| Waveform was a wicked festival. Generally the people were really chilled and friendly, it was hassle-free, and the music was crisp, loud and banging.
I was expecting a big glade-style festival - large crowds and heaving dancefloors. With only about 2000 people though, it was pretty small, and when I first checked out the dancefloors I admit I was not impressed, particularly with the archangel stage (where most of the breaks was and where I knew I would spend most of my time) which was the smallest main arena and tiny in comarison to some festival stages. However, this minor problem spawned three massive advantages which made the festival so good: 1. You could walk from one end of the festival to the other in less than 10 minutes - even in the mud - which meant no long missions to get something back at the campsite. 2. If you lost your mates you would inevitably bump into them again shortly. 3. It created a really cool intimate vibe that ive never felt at a festival before. Besides, when the music is good it doesn't really matter what size the tent is.
Apart from a couple of nobs selling overpriced laughing gas the crowd was probably the friendlist ive ever seen at a festival. The security were also really chilled- upon arrival they greeted us in a friendly manor but barely checked our wristbands, let alone considered searching us. About half an hour later we were sorting various lines out and some security people approached with a full view of what we were up to, asked us how we were doing and then just left us to it.
Waveform this year was set in a beautiful green countryside location. A big green hill loomed over the whole area which was cool, and with a short walk up to the top you were gifted with a beautiful view over the whole festival and beyond. The odd seemingly wild horse impressively darting around the steep slope was also a nice touch. There was some tasty organic food on offer in the 'Organic Food Emporium' (I particularly liked the Indian/Chinese place offering chinese style chicken samosas), and some good homemade beer and cider available from the bar.
Walking from the campsite there were 4 main arenas in a row- Project storm (techno, dnb, hard trance), the Tribe of Frog tent (all things psychadelic and dressed up in typical ToF style), the Archangel tent (breaks, dnb) and then tucked into the corner of the festival finally was the main stage, which had everything from psy-trance to reggae bands to minimal blasting out from its brilliant speakers-big up Opus Pocus for some amazing sound. The other tents boasted good systems as well. Archangel had the infamous funktion one which never fails to blow me away. The Tribe tent had the music at really nice volume- loud and crisp without being offensive. The 24 hour music license for saturday night was also a massive bonus and something more festivals defintely need to imitate. Stand out acts for me were the Equalizers with some fat and energetic electro / breaks, Subterra with some dark late-night dnb, and of course the mighty Far Too Loud who came on directly after the fairly ridiculous 'Earth Dance' and smashed it with a live set showcasing their mind-blowing psychadelic take on breakbeat. There was also some really good pys-trance, probably some good hard-trance (although I personally wouldn't know), and for all the minimal lovers out there, I heard some really cheaky sounding stuff pumping from the main stage which im sure was jokes. On top of this there was also the Cats Cradle stage, a little tent with a bit everything, offering a chilled escape from the main throb of the festival. Basically, there was great music of all varieties on offer at any given time so you could nearly always find what you were looking for (without of course going on a long trek).
In fact, there was only one major problem with Waveform- during the day the crowd were generally much more up for chilling than dancing, which meant the tents were often quite empty. This was particularly the case with the main stage. There were times when some brilliant reggae bands were playing out in the sunshine on a great system and only about ten people were taking any proper interest, which to me seemed almost criminal. Perhaps the organisers need to think about the positioning of the stage- being the furthest from the campsite it is quite easy to get drawn into another tent on your way, even against your intentions.
There was also the mud. However, whilst it did get quite muddy there was still plenty of grass to chill out on and keep the place attractive, and anyone who had been to Bestival the week before would have felt blessed in comparison. You cant go to an English festival and complain about the mud, especially give then time of year.
Waveform was simply very fun and very easy- easy to find, a short queue to get in, short walks about the place, really good drugs in abundance, and plenty of good music. At just £78 a ticket plus the fact that its possibly the last festival of the summer, there really are no excuses for not showing up next year!
Reviewed by Henry Letts & photos by Isla Macleod
Labels: breakbeat, breaks, Dub Step, electro, English countryside, festivals, techno, Waveform