Skip to main content

Glade Festival 2011

DJmag takes a look at the wonky world of Britain's most wild festival

Returning after taking a year off due to last-year's licensing battle with local authorities, this year's Glade went on as planned at the new site of Houghton Hall on the outskirts of Norfolk's King's Lynn. DJmag hopped on the train to see what all the fuss was about... <


The weekend's rainy weather gets Glade off to a squishy start, but it is not long until the peeking sun behind withered clouds helps to draw out thousands of bold and creative characters from their tents.  

Throughout the festival there's a lot of talk about how much smaller the festival seems in comparison to previous years, nonetheless the site has become home for plenty of wacky ravers this weekend - sporting a diverse array of styles, from long dreads to bright pink hair. In some cases, people are virtually unrecognisable as human beings, donning full-body creature costumes and stilts.

Strewn across the long-stretch of soft grass surrounding Houghton Hall are plenty of bare feet as people frolic hand-in-hand, trance-dance sporadically and roll about on the floor in fits of uncontrollable giggles. Even in the rain, people stomp merrily to the bass drumming from a nearby tent, which houses a spectrum of electronic music from dubstep to trance. 

Overkill, Glade and Beta are clearly the most popular tents, commanding powerful presence over the site with people squeezing into the undulating scrums of steaming bodies inside. Stellar performances from the likes of Dreadzone, Krafty Kutz, Monkman, Warlock, Trentmoller and Dirtyphonics serve well to lure everyone out of the rain.

Deep within the nebulous innards of these tents, colourful pyrotechnics with intricate new agedesigns, paper mache symbols and fluctuating lighting effects allow us to temporarily forget we are in a field; the smoky nooks resembling the dark, hidden valley of a undiscovered extraterrestrial universe.

Looking around outside it may feel like we are in the middle of no where, Norfolk, but really we are just a 30-minute drive from King’s Lynn station in a place where bright lights and fairy-tale décor juxtapose the dry concrete jungle of the local town, where chest-pumping beats coax uncoordinated dance moves and sporadic bouts of uninhibited of passion.

As the tension builds with each beat, nodding heads turn into jolting bodies, arms waving skyward trance-like and limbs swinging back and forth. The atmosphere is infectious: if you have a pulse, it's impossible to resist the urge to lose control completely.

Away from the chaos of the dancefloor, ravers lark about, enjoying light-hearted activities available throughout the festival. One minute, we're wandering through a maze, next jumping on a trampoline, rolling around in a gigantic plastic ball or getting our faces painted.

Resting our feet, it's very much time for some scran so we make a tough choice between jerk chicken or a lobster roll and calculate the chances of drinking enough beer to make money for another at the 10p per paper cup/aluminum can recycling exchange.

Now, with the sun out, completely bone dry and rid of that dirty-camping feeling, we are free to completely immerse ourselves in the spiraling madness of the festival. The tediousness of everyday life escapes our thoughts and we disappear into the wilderness of this crazed world of wonky dancing, otherworldly costumes and all-consuming beat mastery pitched light-years away from the frigid, formulaic world we left behind... 

Words: Nicole Jeanelle Banner

Photo: Tom Dotan