Written by Carl Mumford
The weather remained kind to festival goers who flocked in their thousands to the fourth year of We Are FSTVL on 28th & 29th May 2016. We covered both days of the event which saw the likes of Fatboy Slim and Steve Angelo headline over an array of different music across 16 stages. I arrived on the Saturday around 4pm and was pleased that the entry to the event was fast, safe and managed well with plenty of We Are FSTVL team to help. I wasted no time in making my way to the ‘Rumors’ tent where the first lady of dance music ‘Cassy’ was laying down some grooving tech house in the form of ‘Mathew Jonson – Level 7 (Dixon Remix)’ and ‘Technasia – I Am Somebody’ to name a few notable tracks.
The festival was split in to five zones, ‘Ancient Realm’, ‘WHSE District’, ‘Favela Fiesta’, Disco Tropics VIP’ and ‘Island Hideaway’. The Ancient Real area held the main stage, ‘MK’s Area 10’ on Saturday and ‘Defected In The House’ on the Sunday. The WHSE District was home to the techno warehouse for ‘Used+Abused’ on Saturday and ‘Cocoon’ on the Sunday. The Favela Fiesta held the ‘UKF’ tent, ‘Hospitality’, ‘Paravana Project’ and ‘LoveJuice’. The Disco Tropics VIP was home to some intimate gigs where legend Todd Terry could be seen playing to a small intimate tent of VIPs. The VIP area held ‘Pukka Up’ and ‘Glitterbox’ on the Saturday and ‘Clockwork Orange’ and ‘Cuff’ on the Sunday. Finally Island Hideaway held ‘Rumors’ and ‘Half Baked Records’ on the Saturday and then ‘Paradise’, Abode’s ‘Do Not Sleep’ on the Sunday. See a full line up of who was on and where below:
I then moved on to watch ‘Hannah Wants’ who had drawn a large crowd in MK’s ‘Area 10’ tent which had seen ‘Catz n Dogs’, ‘Tensnake’ and ‘Oliver Dollar’ playing earlier. Hannah who was also scheduled to play at the Amnesia opening party that evening continued to show why she has grown over the past few years. She is set for a residency at Amnesia this summer so you will not have a shortage of chances to see her doing what she does best. She had the crowd cheering to tunes including ‘Nathan Barato ft. Sasha Brown – Talk On’. Her set was full of tense build ups and bouncing drops that rocked the rammed tent.
Next I moved on to the dark techno warehouse which I was highly anticipating. Outside the large silver structure were some dancers in nuclear gas masks which set the mood for what was waiting inside. I was treated to some intense house and techno from ‘Loco Dice’ who played ‘Eats Everything ft. Green Velvet – The Duster’ in amongst his set with deep yellow, red and orange lighting
I then headed over to the main stage where I watched Sigma get the crowd bouncing to ‘Chase and Status – No Problem’ with some strong vocals to suit. The crowd were moshing to their hearts content as the sun set on the first day.
Having interviewed Norman Cook aka ‘Fatboy Slim’ for Uneek last year at Creamfields I knew what was in store for the crowd as the headline act took to the stage to close it out. His ‘Smile High Club’ did exactly that to the crowd who were jumping to ‘Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat’ and ‘. Strong pyrotechnics and trademark, almost scary digitally created faces enticed the crowd to stay to the very end.
I made my way home and made sure I got some sleep as the line up on day 2 at We Are FSTVL showed that we were in for a treat. I met my pals at the pub in Upminster which was filling up nicely as the punters started to flock from the station to the site. We Are FSTVL provided complimentary shuttle buses which were plentiful to take you from the station to the grounds. The team had thought of everything as little touches, like signposting We Are FSTVL on the train signs which ensured punters were able to easily find their way to the site.
We arrived about 1pm and it was time to throw the clock back a few years and watch Craig David perform his classic songs ‘Rewind’, ‘Seven Days’ and ‘Fill Me In’. It was a refreshing break from the norm and the crowd were clearly loving singing along as Justin Bieber ‘Where Are U Now’ was thrown in to bring out the Beliebers in us all. Craig David shows he has still got it, well, he has always had it but I think it shows we are going to see a lot more of him this summer.
It was now time to head to the mouth watering tent that was Jamie Jone’s ‘Paradise’ which boasted a line up including Richy Ahmed, Patrick Topping, Maya Jane Coles, Hot Since 82, Marco Carola and Solomun. From beginning to end the Paradise tent was full with fans who knew exactly what they were going to get. Ibiza’s ‘Music On’ and ‘Paradise’ fans were wowed as the music masterclass unfolded in front of them. Patrick Topping laid down ‘Denis Sulta – Time 4 Prayer’ early in the day to lead on to an ‘Ants’ favourite ‘Maya Jane Coles’ who followed up with a melodic set including ‘Pedro Goya – Matrioska (Unik Remix)’.
I walked over to the press area where I bumped into Sam Divine who was just arriving with her manager Jess Bays. i had an interview booked later on that evening, but Sam said she was happy to do the interview there and then which put me on the spot! Sam being as lovely as she is on every occasion I have met her, had a good chat with me about what the summer held. We spoke about The Redlight at Sankeys and how Defected will be making an announcement about their time on the island soon. Sam told me a little about how her label ‘D-Vine Sounds’ has gone from strength to strength and what track she gave a shoutout to. Thank you Sam and your team for helping us out, it’s always appreciated.
It was then time to move to the other side of the festival where the ‘LoveJuice’ tent was packed full of ravers dancing to the beat of ‘Bongo Ben’ and ‘CJ Cax’ who wowed the crowds with their instrumental skills alongside the vocals of ‘MK – Burning (Vibe Mix)’ and a track that always goes down well ‘Robin S – Show Me Love’. This tent proved to be one of the most popular and I can see why, they smashed it this weekend.
I was now heading back to the ‘Paradise’ tent where I got to see a master at work, ‘Marco Carola’ the man who has played for 24 hours straight recently took us back to the Terrace in Amnesia for Friday’s ‘Music On’ which was up there with my favourite nights in Ibiza last year. The crowd were clearly in love with Marco as he delivered his driving tech house beats. One fan let him know his love for ‘Music On’ by brandishing this poster:
During my interview with Sam earlier I had asked if I could join her on stage to take some photos during her set and she obliged. I watched Sam deliver her unique sound to a packed ‘Defected In The House’ tent who was then followed by Sonny Fodera. The tent also hosted the likes of ‘Armand Van Helden’, ‘Riva Starr’, ‘Franky Rizardo’ and ‘Andrea Oliva’ play. Check out some shots from the time I spent there:
Sam’s mix of vocal house and tech house had everyone moving and singing along to tracks like ‘Cloud 9 – Do You Want Me Baby (Dusky Remix)’ before ‘Sonny Fodera’ took over to finish off the night.
I head back to the main stage just in time to see EDM superstar Steve Angelo close out We Are FSTVL for 2016. He played tracks that took us back to the days of ‘Swedish House Mafia’ and also those from his new debut solo album ‘Wild Youth’. A fireworks display then closed out proceedings for another year with a lot of tired feet walking home. We Are FSTVL puts Essex on the map as the place to be to start your summer. Thank you to the team who answered our questions, escorted us around and made our weekend enjoyable. We will be back next year! You can register your interest for 2017 tickets on the We Are FSTVL website, here.