United Kingdom | 14 September 2010
Overall – 9/10
An open-minded and free spirited festival of electronica, psy trance, breaks, techno, world and live band music, Waveform offers an escape from the norm into an alternative reality of cutting edge music, creative arts, mind expansion, organic food and friendly vibes from a diverse array of unique people.
The sites eco-friendly policies won it a Greener Festival Award for 2009 and the music line-up selection has received a lot of praise from the electronic scene. The capacity of 5,000 creates an intimate magic to the event and ensures that there are no frustrating queues or over crowded tents. Free line-up programmes are available from the Access All Areas info tent along with a lost property service and friendly banter from the staff. The engineering on site provides a high quality of sound but volume issues in some of the tents lead to a few frustrated ravers.
Getting There and Back – 8/10
The two nearest train stations to the site are Bury St Edmunds and Thurston, which are both a couple of hours away from London. Festival coaches provide a shuttle bus service to the site from Bury St Edmunds but the last bus leaves at 6pm on Friday so if you arrive later there are drop off points for taxis or, if your fortunate, you can hitch a ride with a friendly band!
The Site – 9/10
The site is the perfect size for the capacity with enough room to camp without being crammed together like some of the bigger festivals. There are no long treks to find the acts you are looking for or any need for a map, each music tent is signed clearly with line up times of artists playing there. Facilities are good, with the toilets cleaned and re-supplied each day, and makeshift drains for the water taps avoiding the muddy sludge caused by excess water.
The camping area slopes down to the main festival field with all the stalls and tents in a one large semi circle and a sunken area for a large communal campfire. There are awesome visual elements adding to the mystical, trippy atmosphere such as giant mushrooms, spiritual shrines, fire twirling and a large screen displaying amazing time-lapse videos of landscapes. The food stalls are mostly organic and vegetarian selling local farm produce and authentic Asian food, the bars are easy to find with no queues and friendly bar staff, there are also plenty of stalls selling handmade clothes, bags and trinkets – your usual psychedelic type garb. The Green Arena houses smaller music stages and tents offering Ashtanga Yoga, cosmic healing, workshops and activities for kids.
A diverse crowd of younger ravers, DJs, producers, psychedelic hippies, spiritual seekers and older party veterans create the atmosphere. There is a positively charged energy with friendly vibes and open-minded attitudes. Although the website states private sound systems aren’t permitted in the camping area there are a few vans that sneak them in and keep the party vibe going all through the night after the music had finished on the main stages.
Music – 10/10
The Electronica stage hosted by Alpha Omega and Arckanegel handles the breaks and drum n bass side of things and has a line up of energetic and upbeat DJs. The Psy stage hosted by Tribe Of Frog provides the psy trance and trippy sounds and seems to have the biggest issues with sound volume restrictions which means it perhaps doesn’t deliver such an impact as it could of done. A mix of chilled dubby beats, world fusion and electro can be found on the Earthheart Stage which is programmed to play different moods to match the time of day perfectly. Cats Cradle/Om Bongo Stage hosts the live bands and the Love Shack has a mix of techno and live acts.
Hedflux – 10/10
Hedflux brings his unique hybrid of psychedelic tech funk to the Electronica stage on Friday night building up the dance floor energy to a peak with a crowd pleasing DJ set, dropping his classic tune ‘Mindcell’ and then slamming in with his new unreleased tracks ‘Revolve’ and ‘Oddball’ remix.
Pook – 9/10
Pook delivers an impressive early Saturday evening set with his energetic cut up mixing style and drawing the breaks heads in with an edit of classic Plumps tune ‘Scram’ and dropping the new Vandal track ‘Mad As Hell’.
Orangafruup – 8/10
This live electronic band from London bring an eccentric performance of futuristic folk, bass and beats with their fusion of organic instruments and synthesisers, the new ‘Eigenharp’ instrument is at the forefront and creates a buzz of excitement through the crowd.
Logica – 7/10
Logica please the crowd with a solid live set of psy trance with an impressive Prodigy re-edit and a constant flow of trippy breakdowns and diving psychedelic beats.
Apply The Breaks – 10/10
Apply The Breaks charge the breaks tent to the max on Sunday evening with their full on mix of bassline breaks, old skool jungle and heavy dubstep. The energy is kept flowing with a perfect sync of the DJs and MC who keeps his lyrics positive and input timed well.
It’s hard to really pick any individual acts that didn’t perform well but the volume restrictions in the psy tent and on the electronica stage during Friday evening are definite downers.
Sitting outside the Earthheart stage early Saturday evening and seeing a guy walking across the site balancing a jar of interesting looking plants on his head towards a tent offering shamanic guides and herbal healing.
The bloke dressed in a full on gimp suit for the whole of Sunday!