BASSFEST: THROUGH THE EYES OF A BASSHEAD
Saturday the 4th of August was one very hot, sweaty, and heavy celebration of everything bass. Of course, I am talking about the Bassfest Summer festival. Artists and fans alike swarmed the Sheffield arena for one day to get together and party hard, showcasing some of the most interesting artists in bassline, dnb, UKG and more. I had been debating whether or not to go for about 3 months and was finally swayed when the line-up was revealed!
After a 7-hour drive (all the way from Cornwall), we arrived at our hotel, buzzing to get our festival garms on and to the site, where we’d spend the following 12 hours skanking our hearts out to some of our favourite DJs. We wanted to get there early to avoid queues and to familiarise ourselves with the site which consisted of 5 arenas; Distortion; Wired; Off Me Nut; Crucast; and the Danza x Sunken stage. Each stage hosted at least 11 hours of the best selection of DJs, fulfilling every bass heads wildest dreams.
We arrived, and after accidentally walking through the production entrance, finally found the main entry point where we were greeted by no queue: which meant our day was starting out good. Like the alcoholics we are, we stocked up on a selection of beer, and headed to the dnb tent where Annix graced the stage with his presences. Annix wasn’t afraid to drop some heavy jump up at midday, throwing in some exclusive and older bangers that set the audience up and gave them a taster of the day’s antics. We wandered for a while, soaking in the festival atmosphere and getting a bit too much sun (my shoulders are still red now) before arriving at the Crucast tent. Sirrah was the first act on and got everyone pumping, playing well known wobblers for a good 2 hours.
It was at this point that we decided to get right into the action and headed back for the dnb tent, where Problem Central were performing. Logan D, Evil B and Eskman treated the crowd to a set that can only be described as surprising; mixing older and well known with newer pieces, creating a beautiful melody that attracted every head to the tent; transforming it into an uncomfortably hot sauna. Granted, there was enough room to throw shapes, but by the time Problem Central were on their last track; we were all sweaty messes.
The first 2 sets we had seen had got us pumped, but we hadn’t heard one of the most defining songs within the industry, Tour. We were surprised, as in Bournemouth (where we both go to uni), Tour is the song that everyone knows and is played 4/5 times in one night by the same DJ. We decided to bet on how many times Macky Gee’s Tour would be heard; I said 20 times throughout the day, and Harry went with a safe 10. We shook on it and decided that we’d stay within the drum and bass tent to watch the Guv’nor of dnb (DJ Guv)... who unfortunately was late for his set at quarter past two, so HizzleGuy stepped in. The enthusiastic and very theatrical performance by HizzleGuy brought energy levels up far more than we anticipated. We hadn’t planned to watch him, but we were drawn in, and decided to lend our ears to him for the next hour.
Duggan’s wavy basslines exploded out of the speakers, swaying the entire festival site. I had initially stepped outside to cool down, but I was equally as sweaty moving to Jamie’s set. With that, I ventured back into Crucast’s corner for Darkzy, Window Kid, Skepsis and Bru-c. First up was Darkzy, with WindowKid hyping the crowd to the brink of boiling. I had never seen WindowKid live, but I had seen the scenes that he had teared up since his first solo hit, TBH. He was still hiding the ‘ting’ but seeing him perform TBH a couple of times during the set was pure good vibes. Midway through the set, Darkzy dropped a fitting tribute to Sheffield in the form of Artic Monkeys. This wasn’t a mood killer; it just caught me and a few others off guard.
Skepsis and Bru-c emerged and took over on stage. The combination was delightful. Knowing all the bars Bru-c was laying down was a highlight. The MC really knew how to keep the crowd going after a very long day of wavy dancing. Big ups to these two, but as I was so invested I forgot that Kurupt FM were on.
