When it comes to club nights, festivals and even particular artists, reaching the ten year mark is a pretty impressive feat. Longevity within the world of music sadly isn’t that common, but there are certain characters and names that continue to remain solid on the circuit, with no signs of stopping. Sven Vath’s techno festival Cocoon In The Park is one of these reliable names you can count on, and it celebrated a decade of bringing its unstoppable 13 hour marathon (plus more if you count the after party) to the fun-loving city of Leeds this July.
Not only has it been based in Leeds year on year, but Cocoon In The Park has been held in the same beautiful location, Temple Newsam, for most of its legacy there. Other than that one, rogue, apocalyptic year when it relocated due to flooding of the fields, and further flooding commenced as the heavens opened during the height of techno mayhem, the sun has mostly shone down on Sven and the celebration of his label. This year was no different.
2018’s lineup included Annie Erez and Bobby O’Donnel, System residents who continued to play at the official after party, alongside Fuse mainstays Archie Hamilton, Enzo Siragusa and Rossko, who were also present afterwards.
With these artists starting this day off, we arrived just as Apollonia were deep into their set, with Recloose’s ‘Get There Tonight’ welcoming us into the sunny field of smiling faces.
Largely, our experience with the security at Cocoon has been positive, this year and years gone past, but rules regarding the size of our bags meant it took longer for us to make it past the gates than usual. Keeping crowds safe is great, though better communication of the rules, or procedures in place to help people caught out by them, would make the entrance even smoother.
Finally in and settled, the unlikely but brilliant duo of Seth Troxler B2B Craig Richards gave us our first full set of the day as we made our way down the infamous hill to get stuck in. Encompassing a mixture of rolling grooves and filthy techno cuts to make our hips shake, they glided straight into unexpected tunes such as the Happy Monday’s ‘24 Hour Party People’, before heading right back to business again.
When Tale Of Us took to the stage, the crowd grew in excitement, ready for the two hours of emotional bliss that followed. The atmosphere was clearly changing from upbeat, bouncy tracks to melodic, pulsating sounds such as Hrdvsion’s ‘Captivated Heart’ – perfect for taking us from day to night.
The great thing about Cocoon In The Park, which probably plays a part in its popularity, is the simplicity of the whole thing. One field, one arena, and two bars either side means there’s plenty of opportunity for roaming around and settling where suits – whether that’s right by the excellent quality speakers, gazing at the sparkly Cocoon dancers on stage, or further back, resting on the hill with more space. Wherever you choose, every track can be heard perfectly meaning the day can be as intense or laid back as preferred.
Naturally, Sven Vath closed the show, with a four hour set that enlisted us with energy to stay until the end, playing 2018’s track of the summer, DJ Koze’s ‘Pick Up’ as one of his final tunes. It might seem strange to choose such a housey, upbeat (yet slightly melancholic) record to follow suit from relentless techno warpers, but instead it was perfect. Smiles and hugs erupted all round as the crowd thanked their friends, old and new, for another fantastic day of dancing.
Alongside the official afterparty at Mint Warehouse, there were numerous other stellar nights to choose from to burn off any energy left over from the festival, for those blessed with enough stamina. A whole day of dancing in the sun was enough for us though, meaning our experience ended here. For fully fledged techno heads or those looking for a beautiful soundtrack for fun in the sun, Cocoon In The Park is a simple but highly effective guaranteed good time. It’s no wonder the festival now enters double figures, as strong as ever.
All images courtesy of Plastic Toast.
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