On first impression, Stratford-Upon-Avon strikes you as a rather sleepy market town, with night life not amounting to much more than having a few pints with the locals in a dark pub. However, come July bank holiday, Stratford throws of its misleading cloak off quaintness and tranquility, brings out its florescent sunglasses in preparation of being the proud host of “Global Gathering”- the award-winning annual electronic music and dance festival.
The festival attracts over a quarter of a million partiers from all corners of the globe. Ravers and party-goers flock to the town, dressed uo in the most weird and wonderful crazy costumes, and without fail with florescent green lasers in-hand, which are set to flash to the beat of Britain’s most loved dance beats. Festivities can be assured to go on until dawn, with the more hardcore party animals surviving until late into the afternoon.
Held annually on the last weekend of July, in Long Marston Airfield, Global Gathering has grown amazingly in popularity and reputation, and has now established itself as the UK’s number one dance festival. As an international festival, events are simultaneously held in Poland, Belarus, Turkey, Russia, South Korea and Australia.
Over the weekend the entire spectrum of dance music and electronic genres are covered- live acts from over 150 world class Djs and performers spin house, techo, trance, dubstep on sixteen different stages. Many of the artists are returning from their residencies in Ibiza, and are true gods in the electro music world. This year, is the festivals 10th anniversary, which has confirmed headliners to be Faithless and Dizzee Rascal.
Camping is well equipped, with hot shower and even an outdoor cinema. As well as the music there is also The Urban Village with hip-hop DJ’s, skate ramps, break dancers and live graffiti artists , extreme ride fair ground. For those festival goers that are a bit too prim and proper for tents and porta-loos, VIP tickets can be purchased, which earn you “posh” toilet facilities, a Jacuzzi filled personal campsite, and VIP entrance to most of the top performances.
As a well-known Stratford Local Once Said, “If Music Be the Food of Love, Play on…” Although banging beats and dance debauchery may not have been quite what old Willy Shake had in mind, electro music lovers should not miss this fantastic festival opportunity.