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Festival review: High Definition


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Putting on a festival the same weekend as Glastonbury is a risky move however HD managed to pull it off, scoring some big names across the six stages.

High DefinitionWith Essex fully embracing the deep house resurgence over the last year, it’s clear to see why HD was so popular; particularly the High Definition arena which saw the likes of Eats Everything, Justin Martin and Lee Foss DJ. A big part of the scene is the polarising shuffling dance craze and throughout the day you couldn’t turn around without seeing someone ‘cutting shapes.’ Whatever your thoughts are on shuffling, it typifies house’s mass appeal.

Of course there was more to the festival than house. Roses Gabor, who’s provided her vocal talents to Gorillaz and SBTRKT, stepped out on her own warming up the Digital tent with an energetic set. This included, to the security’s dismay, conducting a mini dance competition on stage with crowd members. Backed by her trustee DJ, the set saw her performing original material as well as reworking classics such as Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Fix Up Look Sharp.’

Not many artists can lay claim to have started their own genre but producer Joker is partly responsible for the dubstep offshoot of 'purple'. The Bristol man began the heavy bass proceedings with a mixture of purple, dubstep and hip hop that geared the crowd up for the rest of the day.

The ever reliable and consistent Oneman was up next, showing why he's one of the most respected DJ's in the game. As versatile as ever, Streatham's finest effortlessly delivered a fantastic set featuring the much lusted after Kowton remix of Jeremih’s ‘All The Time’ and Disclosure’s breakthrough remix of Jessie Ware's 'Running.'  

If you say UK garage, a name that immediately comes to mind is living legend DJ EZ. For over 20 years has been pivotal to the scene first on pirate radio and subsequently Kiss FM. As someone who listened to EZ growing up, seeing him do his thing in the flesh for the first time was an emotional moment. With the most crowd pleasing set of the day, EZ mixed garage and grime classics from yesteryear, whilst playing new tracks such as Royal-T’s smash ‘I Know You Want Me.’ A masterclass in not only track selection but in the art of mixing, EZ created an electric atmosphere that had everyone going  crazy.

Continuing the nostalgia, an energetic Ms. Dynamite took to the stage. From ‘Boo’ to ‘Wile Out’ she performed a variety of her many hits from over the years. The set also saw her debuting a reggae infused track so new it didn’t even have a name yet.

Away from the main arena, the jungle and drum & bass dedicated Epedemik arena won the award for the hottest tent. A quick swing by to see General Levy perform jungle anthem ‘Incredible,’ proved to be quite the experience as the crowd had unbelievable amounts of energy.  

Maya Jane Coles over on the High Definition stage produced the perfect soundtrack to the weather with a deep house, heavy set including her own tracks.  

Back over at the Digital arena the penultimate act of the night, Katy B flexed her vocal chords calming things down from the rowdier proceedings of the daytime. Backed by a DJ we saw her perform tracks from her debut album like ‘Katy On A Mission’ and ‘Easy Please Me’ as well as latest trance inspired single ‘What Love Is Made Of.’

Headline act Labrinth rounded the day off, pulling out all the stops with a full live band and an impressive light show. His cover of Tinie Tempah’s ‘Frisky’ which he himself produced was a particular highlight, showing off talent as a multi-instrumentalist. However in terms crowd reaction, it did not measure up to the earlier acts. 

From house to garage to drum & bass, HD had plenty for every dance fan. The Red Bull truck also often played the best in hip hop meaning that not only dance music fans were catered for. As well as the music there were several funfair rides, adding to the entertainment.

All in all, a combination of gorgeous weather and top notch music made for a greatly enjoyable day.  

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