Sundown festival- by far the coolest thing to happen to Norfolk in a long while. Main stage, headline acts that wouldn’t look out of place at any of the larger festivals, as well as a tent dedicated to House music and my regular readers will know that I am going to be all over that!
We started our day early, picking up fellow YAYA family members Dilly, Meg and Bowman and trundled slowly over to Norwich, and the breakfast bbq that waited for us at Heather’s house. Living just round the corner from the Norfolk Showground, she had decided that it would be lovely for us all to meet up there first and walk over for about 1:30, just as it all started to happen, and in time of course for what the BBC call the next up and coming Dj, and YAYA’s personal friend, Cristoph’s set.
Sundown itself is pretty much what you would expect from a local festival; there is only one stage and one tent for example; however, saying that not once did I feel like I was at a ‘family’ event. There were enough fairground rides so you were never in a big queue, plenty of stalls dotted around for you to look at and have a good time in (the shisah tent was by far the most popular form the looks of it) and there seemed to be just the right amount of people for an amazing atmosphere, without anywhere being too crowded.
I will warn you, if you decide to park off site and walk down to the entrance,be prepared for a 2 mile trek. What looked like it would take 10 minutes actually took us nearly 40 but with the group we had with us, the time passed quickly in a blur of excitement and goat noises (its a long story!)
Now, house music has become quite mainstream lately, with the UK chart being dominated by a more upbeat house tempo, think Keisa and MK, and pretty much every festival this year hosting some kind of house genre stage, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when big boys Defected Records dedicated a tent to their labels front runners. Any one who loves house music would be excited at the line up you see to your right and I was no exception.
Copyright were in full swing when we arrived, and you could hear the deep bass lines pumping out their bpm heartbeat across the fields and teasing our ears as we lined up at the ticket booth. Considering we arrived just after the gates opened, we were through within 10 minutes which is amazingly organised and headed straight to the bar. Now this is where I feel Sundown lagged behind. As it is advertised as a ‘family’ event, and allows underage people to buy tickets, their bar policy had to be stricter than the usual festival. However, I and many others, felt that a ‘one drink per ID’ policy was shockingly strict and also time consuming and there must be a better system in place if I am going to order a beverage next year. People that were clearly over 25 (one man was old enough to be my dad) were still asked for ID and refused service if they didn’t produce, and because every ID holder had to be seen at the bar, the time it took to get a drink was ridiculous. I waited for over 40 minutes to be told that I was only allowed to buy one beer at a time…..and at the grand old age of 29, this is not what I call bar service.
By the time I had gotten my drink and made my way back to the tent, Cristoph had taken to the decks and the closer I got, the more deep his set got. I squeezed my way through the crowd to find the YAYA crew right at the front, hands in the air, two stepping and stomping away as usual. He smashed it, as always, with some very deep beats and it brought back memories of YAYA‘s first event at Kartels Norwich, when he dropped ‘So High’ by ShadowChild and the whole room got to the floor ready to jump up on the drop. Didn’t happen this time, but it’s very hard to get a large tent full of people to all do the same thing at the same time!
After Cristoph was Shadowchild, and I have to admit, this has been a big one on my ‘too see’ list. We have kept missing each other him and I, for an entire season, and it was getting to the point where I was residing myself to the fact that I would never get to see him live. There are no pictures of Shadowchild as I was far to busy soaking up the music and dancing my little heart out! He was everything I wanted him to be and I was not disappointed at how long I had had to wait to finally see him dj.
Next up was Sam Divine……..I will admit, I am not a fan of female dj’s; on the whole, they lack the grime and cheekiness that I need for a dj in order to be impressed, and I will admit I used her set as a chance to go outside and get some air. Mark calls it ‘handbag house’ and I agree, however I will point out that this is purely personal preference. Her mixing was bang on every time, her set was smooth and seamless and the rest of the tent was going off to every drop, so this is not a criticism on my part.
During her set, we took a break from the tent and headed over to the VIP area behind the main stage. Fellow YAYA family members Alex and Jodie were working on their bagel stall for all the celebs and we wanted to go and say hi and, let’s be honest, have a bit of a snoop at how the other half live 🙂
I will say one thing about VIP areas……..pretty quiet. Every one I have ever snuck my way into has been a little, um, flat, and you can see why a lot of acts like to come and ‘slum it’ with the normal folk out the front…so much more going on.
After using the lush toilet facilities, we headed back out and made our way through the crowds back in time to watch Breach perform. We were all very excited about this one,and immediately we submerged ourselves into the crowds and raised our arms ready to be massaged into submission by the vibrating speaker stack and the undoubtedly sub level beats.
I’d seen MK last year when I travelled over to Croatia for Hideout Festival and had been impressed by his remixes of current pop smashers and his set had given me some great memories; over a year later though and still hearing him blasting out the same tracks put a bit of a dampener on it for me, and it seems the rest of our group so we started the long walk back to Heathers to get changed and pick up the equipment we needed for that nights YAYA at Gonzo’s.
An hour later and four taxis, we were all reunited at Gonzo’s Tea Room, ready for round two. Lee and Stu had gone ahead, so by the time I arrived, the music was already going strong and there was a nice sized crowd that had followed us over from the field to the dance floor. Head of Digital for Defected, Matt Brawn had agreed to be our headliner for this more casual YAYA event, and his set was flawless, although a little risky at times. A remix of Black Eyed Peas was a miss with me, but Mark said after he understood why Matt had dropped it; reading the crowd is a big part of being a dj and as I am usually in the crowd, its hard to understand that they play for the whole room and not just you sometimes.
Resident YAYA dj’s Lee, Dilly and Stu all took their turns on the decks, and Mark and Ben went back to back to finish the night off.
We left at 4am, after packing up and headed back to Lee’s for a little chill down. Crumpets and cups of tea and talks of the day saw us through till sunrise and we all went to bed exhausted but smiling and very proud of Norfolk and the amazing event that they had put on.
For More Information on YAYA, including their next event, headlined by WAIFS & STRAYS visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/355606167922293/
For more information regarding Gonzo’s Tea Room, Norwich visit: https://www.facebook.com/clubkartel?ref=ts&fref=ts
Defected Records: http://defected.com/
Did you go to Sundown this year? If so, what did you like/dislike about it? What was your greatest memory of the weekend? Will you go next year?