Lotherton Hall was the setting this past weekend’s showcase. Leeds seems to provide many a memory in our illustrious world of dance music. Hailing from the empire that brings you the huge Mint Club and Mint Warehouse shows not to mention Cocoon in the Park, Mint Festival was another feather in the preverbal cap and this time they wanted to tick all the boxes when it comes to the genres of music. As more bases were covered this in turn meant that that the faithful audience arrived in their droves from the early start of 11am.
As they arrived they were they were welcomed by a flat festival site nestled behind the old house and lush gardens of Lotherton Hall. As well as the usual festival offerings of burger vans, fluoro stores, jokes shops and ice cream vans, there were also five huge tents, all covered, each offering a very different musical perspective. Plus a VIP tent with special bar and laidback beats playing all day and night long.
Following on from the very welcoming greetings and mandatory body search, getting into the festival is organised and seamless, allowing you to get straight into the music (once, that is, you have stuffed your pockets with the tokens you must buy to then exchange for drinks at the bars in each tent). As we arrived around 3pm we were already hit by the huge bass coming from the Blacklight arena, so it would have been rude not to hit that tent promptly. Birmingham’s finest techno head Surgeon was making sterling work of the Funktion One speakers stacked either side of him (as they are throughout each venue) to hit us with some driving and groovy beats.
Moving throughout the day, the next few hours are spent skipping between tents, from the jump up and maximalist sounds of the Bigger Than Barry vs Jungle Jam tent to the US house and garage tinted resident sets in the Asylum arena. Greg Wilson and The Revenge added their own impact with some old school disco with a modern twist. Soul Clap are one of the many guests in the System & Flux tent, dropping their usual blend of sexy deep house and R&B before NYC stars Wolf & Lamb take charge, playing a few tunes each before swapping over control. Seth played his part later in the evening, but it was his birthday surprise that had everybody in uproar as the organisers greeted him with a very special birthday surprise not to mention a rendition of happy birthday from the 3000 strong crowd.
On the brink of releasing his fabric mix CD, Ben Klock the Berghain resident, applied a deep and subliminal, stripped back brand of meditative techno that had the floor of the Blacklight arena marching in unison. Screens behind the star projected all sorts of technical imagery from ‘access denied’ messages to the inner workings of motherboards, adding to the experience overall. Adam Beyer also played a huge part in the Blacklight arena with huge drops adding more of a funky side to the usual techno mega drops. The big Swede never seems to fail.
I managed to get around to the Bitch tent finally after the other amazing acts had finished. Eddie Halliwell, the Wigan born stalwart entertained with his famous heavy basslines. Strobes and video screens provided the backdrop for what was a truly energetic performance from the heavy hitting Eddie, married with an amazing interaction with the crowd the Bitch arena was one I should have spent more time in.
Review by Natasha Remmington
Images courtesy of IGR::Photo