I wasn’t at all sure that I’d want to write about the Electric Gardens festival. In fact, up until five days before the festival, I didn’t even think I’d be going. I’ve become pretty disillusioned with festivals in Australia, for a variety of reasons: the crowds attending them, ridiculously short sets because too many DJs have been booked, the high ticket prices and poor facilities inside the festival, combined with a sense that the main objective is to remove as many dollars as possible from your wallet.

Electric-GardensAnyway, a wonderfully generous offer from good friends saw us make our way to Centennial Park on Saturday, hoping for good weather, good tunes and a chance to see lots of our friends. I still wasn’t expecting that I’d write about the festival, as the music was not going to be trance, which is basically what this blog is supposed to be about (hence the title). I’ve never had a problem with good house music, but it doesn’t normally capture me in the same way, so I’m not very knowledgable about it. So even now that I’m writing this, it’s not really about the music, in the way that my posts usually are.

12592402_10153921770482803_1538144146796816744_nI’ll come back to the music later, but first and foremost I want to say how everything else about this festival was simply top notch. Of course the weather helped, as the threatened rain and thunderstorms stayed away and we even got some delicious sunshine. The sound quality on the three main stages was exceptional. Clean and plentiful toilets should not be taken for granted at music festivals and while there seemed to be some queues at the main bars, we discovered the Young Henry’s bar in the chillout zone, serving the best beer I’ve ever tasted at an event like this and no queue! And while we didn’t take advantage of the opportunity, it looked like a lot of fun was being had with the bungee!

12509732_10153921922027803_4734220730530637747_nThe crowd was also a revelation. Much more mixed in age than I expected, with people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s and none (at least that I saw) of the roided-up, shirtless monsters that are inescapable at events like Stereosonic. The friendly vibe that permeated every part of the festival area was really noticeable. Even the NSW police force had got word of how good it was and turned out in numbers to enjoy the day!

12565517_10153956318876979_6707683890555932210_nIt was great to see the Digital Therapy tent packed out from early on in the afternoon as Hernan Cattaneo and Nick Warren played back to back. How far the DT team has come from the days not so long ago when they hosted events in a bar with no toilets. To be fair, some of those events were great, but it does show the distance they’ve travelled in a short space of time. And the music we enjoyed the most was all on this stage.

As well as Cattaneo and Warren, we caught some of Norman Jay at the Hangout, a little of Jeremy Olander at the Digital Therapy Stage, John Digweed and then Dubfire on the Code stage before dividing the last two hours between Henry Saiz (my favourite DJ of the day) and Fatboy Slim at the main stage. It was a great way to finish a fantastic day, as I had fun with people mistaking me for the headliner (apparently I bear a passing resemblance), as he wove David Bowie – Rebel Rebel, Talking Heads – Psycho Killer and The Rolling Stones – Satisfaction into his own tunes like The Rockafeller Skank and Praise You.

This was the first Electric Gardens festival and I really hope it becomes an annual fixture – maybe they could add a trance DJ to close the Digital Therapy stage next time?


Thanks to Theresa Sermon and Greg Gordon for letting me use their photos!