Soundclash Completes 2016’s Festival Season
In May 2015, Soundclash exploded onto the festival scene, wowing crowds on the sound coast with an impressive sound system, hyped atmosphere and contemporary dance lineup. The festival was nominated for Best Dance Event and nearly scooped up the prize for Best New & Best Small Festival in the 2015 UK Festival Awards.
The fourth edition, but the second at their new, larger site, Soundclash fell on Saturday 1st October, at the Somerley Estate in Ringwood, attracting festival-goers still desperately grasping onto the last dregs of summer and 2016’s festival season. I, being one of them, headed to the festival with a bottle of premixed vodka and lemonade, and a mind full of anticipation to listen to the heavy sounds of Andy C, Wilkinson, Pendulum and many more.
The first thing that impressed me about Soundclash was the free shuttle bus service, which could be booked in advance online for different time slots. Following previous feedback from attendees at former events, the travel had been an issue that had put me off going to this small festival, but the efficiency and organisation of the buses this time around made our journey easy and affordable.
As we walked through the woods, which led up to this fantastic site, various basslines echoed, increasing the awaited excitement of what would be our last festival of the year. Although the ambiguous queue to get in seemed daunting, we were searched quickly upon entrance by friendly security, and entered through the gates, skipping to the dynamic dance tunes and heading straight to the bar.
Standard festival prices of a fiver-a-pint or spirit and mixer were expected, but the bar staff were efficient, chatty and fun. The queue went quickly and we headed off to explore the small yet bustling site. My first impressions of the layout were that it was very simple, a few large tents and a main stage with a couple of funfair rides; this left little to the imagination. However, I reminded myself that the focus of Soundclash Festival was it’s notably excellent lineup not its added content. So, we inevitably headed to the drum and bass tent.
After dancing to the jittery set of SMD, we headed to a new tent at Soundclash. This was none other than Isle of Wight Festival’s very own Electro Love tent, which made a special appearance at the festival for those who fancied a break from the sometimes intense dance music. We sang and danced to cheesy 80’s classics, appreciating the disco balls, vibrant lighting and smiles. Shortly after, we headed to get some food before the night fully began. The choice of cuisine was not the most varied, but if you are not fussy, some chips for £4 went down fine. After all, this was a day festival, so a diverse amount of food vans were not number one in our priorities.
We caught the end of Low Steppa’s set at Bournemouth night club Halo’s stage. The Birmingham House DJ had the crowd waving their arms and shuffling, hyping everyone up for the rest of the evening. Next up, we headed back to the dnb stage (Andy C Presents) for Culture Shock, who had the whole crowd skanking and bopping until the respected Wilkinson came onstage. He played many of his hits such as ‘Too Close’, ‘Dirty Love’ and of course, ‘Afterglow’, with many people clambering onto their mate’s shoulders to attempt to catch the lasers during the last song – a memorable and uniting experience for all.
We stayed for the famous Pendulum DJ set, an act I have been meaning to see many times over the summer, but had always missed. Their set was full of energy and flashing lights, after opening with ‘Tarantula’, the crowd were uncontrollably wild; non-stop dancing and skanking to the vibrant beats their set was one of the highlights of Soundclash for me.
It was time for the headliners to take the stage and please the eager crowd of 20,000 people. Groove Armada mounted the main stage and played a few classics to an energetic crowd, with spectacular visuals in time to the music, which created a real show for everyone who danced and sang along.
On the other hand, I found myself eagerly awaiting the legendary Andy C. I had high expectations of the renowned drum and bass figure and hoped his set lived up to what it was hyped up to be…they did name the dnb tent after him after all. Thick smoke leaked onto the stage as he walked on and took to the decks. His set definitely did not disappoint me. Andy C captivated the whole crowd from start to finish, playing banger after banger and using his incredible skill to show what drum and bass is really about. I stayed for the entire two hour-long set, and found myself screaming alongside thousands of thirsty dnb heads for Andy C to come back on stage afterwards and feed us more jittery beats.
With all of my energy gone, I headed to the Switch tent to be met by some mellow tech/house with an exhausted crowd swaying to the distorted lighting. It was at this point I felt that Soundclash Festival was over for me, and we headed back to queue for the buses, which was at first what we thought an incredibly long wait, but after being redirected to the Bournemouth queue, we hopped on the next bus and were home before we knew it.
Soundclash Festival was the perfect excuse to dance in a field with your mates, if you’re still chasing the ends of festival season and can’t quite face the forthcoming winter months that lie ahead. The experience was definitely what I expected; a good dance music festival with a simple mission to provide maximum fun and for everyone to enjoy the music.
Site Setup 6.0
Festival Communication 8.0
Attention to Detail 5.0
Creative Content 5.0
Value for Money 7.5