Review of Moondance Festival and talking about all things UK Garage…
Last week I saw some of my favourite garage acts at Moondance Festival and those of you who read my Craig David at Koko blog will know how much I love Garage Music.
Despite listening to many music genres over the years when it comes to UK Garage it enters your mind your body and soul; I just can’t live it alone.
It all began for me, back in The Empire days (Nightclub in Milton Keynes), which had an area called The Spice Room, playing the slickest garage beats to entice us Leighton locals out of the burbs on the train to the city of Milton Keynes. Bar Med was also a great choice for garage hits on a Saturday night and I hold fond memories of both venues, which helped form my taste in music. It makes me sad to think of The Empire closing down as well as the numerous other nightspots across the country, with most recently Fabric Nightclub under threat of being demolished. I made so many lifelong friends at Empire and can’t imagine life for those entering adulthood not having a local nightclub to go to discover new music.
That said, thank God for festivals which have given music as well as UKG a new platform and in the last twelve months I have seen UK Garage come back in a big way. Never would have I thought I would’ve seen the legendary Dj Ez at EDC this year.
Last Sunday I attended Moondance Festival, located at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. I hadn’t heard of the festival prior to the ticket release but with the promise of my favourite UK garage acts and a day of dancing I didn’t hesitate to buy a ticket for a meager £27.
Despite celebrating my birthday the night before, I woke fairly early and met up with my fellow ravers to get the train into Stratford Westfield.
On arrival I fought the immense temptation to hit the shops at the shopping centre and followed the others past the new West Ham Stadium and The Orbit. The day was bright and sunny, just what you needed for a festival and it was a pleasant walk from the shopping centre to the Olympic Park.
After the obligatory bag search and pat down we were in; now to decide which tent we were going in first.
It was a no-brainer for me given the Garage acts on offer and after grabbing a swift drink from the bar (no queues hooray) I entered the garage tent to the sounds of Mc Kie wooing the crowd. Oggy Oggy Oggy and away we go 5-4-3-2-1-zero!
It was an amazing atmosphere in the garage tent and I saw the hours literally fly-bi (no pun intended!) I even managed to get to the front to see MC Kie and loved hearing his tunes live, having had the likes of Flow and Love Come Down on my playlist for years. If you haven’t heard these I’m sure you would’ve heard Fly-bi with MC Sparks (r.i.p) – check it out here.
Following Mc Kie was Dj Luck & Mc Neat who never disappoint and sound exactly as they do on my beloved Kiss Dj Luck & Mc Neat Present cds, which are to this day my favourite garage cds. Seeing me enjoy the garage flow, Mc Neat even mimicked my dance. What a legend and he was just as good live as when I saw them at the nightspot formally known as Cookies & Cream in Milton Keynes.
Artful Dodger were amazing and really stole the show, getting the crowd going and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen them live before.
My only disappointment was that Mc Vapour and Special Mc ‘Mark da ruff da Ryder’ weren’t on set as scheduled. I was hoping to finally seeing them live…
The Smiley Raver himself, Chris Evans who had previously wrote about club culture in his Marmite Axe Murderer blog, was having a banging time in the Techno tent. Highlights included Joey Beltram and Ratpack Vs SL2. Talking about the event he said it encompassed a variety of music genres “putting on a show for ravers of many generations. Getting fellow promoters such as Promised Land, Epidemik as well as Garage Nation to celebrate dance and rave culture made for a kicking event; the beats were flowing all day.”
The crowd paid homage to Ratpack Vs SL2 during the track Raving, I’m Raving, an old rave tradition where ravers take one shoe off and hold it up in tribute to the DJs and MCs.
After prising myself out of the garage tent after nearly getting in a tussle with a girl over the possession of my glow-in-the-dark horn📯 we all found ourselves in the old skool jungle tent.
The old skool drum n bass pumping out of the tent was immense and took me back to listening to Dreamscape tapes with the one and only Mc Charlie B.
Talking about the Jungle tent, my calves literally ached for days after the bouncing I did in the that tent! What an amazing experience and festival, I will definitely return to Moondance Festival if it’s on again next year.
To top it off on our way back to the tube we were spoilt for choice with the vast amount of eateries on offer. Luckily, Amy B spotted a van called Steakout at Westfield and I must say my rib-eye steak with chips and gravy was de-licous! Just what I needed after a day raving and a bargain at £7!
Its great to see the comeback of UK Garage legends and if I can rub two coins together I will be sure to check out the Wideboys at Wonderworld Milton Keynes this Friday for Garage Nation. I love their mix on Get Darker available here.
If like me you’re a garage head, check out my Garage playlist on Soundcloud.
More importantly, sign the petition to save Fabric and with a little bit of luck…we can ensure this classic nightspot doesn’t close its doors.
Anyway, this was Jazzy-B on the M-I-C!
Do you like garage music or have any festival recommendations? I’d love to hear from you.