There’s a clever simplicity to Terminal V’s Easter all-day festival: three rooms, three pulverising soundsystems and an impeccable line-up of house and techno. The location for today’s Easter soiree is the Royal Highland Centre just outside Edinburgh city centre — and while it might sound a bit posh for a rave — it really isn’t. The venue is a set of uninviting warehouses at the end of Edinburgh airport’s runway where noise complaints almost certainly won’t be a problem.
The layout of the festival is function over form, too, with two warehouses split by a courtyard. The larger of the two is called Area V, a leviathan of a structure, holding up to 6000 ravers. As DJ Mag delves inside, there are two cleverly positioned freight containers at an angle, splitting up the space and drawing the eye to the room’s imposing lighting rig and angled LED displays. It only seems fitting, then, that this is the location for tonight’s techno feast as both Amelie Lens and Helena Hauff are making their Edinburgh debuts alongside the likes of Pan-Pot, Rødhåd and Jay Clarke. Across the courtyard is Terminal V, a less imposing structure, with a shallower roofline and an overall lighter aesthetic — the perfect place for what’s to come from Peggy Gou, Bicep, Artwork, Mella D and Kölsch.
With a start time of 1:30PM and finishing at just 11:00PM — there’s a sense of impatience in the air from a crowd who just want to get the party started and the DJs all oblige in their own way. Peggy Gou mixing her influences like she mixes her fashion; blending electro with house, techno into disco and everything in between. For those who like it hard (everyone in bonny Scotland it would seem) Area V is the place to be, as Helena Hauff throws caution to the wind and completely ignores her 4:30PM start time with a ferocious hour and half of bone-shaking electro. As we dart across the courtyard from the bleeding edge of Hauff’s propulsive set, we're now bathed in gold hues as Bicep are delivering a bit of fan service with their rave-inspired album cut, ’Opal’. Whilst it’s not a live show, the Northern Irish duo deliver a smattering of classics including the Rhythm Masters’ edit of Golden Girls ‘Kinetic’ which sends to appreciative crowd into a frenzy.
It’s then back across the courtyard (again), this time making a disco detour to the third room, The Lab, where the don Derrick Carter is rattling through his three-hour disco, sdropping smile-inducing bombs like the Cleptomaniacs’ remix of ‘Larry’s Jam’. Fuelled with disco melodies in our ears and smiles on our faces, we’re back in Area V for Amelie Lens who is banging it out like a techno freight train. The hype around her uncompromising DJ style is completely justified as she barrels through a dizzying amount of material — including Slam's 'Paradox' and Giacomo Renzi's 'Obsession' — in a short amount of time working her trusty Pioneer remix deck to its limits. The final furlong sees Lens handover to Rødhåd, who wastes no time in ramping up the main room’s energy levels thanks to his own productions including ‘Target Line’. As we leave the main room — now just a sea of red plastic cups and the odd pasty Scottish raver — we’re left impressed with Terminal V’s decision to make the most important element —the music— the main attraction. Just the way it should be.
Here are the ten tracks that ruled this year’s Terminal V Festival.