The origins of rave born again at United Festival

Drum and Bass | Monday 28th September 2015 | Osh

Our rich dance music history gives us reason to once again congregate and enjoy the classics that shaped a generation and gave birth to some of the worlds best deejays out there today.

Part of the Found series, United Festival is aimed to cater for the 90’s rave generation who grew up listening to the emerging sounds of inner city beats and classical rave anthems which have now become staples in our much famed rave scene. Entering its second year, United fills the gap for yesteryear's retired ravers who probably planed weeks in advance, co-ordinating their busy lives and calling in baby sitting duties, all so they could attend this mammoth shindig with some of the most respected promoters that helped start it all in the first place.

The United main stage played host to some legendary figures from the UK rave culture. Original drum and bass godfathers, Fabio and Grooverider, sound boy DJ Hype alongside the raver’s choice, Ratpack, 808 State with Brazilian bad boy DJ Marky and the legendary MC GQ rounded off the proceedings to a packed main arena, ironically ending his set with Goldie’s 'Inner City Life'.

Walking in during General Levy’s live PA, the energy that was omitting from stage was, well, incredible. The general himself had bundles of energy performing a buoyant version of his hit single with his charismatic vibrations getting the crowd hyped and energised for the closing set from Marky and GQ. The atmosphere here was something you couldn’t really create at one of today's inundated festival events. The mature and urban crowd were all keen to party and not afraid to shake a few limbs, even if it wasn’t as quick and graceful as in their heyday. This horde where out to do some hard Sunday afternoon boogying and I suppose with age, you might be less concerned about what people around you might think and shed some of your earlier inhibitions throwing some shapes like you were one of Janet Jacksons backing dancers whilst off your tits on MDMA. This might have expained the “wavy one trainer in the air” ritual, whilst in admiration of your favourite garage deejay’s nostalgic set.

If there was any gripe to be had about the main stage, then the sound levels during the finale for DJ Marky and MC GQ could have been considerably louder. This location has suffered sound level problems in the past due to its populated location, but with GQ and “yours truly” harassing to sound guy, he dutifully complied and turned it up by a few decibels, even though it could have done with a whole lot more.

Around the corner, the One Nation gang brought the wobbling bass lines via a noticeably louder PA system for the “jump up for the squad” who were in full effect. Hazard, Brockie, Magistrate and Logan D were some of the names gracing the line up. One Nation are renowned for some of the best drum and bass parties up and down the country, and today was no exception. There always seems to be a new generation of youngsters who embrace the jump up sounds of drum and bass with all it’s emceeing folly, and they were certainly representing today, all eagerly leaping around and crying out for that all important reload.

Growing up on a healthy dose for hardcore, jungle and drum and bass in the 90’s, some of the golden era’s connoisseurs came together to give us that all important trip down memory lane for Moondance. The diverse selection of anthems which spanned from 1988 to 1997 kept a lot of of the faithful in great sprits. AWOL’s Paradise legend Randall stepped up with drum and bass’s first lady, DJ Storm, bringing some of the old school Metalheadz beats that created a whole movement when they used  to occupy the Old Blue Note on Sunday nights down at Hoxton Square in the 90’s.

Jungle legends also executing their craft on the day were Mickey Finn, Top Buzz, Kenny Ken B2B Jumping Jack Frost, which we were gutted at not being able to catch, but with so many arenas and deejays on offer, there was literally no time to be standing around. We made a beeline over to the crescendo of singing voices which could be heard coming from the Twice As Nice tent. These guys were having it like a Bank Holiday Sunday night down at Vauxhall's Coliseum. On stage, a well dressed and refined Robbie Craig was in full PA swing, capturing the vivacious pack with his sultry vocals as he performed a plethora of bangers that used to rule the capitals airwaves two decades ago.

With all the arenas all laid out quite closely, it didn’t take long to check out what else was cracking. Keeping the same formation as Found's Ceremony Festival the day before, you could easily find everything required within a reasonable distance without feeling to overwhelmed by the mass of partygoers who are all busy darting from tent to tent. There were ample dispensers/booths to get drink tokens, but only a few took plastic, though the queues at the bar didn’t frustrate and flowed in and out quite nicely. Unfortunately, this didn’t offer any comfort when I reluctantly spent twelve pounds on two single shot brandy and coke’s (served up in a small 7-ounce plastic cup). I could have refused, but with this being the signature drink for any old school garage trooper, and the Twice As Nice crowd heavily representing, it would have been rude not too.

With United, Found have once again championed our rich and diverse dance music heritage and delivered a celebration of rave music and its culture to a core market of mature and enthusiastic clubbers that prove they are still up for the party. The atmosphere was epic, even if some of the sound systems were not.

United Festival’s tribute to rave music gave the youngsters in attendance an insight on the raw and contagious vibes from yesteryear and to dance to music from artists and deejays which helped build the 7-billion-dollar industry it is today. Essentially everyone we spoke to, or were able to comprehend, had an excellent time, with most expressing that it was great to have one event that covers so much of the diverse sounds which were around at the beginning. United Festival delivered a great festival for a niche market of ravers who can teach todays partygoers a thing or two about having a good time, even if that does mean waving one Nike Air Max in the air for the reload.