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Best Of British: Best Festival: Global Gathering

Field Marshals: The grass is greener at Global

Global by name and now Global by nature, this year Global Gathering staged ten festivals in locations as far-flung as South Korea and Australia, including making their debut in Belarus as the first electronic music event to be held in the former Soviet state's history.

But whilst Global Gathering festival organiser James Algate says that they're keen to stamp their brand on new territories, he also states that it's the original UK festival in Stratford-upon-Avon that remains the 'benchmark' for both their own foreign adventures and dance music festivals as a whole, a status sealed by their scooping the Best of British award for Best Festival for the third year running.

"We're striving to take all our international festivals to the same level as Global Gathering is here, which has had a lot of love and nurturing go into it to make it the major UK festival it is today," James says. "To think that we're now in the same league as something like Glastonbury or Reading is an unbelievable achievement for us."

Scoring a Best of British hat-trick isn't the only impressive number to add up for Global Gathering this year either, since the festival attracted 55,000 punters to the Midlands over the two days to dance to over 150 bands and DJs spread over 16 stages. Quite an achievement in any year, yet even more so in one where the credit crunch has been eating into clubbers' wallets and many other festivals felt the pinch.

"It's certainly a more competitive market now, with new festivals seeming to crop up every weekend during the oversaturated summer period," James opines. "But I believe 2009 was a year when customers voted with their feet and it was the less professional, non-established or events that haven't evolved that were the ones to suffer."

Featuring appearances from the Prodigy, Richie Hawtin, Pendulum and Orbital amongst others, Global Gathering 2009 had more highlights than a WAG's hairdo, with James picking out the world No.1 DJ's three-hour set in the Godskitchen Boombox - the enormous audio-visual installation shaped like a ghetto-blaster that made its UK debut at the festival - as a defining moment.

"Global Gathering is all about production and the Godskitchen Boombox typifies what sets our festival apart from others," he believes. "We're always trying to improve Global Gathering for our customers by listening to their feedback year-on-year and after nine years we can really speak from experience. Roll on the tenth anniversary!"

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