Grindah and Beats were controlling the scene and Steves was on decks, spinning some groovy original Kurupt tunes and some underground, flawless tracks. Their performance was something to rave about, literally. A full-on act of comedy and talent. I had only managed to catch the last 15 minutes of their set and wanted to end my day with Hedex. I thought I was worn out at this point, but I managed to scrape the bottom of the barrel and felt re-awakened by him. I was blown away by his crazy mix of all things dnb. His unique sound is unforgettable, a true highlight of the day, and a great way to end one of the best days a bass head could ask for.
Big ups to the DJs who performed! Much love to the attendees and massive respect to the event organisers for putting together such a beautiful event.
Bassfest will be back on New Year’s Eve 2018, for more information check on Wired Events.
P.S. We only heard ‘Tour’ 5 times during the whole day, safe to say, I lost the bet.
August 16th 2018
The crowd started to get rowdy at this point, and the sauna gradually turned into a full-on mosh pit, pushing most of the crowd into a bundle of topless lads bashing into each other (I was of course one of them).
At this point that we decided to bounce back to the Crucast stage to get comfy for two sets that we had wanted to see all year long; Bushbaby, and the dnb superpower that is SaSaSaS. I had first seen Bushbaby support Pendulum at the Bournemouth based Bedlam in January, and since his release of the Fire EP, I had become a fan and a member of his Leng Movement. His set did not disappoint. We were too busy to realise that the tent had filled to the brim by this point, all in time for SaSaSaS, and that’s when things started to get rowdy again. This powerhouse doesn’t need an introduction, and this being the 4th time of me seeing them this year, I knew we’d be in for a treat. There was one song in the set that caught our attention though, Phantasy’s God Plan stood out as one of the most superior songs in their set. After the hype of Goof’s God Plan; we were hungry for more, and this track managed to fill the void boasting a mix of the entire song, not just a drop. The blend was so good we added it straight to our SoundCloud’s so we could re-live this moment for months to come. Unsurprisingly, Anthem and Where the Drums At made an appearance, but Mad didn’t. To me it was a disappointment because I rate that almost as much as their other dubs. We realised that after this set we had an opportunity to see the underrated, but highly talented Bassboy in the Distortion tent.
Bassboy’s original sound came out of nowhere, with much of his set being his own tracks. Everyone in the tent knew what was coming, however, this wasn’t a bad thing: as all of Bassboy’s wobblers have his unique sound and are easily distinguishable from other bangers of the same genre. I advise you that if you have never heard, or have never given Bassboy a chance, do it. It was towards the end of his set that he stopped, rewound one of his final tracks and gave the crowd a treat as he launched himself straight into the mosh pit, just like Holy Goof did at Made Festival a few weeks ago. As you can imagine, the mosh pit at this point had become uncontrollable, with everyone pushing for Bassboy, including myself.
We decided to take some time out to rest after Bassboy’s monster of a set and started to plan our evening. We ventured into the VIP tent to chill out, and only went and bumped into Skepsis. We chatted for a while before heading back into the Crucast tent, just in time for Holy Goof. Goof brought a lively stage presence with him, communicating with the crowd vocally as well as through his mix. As consistent as Goof has been over the past year, I couldn’t help but feel like this set felt a bit different, but not in a bad way. Goof was treating the crowd to new and exclusive tracks, some of which I couldn’t name, others which I couldn’t fully hear. I couldn’t tell if there was a technical fault but I couldn’t hear the music from the back of the tent. Goof went b2b with Jammo from My Nu Leng and treated us to a new collaboration. The highlight from Goof’s set has to be the drop into Flux Pavillion’s dubstep banger ‘I Can’t Stop’; I felt like I was 15 years old again, listening to nasty dubstep in my box room back at my Mum’s yard.
After reliving my teenage years, bopping to some of the oldest, and most sacred tunes out there, I wanted to get some fresh air, and headed straight for the outdoor Wired Stage. The bassline boss Jamie Duggan was jumping on with a truly great mic controller, Slick Don, after all; we couldn’t go to a festival in Sheffield and not see Duggan perform…