Review – The Social Festival – Taxis, trains and techno

Now in its 3rd year The Social Festival is one that prides itself on an offering of quality house and techno music. This year was no different and had arguable its biggest line up to date, right across the board offering a who’s who of A-list DJs. The location is Maidstone in Kent has proved a solid home for the festival. Having previously read about the last two years of success I decided to embarked on a day trip to the south east of England for a smorgasbord of quality electronic music.
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After a run of some dismal weather my eye browser spent a lot of time on the weather forecast sites in anticipation for the weekend’s event. Much to our delight we rose on the Saturday to find Mother Nature was a good mood. Living from North London the journey to The Social festival in Kent isn’t exactly across the world but with the line-up on offer throughout the day, we wanted to get stuck as early we could London public transport permitting.

One had several options to get there due mainly to the fact there are three rail stations, so in the end we choose to go via train although group taxi down have been a viable option too. Once we arrived, a mere walk of approximately 20 minutes to Mote Park, took to you right up the main entrance. One there I enquired if the event had sold out, which I was told it did, but I cannot officially confirm this. A capacity of estimated 10000 it definitely came close to doing so. Entry I must say was an absolute dream although we decided to go down for a reasonable of 2 or 3pm my thoughts were most had the same idea but the crowd was not too big and cues moving along effortlessly.

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Once in and wristbands sorted it was time to do some recon on the festivals setup, before getting into the music. In total there were four main arenas and one VIP arena hosted by Abode. In the midst of this were your token festival rides and funky stalls no surprises there reasonably priced. But the two most important facilities are always access to drink and toilets. I can safely say here the festival organisers did a very good job and neither was overrun or an issue. Many festivals I have been too in the past can fail here and in some respects can wreck a person’s day. So kudos to the organisers in that respect.

So after beer and sight-seeing were done it was time to head into one of Spain’s biggest exports Paco Osuna as he was taking the decks in ‘The Barn’. Paco’s sets are renowned for his groove. He seems to mix elements of a Latin influence and techno with a modern flavour. Always some bell, shakers or whistle giving it a flowing carnival feel. This set up the tents atmosphere nicely for the forthcoming quality acts ahead. Next the take the reins was Rodhad. A DJ who name has risen steep and fast in the techno world and who I have seen a few times this year. As always he didn’t fail in delivering the highlight of the day for me, been when he dropped ‘Knights of the Jaguar’. The roof nearly came off the tent.

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Very much in festival mode I decided to go check ‘The Meadow’ arena where German stalwart and Diynamic Records owner Solomon was beginning. It was my first time seeing him live although have heard and read so much before I was curious to see what the fuss was about. Very much a different vibe to The Barn he offered up a more melodic vibe to proceedings but very well received no doubt. That was the beauty of this festival I felt you could walk into any arena and it would be quality house or techno something which is now rare to the rise of EDM as festivals.

Now as the sun began to set, I headed towards Seth Troxler who was playing in the ‘Bamboo Village’. This arena was pretty funky and really digged it I must say. The atmosphere here was also very excellent and I must admit throughout the day has some great laughs with other reveller. Trying to appease all my musical tastes I stayed for about half of Troxler Detroit infused style to head back to Dubfire.

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Although I am slightly biased as I am fan of the harder style of techno I was eagerly looking forward to heading back to there and when I walked in the Sci-Tec label boss was in full flow. The crowd, music and visuals were all on form and darkness had descended. As Dubfire weaved through his trademark style of stripped back minimal techno, I tried to weigh up of how to spend my hour and half so decided to move back towards ‘The Meadow’ to Marco Carola and then close the day off with Richie Hawtin. Sometimes been spoilt for choice with such a quality can be tricky and the day passes you by trying to decide on who and where to go to.

 

I quickly made my way over to Carola who had taken to the stage. His entourage know had completely taken up the background and looked as busy as the dance floor. Having followed the Italian since the 90’s I have seen his style evolve to what it is today. His minimal house sound has embraced Ibiza with his ‘Music On’ nights. Whilst I moved and grooved to the Neapolitans now infamous sound I quickly realised, it was time to close out this excellent day to none other than Richie Hawtin. As I returned to the ‘The Barn’ for the final time, Hawtin was in big room techno mode. His trademark layered looped techno and drum fills was there for all to say and the visuals and lighting complimented the music perfectly.

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As we made our way back to the last train leaving for London, everyone seems very content with the day. Maybe my one issue could be the sound been dropped its seemed, as the sun set. Mote Park is very much within a residential area so I guess this will always be an issue. All in all the day was a success and would like to thank all involved for putting on a well organised electronic music festival. See you all in 2016.