The UK’s almighty and conquering dance festival
Global Gathering 2012

It’s no secret that Global Gathering is considered by many to be the UK’s premier dance festival. Having just entered into its second decade of existence, and consistently playing host to generally the world’s most fêted and talented DJs for its initial ten years, who can argue with them?

Spanned across seven stages, each playing host to different record labels on separate nights, it’s impossible to ignore Global’s unequivocal relevance to anything that can be even loosely termed “dance music”. From the main stage aficionados through drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep devotees to the never-let-it-die trance hounds, there’s invariably something for everyone.

With the exception of very few, this year’s raving frenzy provided an eighty thousand-strong crowd with a series of indubitably awesome performances – a process instigated by a crushing live set at the hands of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosuars in a very busy Electric tent. Breathtaking by name, breathtaking by nature, the Oxford-bred twentysomething’s hummable set combined waves of electro-pop complemented with portions of Euro-house and 2-step beats that set the tone for a manic night of electronic mayhem.

Fakeblood hammered out a deadly set, thrilling fans with crowd-pleasers ‘I Think I like It’ and ‘Mars’ while finding plenty of time to showcase new tracks from new EP release ‘Yes/No’. Following that Annie Mac took to the turntables and delivered a typically galvanizing set cascading with electro and dub anthems that have earned her a solid place amongst anyone’s list of acts to see for the night.

Exploration into the neighbouring UKF tent proved unfruitful, as our ears were laden with what sounded like a cross between an inkjet printer attempting to digest one of those god-awful cheeseburgers on sale outside and that horrible, piercing noise you hear when you accidentally dial a fax number. Cheers for that Skrillex. We made a swift exit and hurried along to the Rinse tent where Magnetic Man churned out a storm of electronic delirium to bring Friday to a close.

As well as being a glorified dance festival, Global, it seems, has unintentionally become the setting for the nation’s unofficial fashion parade. We awoke Saturday morning to find that the sun had finally put in an appearance, which in turn opened the floodgates for masses of festival-goers adorned from head to toe in neon coloured paint, donning fluffy boots and hot pants that can only be described as belts. And that’s just the lads. Ahem. No, in all honesty no one gave a shit about what anyone was wearing and the day got off to a thumping start with the likes of Brookes Brothers (although only one of them turned up) and Nu: Tone playing skilled and sundry sets to a bustling crowd in the Hospitality tent.

Over on the Metropolis stage, Shogun’s Friction smashed out a violent flow of ruthless, no-nonsense, hold-on-to-your-mate style drum ‘n’ bass that triggered a mosh pit the size of a golfing green. The sound system was nothing short of immense, and could clearly be heard above any other in close proximity when loitering outside.

Back at Hospitality, classy performances from label boss London Elektricity and the ever-masterful High Contrast succeeded in drawing vast numbers who stayed rooted to the spot in anticipation of the evening’s next act, Netsky. This is a DJ who has risen through the D’n’B rankings like no other, and after the release of his second album at the age of just twenty-three, is now performing a live band tour. The Belgian-born producer stood tall between keyboardist and drummer and played out an outstanding set to a rapturous crowd, dropping anthems such as ‘Love Has Gone’ and ‘Iron Heart’ before capping it off with an uplifting rendition of ‘Anticpate’ in which he actually sang!

Now, picture a giant, evil, terminator-style cyberbot sent back in time to wipe out the human race. That, my friends, is Nero. MTA’s devilish duo delivered an unforgettable and truly thunderous performance that shook the Metropolis stage to its foundations. The synths were huge, the drops brutal and the vocals provided by Alana Watson note-perfect. But what made the set was the unparalleled thematic set-up forged from debut album ‘Welcome Reality’ that left revellers in a dazed and spellbound state.

Rave-o-holics stubbornly refused to give in to the aching pains and the revelry continued into the early hours. Global Gathering has once again proven itself to be the UK’s almighty and conquering dance festival, and ticks our boxes for all the right reasons.

Words by Josh Taylor

Join us on VERO

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.

Follow Clash: