Mid July in Leeds means one thing for thousands of clubbers who annually flock to Temple Newsam, a stately home just outside the city centre. It is here they gather in front of a single stage to witness greats of house and techno playing through the day and evening for Cocoon In The Park. Now into its sixth year after a special fifth birthday celebration last year, the Cocoon team came back as always with label head Sven Väth, as well as Seth Troxler, Apollonia, Ricardo Villalobos, Enzo Siragusa and system residents Annie Errez and Bobby O’Donnell.
We were delighted to find that Saturday the 12th of July brought with it a beautifully sunny morning with no clouds in sight. Given that the event started at 10am we wanted to arrive in relatively good time, so after an early rise we justly prepared ourselves and made our way to the arena to start the day. As we entered through the gates, Enzo Siragusa was finishing his performance that was already building the crowd near the front of the stage. His slow-burning bouncy beats had quickly heated up the atmosphere along with the rays of sunshine that were shining upon the whole field.
As 1pm ticked by, the Londoner was replaced with three familiar French faces that were Dyed Soundorom, Shonky and Dan Ghenacia. Having made appraisable appearances in Leeds both together and separately over the past year it was a pleasant surprise to hear they were playing on Cocoon’s stage this year. Now with a hefty number of people dancing in front of the Funktion One stacks there was a shared happiness amongst one another, a feat that makes Cocoon In The Park one of the (if not the) best days of the year. The music that was beating with the thousands of fists was of the style the trio is so well at blending, some highlights including a 909 loving number that let us know ‘This Is It’ as well as the Dyed favourite, Projeckt PM’s Audio Visuals, which dons a triple beat that is cut through with rattling percussion and a rolling synth.
Ricardo Villalobos was next to take to the stage and the first few tracks saw the energy brought down to a length of minimal styling that is heard on many of Villalobos’ own material. After a creative quarter of an hour that unfortunately involved a cut in power, the Chilean quite simply began to blow the place apart.
The remainder of his set was a whirlwind of euphoric hands in the air house and techno that was finished with an awesome demonstration of why Ricardo is considered amongst the worldwide elite. An unknown, intense builder that heralded a foreign speaking vocal was cut with Adamski’s classic Killer, which was dropped in and out in perfect timing until the full transition was eventually made. As Seth Troxler entered the booth the two exchanged pleasantries before the Detroit hero took to the turntables.
There was now a cooler air about the place, but this certainly wasn’t the case with the music as the evening crept closer. Seth begun with a driving start that dipped and dived into darker territory before climbing back into awesome crescendos with gems like Sharam’s Tripi that he has championed at many gigs around the world. His ever-flamboyant finger flick and focus on the crowd kept us all immersed in his music that proceeded to see the sun slowly begin to set. As Seth neared the end, Cocoon spearhead Sven Väth proceeded to flick through his records and choose his weapons to close the evening.
Väth came on to huge cheers both for the finishing DJ and the German who is warmly welcomed to Leeds each year Cocoon In The Park takes place. In the way that pathetic fallacy describes the change of emotion with our surroundings, as the sun set the techno was slid out of the vinyl sleeves and spun on the turntables, getting darker with the sky. Tracks like Dark Science’s Rust and Reboot’s Samson provided driving bass and huge built ups that made the most of the pyrotechnics and fireworks that exploded from the stage. The Cocoon dancers were in their element and Sven’s provoking of the crowd with his celebratory attitude was proving successful at getting the crowd roaring. With the passing of 9pm the weather took a turn for the worse as the heavens opened onto the still strong crowd of dancers. Rain might mean it’s time to go home for some, but not here as the masses took pleasure in jumping around awash with rain droplets whilst the music pounded on, and this ecstatic atmosphere lived on until the dying minutes of the festival.
Another day at Temple Newsam has passed without disappointing. Every year we look forward to Cocoon more than all other events on the Leeds calendar, and we were again reminded this year of why. All that remains to do now is ride out the winter and look forward to Cocoon In The Park 2015.
Words by Josh Plews
Images courtesy of Daniel Watson Photography