Thursday, 19 May 2011
Ooof - Last weekend was A LOT. The Bang Face Weekender is A LOT. It's the only festival I've ever been to where you're welcomed back by a chorus of faces exclaiming: "You're alive?!" Which is nice, but illustrates the perimeter of fear which surrounds the event.
It's easy to be put off by the day glo, neo-rave armageddon vibes which emanate off Bang Face - while the moniker doesn't exactly imply you're going to be enjoying a restful time of it at Pontins, where the shebang is held. But at any festival, whether it's the Ketamine Olympics or the Chelsea Flower Show, the appropriate vibe is always to go hard or go home. Bang Face isn't threatening. Although the vibe is wrapped in a dreadlock, a vague whiff of the nineties and mild bouts of madness. But nothing more nutty or deadly than you'd find in any other festival or 'warehouse party'. Plus it takes place at a perfect crossroads of rave - an axis which straddles a grey area somewhere between the past, future and present. But with perhaps one and a half feet in the past. In the best possible way...
We got to the site on Friday after boarding the bullet train and getting our cider on all the way to Rye. We stopped at the local Budgens to pick up a shed load of ale and fodder, before making our wonky way down there. At the entrance we were greeted by a brace of security guards who, after asking who we were, started shouting "Press! Press! The press are here" in a vague bid to find someone with some sort of authority. No one came. It was a suitably daft, yet joyous beginning to a well daft, yet totally euphoric 72 hours.
Friday was all about getting totally pished and massively narked up - Jeff Mills is the one thing that really stands out through a thick haze of dancing, sweat and jaw chattering good times. He laid down a thick, lean set of techno which still stands out through a fug of smoke and lairiness. After he'd wound us up as tight as a spring, we unravelled into pools of human mess via bouts of extreme beggaring in the main rooms and outside before ending up back at Chalet 21 for some serious acid bendiness. Memories fade at this point but we definitely went back to our adopted home for a horsey sit down. Our crew even went to sleep which says a right lot about the sort of massive state we were in. Wonked. And pooped.
Saturday involved emerging from the pit and tucking (that's right TUCKING) into a fry up before TUCKING into our fridge and watching Bang Face TV from under the cover of a duvet for much of the afternoon. When we ventured out, it was under an extreme cloud of murkage. I ended up swapping my socks in exchange for a balloon. There was a gabba rave going off in the chalet just up the road, which had to be visited bare of foot. The musical highlights were numerous but Space Dimension Controller and the Squire of Gothos both got the collective rave pecker standing firmly to attention. The Squires seemed to be playing in the midst of a sauna with sweat and tops off being the vibe. We didn't bother with sleep on the Saturday eve, instead choosing to wander around the chalet areas, which ensured we came into contact with a few nightmares nonetheless. One chap appeared to have completely lost his marbles and was screaming from the back of a van. Another chalet was shut down by security in the early hours of the morning after a man with a vaguely psychotic glint in his eyes and not much in the way of clothes was seen staggering about. The true cause will (hopefully forever) remain a mystery but the numerous balloons we embibed blunted any edge of darkness these scenes offered at the time.
Sunday was all about the mid-afternoon chalet rave - although Leftfield took what was left of Bang Face down a memory lane carved out of nineties bass and rave tackle that eve, one of the highlights was dancing on the scorched earth earlier in the day. A variety of rigs appeared to have somehow convened in one area and were doing their best to outblast each other. Mutant strains of jungle and gabba were both rinsed in this demilitarised rave zone but the best bits was the pop - hearing Madness and Queen in those moments nailed the vibe perfectly. Stupid, fucked up, fun and life affirming all at the same time. Which sums up the weekend perfectly.
There were shitloads of other moments - the signs ("The only thing I'm fucking tonight are my prospects", "Not marriage material", "I'm a massive cunt", "Hard Crew"), Bang Face TV with Normski and crew and the Hard Crew - the ravers who we danced, chatted and monged with other the three nights we were there. Without sounding like too much of a hippy twat, every year we've attended Bang Face, the Hard Crew have done much to make it. Everyone might be on a massive amount of drugs. Sure. But they still don't have to be so nice or accommodating. Massive, hands in the air style props to everyone we met and met up with again from the past two years. The previous two were tremendous. But this one was summat else. Roll on next year. I'm already contemplating giving up on normality, investing what little dosh I have in a rig and spending the rest of my days stumbling round Europe searching for the next rave. Alternatively I'll calm down and get on with the day-to-day. Either way "I LOVE MY LIFE AS A DICKHEAD".
Neon Ugly Crew
Scran and booze
'Not Marriage Material'
Jeff Mills leading Bang Face into the apocalypse
"Can I have 18 hot wings please mate? And make them fucking soggy. I've got a mouth as dry as the sahara."
Hard Crew going in
The 5th chalet mate - diet flex
Mr Ed's cousin on day release
Clown going large
Honesty is the best policy
Atari Teenage Riot
Crowd surfing on a dinghy. Obvs
Mega 'Blackpool illumination style' murked
Catching some z'ssss - what a nancy
Chalet mates getting (it?) on
Buried at Bang Face
The inevitable backlash
Too. Much. Sand
Sunday afternoon chalet rave madness