After taking a break from the green fields last September, MiNT festival returned last weekend with a new location and another sell-out party. This year's event was held at Stockeld Park, which is nestled in woodland within 30 minutes of Leeds and according to sources, where adventure begins. The promotional video featured a maze, and although we weren’t expecting to have access, we were hoping to lose ourselves in the music. The festival site boasted twelve acres and a better entry system was in place to mediate the queuing time experienced at the previous event.
There were no queues when we approached the site and once inside we headed over to the System stage where Fuse duo Enzo Siragusa and Archie Hamilton were playing b2b. The pair combined tumbling rhythms and b-lines that are synonymous with the unique sound of the London based label.
The Edible tent, curated by Eats Everything, was our next destination and this was already bursting with party-goers ready for a taste of the action. Skream and Patrick Topping were the selectors on the decks and the pair are no strangers, recognised as two of today’s most prolific artists their high-octane set was full of energy. Their seductive sound had the arena charged with pulsating basslines accompanied with stunning stage production to create an incredible atmosphere. After some drinks we headed back over to the System arena where Seth Troxler was playing b2b with Craig Richards. We’ve experienced some memorable sets from the pair and they were soon in the groove again with a selection infused with ambient, hypnotic sounds that had us dancing to the beat.
Sasha was taking control of proceedings over on the Knee Deep In Sound stage, providing the crowd with unhurried buildups that transitioned into progressive big arena techno. During a breakdown someone managed to get stuck in the mud and as the tune dropped he vanished into the crowd cheering.
Going into the final hours of the day, we returned to dance amongst the shipping crates to another huge back to back, this time between the Chilean wizard Ricardo Villalobos and his Romanian prodigal son, Raresh. Performances from Ricardo at System including Cocoon in the Park and Mint Club have been well covered due to their sometimes controversial, but always captivating content, and here at Mint Festival, it was no different. The first hour and a half saw both individuals provide a whirlwind of bouncy, high energy tech house, with dips in and out of energy cutting break beats and Villalobos’ signature minimal flurries. We heard tracks like OCH’s ‘Love Unconditional’ and a very sweary, almost aggressive track featuring a repetition of the words “you’re the f***ing c**t” and similar paraphrases.
After this the tables seemed to turn to finish with a rather unconvincing thirty minutes of strangeness as what sounded like a looped half bar was skipped and changed at odd times (actually turning out to be Untitled - Snare Loop (CDJ Error Mix)), was brought in and out seemingly out of time, over one of the tech house stompers of the ilk we heard in the previous ninety minutes. We could almost understand what RV was trying to do, but trying to no avail this time round left a sour taste after an incredible first hour and a half. Raresh even seemed to disappear whilst this was happening and only appeared again right at the very end to blow kisses and wave goodbye. Although this particular Ricardo experiment may have not been a success, the performance from these two was still a great one.
The day was finished with a trip to the Red Bull Truck, which was on the way out of the festival, to catch Back to Basics regulars Gas House Kids closing the day. The energetic style that we heard earlier in the evening came back to us here as they played through tracks from Christian Burkhardt, Todd Terry and others, mixing heavy house sounds with techier edges. This continued to 11pm when the music came to an abrupt end and we headed into the night to continue the party.