At this stage it’s been well documented that the sheer density of festivals on the market has made it more vital than ever that as an event, you stand out from the your competition. Whilst supply doesn’t necessarily make demand a guarantee, if your event offers something of a high enough quality and the marketing’s effective enough, the chances of success are going to be high. Luckily enough for Eastern Electrics and those who invested in the all-new South London offering, on paper this looked like an offering that was well worth the investment.
With the festivals seventh edition boasting a lineup that catered for a varied selection of musical tastes, having relocated south of the river, a lot of the talk in build up revolved around whether the move from Hatfield House would be a good one and, of upmost importance, was it going to be any good?
With this in mind, we’re going to run through the all-important facets of a festival that should be taken into consideration to ensure a smooth and all-round solid experience. Which boxes did EE tick? We run the rule below.
First comes first, we’re not going to beat around the bush. This UK summer has been nothing short of shite. We had about a week of glorious sunshine in June, which – barring a couple of random days – then seemed to pack its bags and head elsewhere swiftly.
For a site that demanded a good 15/20 minute walk from Morden Station, it was crucially important this day wasn’t a wash out. Quite significantly, during a period of heavy rain, the day’s obligatory downpours came early. Despite getting caught en-route during downpour numero dos, once that subsided, the sun god’s shined blissfully across the largely uncovered festival site for the remainder of the day. As a result, the festival’s signature Switchyard and main stage brought the majority of the days highlights with ravers to bask in the rays until sundown.
Whilst the majority of the festivals previous editions has been housed at Hatfield House, the grounds hardly boasted space and/or the necessary remoteness to ensure effective sound levels. What Morden Park does offer is remoteness, vast amounts of space and significantly, a hidden gem of a festival site. It was hard to not be impressed by Morden Park, and for those (like ourselves) who are so used to heading East for our musical fix, the easily accessible and sleepy stop of Morden offers an excellent new home not simply for EE, but hopefully for many more festivals (those at Brockwell Park first spring to mind) who are so often left with their hands tied due to their more central location. With a sell out 17,000 people in attendance and not a stage full of squashed ravers to be found even at maximum capacity, Morden Park is a certified winner.
Looking at London one-dayers, with the likes of Sunfall catering for the ‘heads’, Southport and 51st State for the mature soulful raver, and Junction 2 for the techno crew, Eastern Electrics is ticking just about every other box. The main stage – with Carl Cox, Darius Syrossian, Alexis Raphael, Nick Curly and Waze & Odyssey – shifted between house and tech house. Hot Since 82’s ‘The Switchyard’ lineup ensured those looking for a smoother, more minimal soundtrack were catered for. Skream’s Sreamizm ensemble pounded out a slightly harder hitting offering of tech house, whereas those looking for garage and UK bass were found at Rinse FM’s lively arena.
For us, highlights came from Denney at the VIVa stage, the one and only DJ Pierre at the VIP tent, Dennis Ferrer at Skreamizm and of course, the king Carl Cox who – in his native South London locale – gave a triumphant 2-hour masterclass in techno and house. The latter’s performance as the sun set was undoubtedly one of the summer festival highlights, in our view.
As mentioned, for a lineup that offered the likes of Art Department, Carl Cox, Hot Since 82, Skream, Dennis Ferrer, DJ Pierre, Butch, Ame…considering earlybird’s started at an attractive £25, there was definite value for money here. Going up to £55 and £79 for VIP, for a day of entertainment that started from 11am through till 10pm, it’s no wonder 17,000 ravers ensured a sell out in advance.
Too often festivals will book incredible line-ups, then ruin them by reducing artists to measly one-hour sets on weak systems, restraining the potential of the talent on show. Having bared witness to that at several festivals – both weekend and one-dayers – prior to this, what EE has to praised for is ensuring the level of sound across all stages was of decent level and quality. With the likes of Skream, Hot Since 82, Steve Lawler and the master himself Carl Cox headlining across the festival, the predictable outcome as a London festival would be the sound being limited. Not here.
Although not of the level of Junction 2 (which no UK festival can compete with, by the way), this has to be up there with the best level of sound of all the UK’s day festivals. Witnessing the likes of Dennis Ferrer, Guti and Carl Cox absolutely tearing up their stages with depth and volume across the site made this day a genuinely enjoyable one.
For a festival that’s had its ups and downs, the move to Morden Park has undoubtedly given EE a new lease of life. Despite an early downpour, the sun came out to set the vibe with revelers clearly out to have a good time in unison. Whilst the production wasn’t overly elaborate, an impressive level of sound ensured sets on the day from the likes of Butch, DJ Pierre, Denney, Hot Since 82 and the untouchable Carl Cox (visibly in the mood – celebrating his birthday) made this edition one of the most memorable in its history. Crucially, the uncertainties that may have hung over the festivals quality and overall importance from certain corners have now all but been squashed. Roll on 2018!
Tickets for 2018 will be on sale shortly, head to the website for up to date info here.
Words by Mikey Corrighan. Photo’s by Entirety.