like half naked mud slides and even drinking water out of wellies. This would sometimes discourage people to go back to some events with the risk of it happening again, but not at CITP. An army of ravers gather here whatever the weather and dance right until the end. This year though we were blessed with a scorcher right from the off so that summer feeling was certainly shared throughout everyone who attended.
Walking down to the arena from the car park you can hear it before you see it, and the bass was solemnly shaking the ground as we rounded a group of trees to reveal the stage (which was back at the bottom of the field, where it’s best). It’s a great sight to see and as soon as we made our way through the ticket booths, we made our way down to the front half to see Craig Richards opening the day. It was still only just before midday, but this wasn’t holding him back. Keeping the tempo down slightly, it was chunky and deep music that the fabric frontman was delivering, and with the odd addition of acidic stabs it was bursting through the Funktion One rig with the force we wanted to hear.
Ricardo Villalobos took the phones and his presence enticed a heard of more punters to head down to the very front, including ourselves. Having seen him play before I still didn’t feel I’d seen the man everyone says he is. This time round however I was impressed. The rumour mill was spinning later on and apparently Villalobos had had over half his records lost whilst making the journey over, leaving him with only a handful to get at. Considering this and looking at what he produced, it made me wonder what was possible in other circumstances. The basslines were now rolling and tracks like Lil’ Louis’ ‘French Kiss’ with it’s mid tune slow down, was getting the hands in the air whilst cheers were flying onto the stage. There was only one moment in his set that I wasn’t sure about which was a build up tool which looped a few too many times, but that wasn’t hard to ignore and didn’t ruin anything as watching him flamboyantly tweak filters and levels was really entertaining. As he came to the end of his set he received a rally of cheers as the monitor speakers were moved to make way for the next giving.
Having not played in Leeds over the past few years, when the news was announced that Richie Hawtin would be playing Cocoon In The Park this year the buzz around the town was ecstatic. There was a lot of anticipation for this set and having not seen Hawtin before myself my expectations were high. In a nutshell, I got what I wanted. Unforgiving, driving techno that was filled with groove and vocals that would give small children nightmares. The digital sound at times was incredible, and the build ups he created through echoing reverb did his reputation justice as the whole arena erupted for the whole two hours he was on. More Richie in Leeds please!
The time then came for Papa Sven to take the reins and close the event with 5 hours to do it in. He started playing tunes that still had a slightly housey element but this didn’t last long. As the sun set and the lighting came on he cranked up the speed and brought out a hell of a lot of very mean music. Explosions of bass and metallic FX cascaded with the pyrotechnics and fireworks that triggered in unison with the drops. Sven’s usual behaviour was also great to watch, waving his records around and egging on the crowd to go as mental as possible! Towards the end, somehow a crowd of people including myself ended up being brought over the fences onto the stage for the final hour of music. This was a very special moment for me and I’m sure everyone else as I have never been able to look out over that many people before, simply just having the greatest time they can. DJ Rolando’s ‘Knights Of The Jaguar’ faded in and Sven thanked the crowd before finishing for another year, but most definitely not the last.
Finally, I don’t think anyone who was there will think this review will be complete without a mention of Sven’s brother who came along with him that day. A non-stop trooper who danced away all day. I for one thought it was a brilliant spectacle and I hope we see more of him in the future! For me this was my third time at Cocoon, and frankly I thought it was the best so far. I hope this is an event that can last many more years as it excites so many people both in Leeds and up and down the country.