United Kingdom | by
Phil Brady | 02 November 2010
Overall – 6/10
Freeze Festival is a mish mash of both a sports and a live music event set at Battersea Power Station. The once iconic, sun-blushed image of Pink Floyd’s ‘Animals’ album is now, 33 years on, the backdrop for a showcase of some of the best snow sports athletes, bands and DJs on the scene today. As a result, there is a mixture of fans here: some just for the sports, many here for the music and plenty onsite for both. But there are no surreal sculptures, if you don’t count the power station itself, no men on stilts and ladies in profound costume. There are no hippies, rastas or chemical disasters. Instead the creative elements we usually associate with festival life have been replaced with a corporate consumer machine, as this evidently heavily sponsored event demonstrates.
With the main attraction being a 32m high, 100m long real snow jump, the world’s best snowboarders and skiers take centre stage as the music is on the back burner until later in the day. At no other UK festival could an audience watch the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup Finalists spin through the air with the greatest of ease while dancing to DJ Yoda‘s Halloween Mix. Bringing these elements together is either a stroke of genius or a gimmick aimed at making as much money as possible from both markets.
Getting There And Back – 10/10
It couldn’t be easier travelling to this event, as it is slap bang in the middle of London. Trains run to either Battersea Park or Clapham Junction and it’s a five-minute walk to the Power Station. For those who live in London, it’s a tube to Vauxhall and an all night bus every 15 minutes to and from Battersea.
The Site – 6/10
The festival is set in the derelict land between Battersea Power Station and the Thames. It is not inside the station as you may be led to believe. There is only one set of toilets but these seem to serve everyone. There are not many queues, but the state of the toilets are awful, almost like an open sewer.
There are a few decent bars playing wicked tunes but they include the kind of rip off prices you would expect from a festival such as this in London. There is a cinema showing a snowboarding film called Deeper, again with a bar and popcorn stall. There is a bus sponsored by a leading mobile network provider demonstrating all the latest phones and gaming consoles, some food stalls and a huge shopping mall selling all the latest ski and boarding gear.
There is a dirt bike and BMX stage show with the world’s best riders performing stunts. They have a VIP bar and viewing platform for those who want to pay twice as much for their tickets and a 32m high, 100m long real snow jump for the athletes along with a hospitality tent with free food and drink for the musicians, athletes and London elite.
Roni Size – 7/10
The headliner Roni Size blows the crowd away on his 41st birthday with an hour long set of hip hop, dubstep and his signature drum and bass sounds as MC Jake accompanies him with his superb mic style. Roni doesn’t fail to please this crowd with his DJ mix of “some ragamuffin shit and some commercial shit.”
Mark Ronson And The Business Intl. – 8/10
An outstanding show from a Halloween-faced Mark and band playing ‘Bang Bang Bang’, sang by MNDR, ‘Bike Song’ and ‘Valerie’ with help from sung by Kyle Faulkner, the lead singer in The View. Even rapper Q-Tip is here to join in on ‘Somebody To Love Me’. It is another crowd-pleasing performance from this all-star line-up and the man who everybody wants to work with.
Gentlemen’s Dub Club – 8/10
Gentlemen’s Dub club Pack out the Relentless Tent on Saturday evening and demonstrate how a band can entertain, play some originally acute music and enjoy themselves as well. With dub and ska styles, live brass and dubstep-style sub bass, they play ‘High Grade’ as the security say: “no more in”. They also hit up new single ‘Emergency’ along with ‘Fire’ which they stop and rewind as they shout: “When I say more, you say fire”.
DJ Yoda – 8/10
After some technical hiccups DJ Yoda plays a Halloween mix which includes Stevie Wonder, Ice Cube, Fatboy Slim, House Of Pain, INXS, Bill Hayley, The Specials, Deep Purple, Nirvana, and Van Morrison. Another lock out as crowds surge forward trying to get past the now perplexed security line who are doing their best to avoid a Hillsborough situation. Yoda plays the perfect audio mix for this Halloween party.
All the commercial nonsense and the blatant sponsorship plugs from the compares and the sponsorship marketing that is plastered all over the site.
The lack of an audience early in the daytime.
No alcohol allowed to be brought on site and the rip off prices charged at the bars.