Arc Festival Review

With this being a new festival, there’s always the risk of things not going quite to plan but that was definitely not the case here. The day went off brilliantly, the sun was (mostly) shining and Bristol’s lovers of house, techno and bass were out in force.

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We arrived just in time to catch a little bit of Indigo who was on a darker techno tip when we arrived and built to the grooving bass music for which he is known with heavy dubstep and drum and bass influence. Stepping into the tent for Discreet Unit, I was greeted by a smoke filled scene with some bouncy house vibes and proceeded to enjoy a fun filled set that allowed the crowd to really get down.

The two big tops on site, which boasted the two largest capacities, were completely blacked out to allow for the visuals on display, which for any average April day would be fine. However with the sun finally showing itself it seemed a bit unfortunate to be inside in the dark but I guess this is just the price one pays for what truly were spectacular light shows.  The various teams behind these displays should really be proud of themselves.arc2

My only other complaint was that in some of the tents the rigs seemed slightly badly wired; with sound coming from the speakers at the back noticeably before those at the front, though this seemed to be fixed later on in the day so remains a small blip on an otherwise brilliant day.

Moving on from those two slight negatives, Will Saul’s live set started with dimmed lights and synthy strings with an extended build up before the room was filled with bass. One thing I have noticed, and this is definitely an on-going trend through the country, is that if it’s not got a 4×4 beat then crowds just aren’t as interested but as Will Saul built up to the some really great thumping house and techno the crowd really got involved and myself and most others in attendance were immersed in the sound.

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I managed to catch the last 15 minutes of DJ Die’s set and he really had the crowd moving. Ending on the legendary ‘Aint Nobody’ by Chaka Khan, a personal favourite of mine, had the intended effect of the crowd going crazy with appreciation then throwing some shapes and having a sing along. Pinch then took to the stage and supplied a magnificent hour of bass music including loads of unreleased material with the first release from his new label, by Elmono, being a personal highlight for me.

I then proceeded to rush across the festival to catch the last half an hour of what was by all accounts an incredible set by Martyn. Clark then lived up to expectations and had everyone loving it from start to finish. Livity Sound stepped up to a smoke hazed stage and provided everything I had hoped for. They’re really not your standard beat makers but that’s what makes them brilliant.

Leaving the festival I really did get the impression that there was not a single complaint to be heard and that Arc had lived up to being the brilliant showcase of sound and visuals which everyone anticipated. Overall, it was a truly memorable day and here’s hoping there will be another next year!

 

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