A festival is all about music and the people that you meet along the way – both travelling to and from the venue and upon arrival. The ingredients are relatively straightforward; great people, music that turns your bangers to mash and – in this particular case – blindingly beautiful sun and sea.
Wakestock 2011, Europe’s largest Wakeboarding Music Festival, set nestled on the magical Cardigan Bay in North Wales was my home for the weekend. Arriving at the Marina I felt compelled to follow the energetic, uplifting beats of Dash, the boardwalk DJ whose tunes inspired the boarders to fly high and the crowd to let loose.
Not to mention the fearless individuals, who – attached to a board half their size – were being dragged alongside the bay by a high-powered motorboat, each eager to outdo the previous. These riders engaged in somersaults that made onlookers want to grab a stranger’s hand just to convince themselves of the fact that gravity still exists.
Mexican waves, gasps and the occasional applause followed as the riders, all muscle and brawn, carved a path out of the wake just metres from the pier. The crowd, intermittently silenced by the searing sun and acrobatic tricks on display, consisted of people of all ages – it seemed that everyone in this sleepy part of the world had come out to play.
Armed with an ice cold coffee and a big smile following a conversation with a friendly elderly lady at the coffee stand, I decided to venture up the hill to where the music was happening.
Every festival is guaranteed to have that special moment when the tunes flood the tent, the feet beat the earth, the mantle is thrown down and the weekend vindicated. That special moment happened on the West Stage, one of three vast tents that proved to provide more entertainment than The Moscow Circus.
Little Comets impressed me from the start with their percussive instruments hanging from a washing line across the stage, all calm before the storm ahead in what lead singer Robert described as a “disproportionately sized tent” (it wouldn’t last!). Playing songs from their album – ‘In Search of Elusive Little Comets‘ – the moment they powered into their Cure-esque opener, these guys made me feel like a teenager again.
Blasting through their set and bursting off the stage, this was a band who were there for the same reason as their fans: having fun and living the music. No fillers or contrived stage banter for the Comets; oh no, this band let the strength of their songs and their passionate, energetic delivery do all the talking.
By their second song, the wake of their banging riffs washed over the crowd, out of the tent and drew in a hundred-fold more, until we were a sea of arms, jumping and dancing. Little Comets had the same energy in their set as a thousand bottles of Lucozade and I’ve never seen a band have so much fun on stage.
certainly contenders to fill the gap that Razorlight left behind with their intelligent, well-structured Paul Simon/Passion Pit-esque rock songs, but without the annoying frontman. The gig capped off much as it had begun, with the self-fulfilling, self-explanatory and electric “This is the dancing song”. Thank you Little Comets for lighting up my universe.
An impossible act to follow, or so I thought. Then came the Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (TEED for short, but why ruin such an incredible name!) Big, big bass-driven tones that hit you in the face and forced the dance out of you like a popped cork; even the most nervous of dancers felt compelled to try out their dinosaur dance moves.
This one man and his eccentric stage presence, topped by his fantastic Native American head dress, totally restored my faith in my dance moves. In the mesh of my own energy and that of my newly acquired festival friends I could only think it ironic that the only thing to kill the Dinosaurs was Comets. Either way, TEED’s throbbing, quick and relentless sound had us dancing about as if we’d trekked all the way to the end of Wales just for him.
The next few hours stood testament to the uniqueness of this festival – we danced ’til we dropped to drum ‘n’ bass band Sub Focus, awakening to the sonic boom of an RAF jet plane looping and diving above our tent and subsequently spending the night flattening the North Wales earth to the echoed anthems of Biffy Clyro.
Congregating by the tents with our neighbours often felt like an eternal game of cat-and-mouse; a constantly evolving clan drifting from stage to stage, dancing till we had nothing left, then starting all over again. And then when the music finally sounded off for the night, we’d return to our tents, form circles and sit around bantering ’til the sun came up over the ocean.
As far as music went, this festival had it down – varied, energetic and always enjoyable. But that’s not all this place had to offer – whether it be hanging at the pier watching the wake-boarding, those seconds between sets under the stage lights, or chilling out back at the tents, the people not on the stage were the real stars of this festival.
Turning up at Wakefest all on my lonesome, I left with enough facebook details to launch a small (dancing) army. There was only one way to summarize this festival – “this one’s for dancing”.
Cougar Microbes attended Beach Break Live 2011 as part of Lucozade‘s Play Festivals campaign. Make sure to check back as we joinLucozade in bringing you more events through the summer.
The Elusive Sancho