I’ve mentioned it before but this weekend coming there’s going to be a fantastic mini festival up at one of the country’s most iconic party mansions, Baskerville Hall in Haye On Wye. Two of my closest friends, with whom I’ve been putting parties on for over a decade, have got together for Big Love!
Festivals such as Big Chill and Green Man both started at Baskerville and before BoomTown began, the team put on Recydrate The West for 2 years in a row there. There’s also been some legendary raves such as Fantazia, probably the biggest rave promoters of the early 90s. They held one of their first events there back in 1991 and they shall be returning to host a room at Big Love on the Friday night! I’m just hunting down some of the old rave gear from my youth but even if you weren’t on the planet back then, raid your parent’s wardrobes or get onto Ebay quickly and dress yourselves accordingly, it’s bound to be lots of fun with the likes of Kenny Ken,Easygroove and Shades Of Rhythm playing.
Other takeovers come from some of the more current party promoters from Bristol and Cardiff such as Alfresco Disco, Groove Theory, Blue Honey, City Bass and Mood, all well known for pulling in friendly and up for it crowds. They will be representing on the more House and Techno side of things with DJs such as: Telephones from Norway (now based in Berlin); Francis Inferno Orchestra from Melbourne; and of course my boys Bodhi who have been putting out my favourite Black Butter Records releases in a long time recently.
Bump N Grind will be in one room on Friday night rinsing out the 90s RNB classics, but they will also be joined by my old friend Richie Vibe Vee, who I grew up with in Cardiff when we were both deeply into Hip-hop (he was a rapper with Best Shot) but then I also linked up with him much later whilst I was living in Swindon. Him and his brothers were the V2 Crew, the first people to introduce me to UK Garage with their nights at Brunel Rooms. Richie then went on to host the UK Garage show on BBC 1Xtra when that first started and also played at the very first Big Love that Matt and I put on to raise awareness for Oxfam‘s Make Povery History campaign back in the mid noughties, still one of my favourite events we ever did.
Of course what Matt and I are up to now with Big Swing Sound is also represented with the Vintage Remix Ball on Saturday night. Joining us shall be the oldest (Electro) swinger in town and pioneer of Electro Blues, Ecklektik Mick (for those who didn’t know, Mick is also Matt’s father-in-law though he surprised us all by making a name for himself in the scene even before we did, absolute legend), plus our good friends Johnny Southside and Rumpsteppers, who are always tons of fun, as well as being one of the acts to watch right now on the Vintage Remix tip.
If that’s not your bag then my other brother Matt aka Mevs aka Snowskull will be representing with me as Chrome Kids there on the Sunday with some of the most exciting Welsh electronic producers and DJs around right now such as: Elmono, previously known as Monky and currently signed to DJ Pinch’s Cold Recordings label; Flameholder, previously known as Ruffstylz and one of the Brotherz Grimm alongside Dregz and I; Alfie Swan, who stole the show on our last Chrome Kids night, such a talent; Phantom Island, another of the city’s relatively unsung heroes of the futuristic beats; Oisin, who has rocked every single set I’ve ever seen him play (some sets going on all day) from Buffalo to BoomTown; and DJ Comfort from my Astroid Boys family, one of the most respected names on the Cardiff club circuit right now.
I’ve not even scratched the surface when it comes to DJs at this event but I also wanted to focus on a few of my favourite live acts that they have playing over the weekend.
Ibibio Sound Machine
I’d already crowned ‘Let’s Dance’ one of the top tunes of 2014 before I realised that my Aussie brother Tony Trombony was in the group (and had in fact played me some of their early demos whilst in the studio some months earlier), as soon as I found out I tried to book them, but after their appearance on Jules Holland and plenty of BBC 6Music play, even with a man on the inside they remained out of reach for ages. I eventually booked them for BoomTown last year and they rocked the Old Mines stage! They’re one of the best African fusion bands around right now and I was very happy to hear they’d been booked for this.
Wrongtom Meets Ragga Twins
Ragga Twins are a British institution and Reggae Owes Me Money is one of the most influential albums for me and the UK dance underground in general, so I was chuffed when Wrongtom told me he was working with them on a long drive up to Somersault Festival a couple of years ago.
With a classic 80s nod to his sound, Wrongtom is one of the greatest Dancehall producers in the country at the moment and although the album (set for release on the seminal Tru-Thoughts label) still hasn’t arrived (he actually got me to Somersault festival an hour late for my set on our first meeting, maybe this was a sign) there are a couple of tracks floating about and their live show is everything you would want it to be and more, taking the brothers right back to their Reggae sound system roots.
Beans On Toast
I first heard of Beans On Toast when I caught him supporting Lois & The Love in a small backstreet Shoreditch pub. I had an office round the corner and had popped in after a last minute message from Lois’ sister Jaime. Sadly the gig ran late and I couldn’t stay for the main set but I loved Jay’s set and even though the only songs I could remember afterwards were MDMAmazing and the follow up Children Of Bedford, I knew I’d be seeing more of him in future.
The last show I caught was in December, also in London, when he sold out his headline show at Islington Assembly Rooms. By this point I’d become familiar with nearly all of his tunes and have put him on at BoomTown the last few years in a row. His Sunday afternoon slots on The Old Mines feel like they could become tradition and last year drew a crowd there that only John Butler Trio could hope to match. For me Jay is one of the most important Folk singers today and he’s great fun live so make sure you catch him if you can.
Soom T & J Star
Another couple of BoomTown favourites to make me feel at home. To be honest I can’t think of any tunes these guys have done together but J Star has been Soom’s tour DJ for a little while and she is really on the rise right now, especially over in France it seems. I first came across her as an MC for Glaswegian Reggae legends Mungo’s Hi-fi but she’s also been the vocalist for Monkeyunit and the Scottish / Canadian folky supergroup The Burns Unit.
J Star is the original Reggae Remix don, producing some of the most legendary mash-ups of all time.
I have to admit to not knowing much about this guy but since seeing him on the line up, I’ve been sent promos of a couple of his new tunes and I’m a big fan. It’s sunshine Disco vibes all the way!
Oh and that reminds me, Sunday myself and Matt shall be closing one of the rooms down with our brand new aliases, come check us out!