The Big Chill at Eastnor Castle: Fila Brazilia/Giles Peterson/Gotan Project/Different Drummer Soundsystem

Eastnor Castle, Malvern - 16-18 August, 2002

"A serious bum jigging session"

[Chillin' at The Big Chill] To me, in a perfect world a festival should be a bit magical. It should be more than just fun. It should be unforgettable and brilliant. A re-birth of the soul. A reconnection with your heart. A celebration of life… etc.

When I got back to London I didn't feel that words would do justice to the feeling of completeness and relaxation that the event had given me so I just told people I was speechless and smiled. This seemed to communicate exactly how priceless it was and people were left in no doubt that they had missed out.

Getting there was the first step after many people dropped out - concerned with weather and pranoia (the weekend before saw massive torrents of rain and flooding). When my car broke down the day before I thought that perhaps the omens were trying to say something. But I managed to get a lift through some contacts. When I arrived at the site I felt a major relief that I had because it was immediately obvious that The Big Chill Eastnor Castle was going to be a very special event in a very special setting. The breathtaking views alone were inspirational. Add that to the nightfall when all the lighting and artistic features made the site a paradise for any chilled-out creative minded individual - looking to unwind, make friends and get reacquinted with oneself.

The majority of the revellers are London based creative types with high production standards and values who want to relax and socialise in equal measure. This means that no expense is spared and no corners are cut in providing quality sound, food, facilities, security, design etc. Not even the odd group of beer boys could ruin the general ambience of respect and self appreciation amongst the chilled out but energised crowd. My only complaint was that the cost of food and drink was too high.


[Eastnor Castle] Giles Peterson on Friday night playing a brilliant blend of world and break beat fusions and as always getting a serious bum jigging foot loose session out of the audience.

Gotan Project on Saturday night were also splendid, playing a live (six piece) authentic gypsy fusion with dance grooves and traditional folk mayhem. A bit like the Stella and Guinness adverts rolled into one black suited and weird eastern European styled live performance with the odd funky beat and drum and bass groove.

Fila Brazilia, again playing a fusion of styles much more English in content. Their live band set up was a four piece with decks and samplers. Entertainment from the north.

Different Drummer Soundsystem, formed by Massive Attack's main man (and using some of the original Massive Attack breaks), with live MC mixture of decks, beats, grooves, and general Massive Attack style - electronic dub, dub, dub, dub….

Art: The twenty minute walk up the hill dotted with some very nice installations was a real treat. Good use of lighting in the dark forest was the key to this trippy experience. From tuned fire breathing gas cylinders, pumping out little melodies, to film projections and laser generated images; this was a really great interactive natural art-high. Top marks.

Dance tent: To be honest I was having such a great buzz from being outdoors all the time I could not be bothered with more than a couple of minutes of starring up at massive screens like followers of the cult church of DJ worshipers swaying to a thumping four to the floor. But I'm sure it suited some…

Film/media mix tent: I only saw a bit of The Wicker Man but that was enough for me to decide that the choices were well thought-out and the apprectaion and wonder on the faces of the bemused watchers as Edward Woodward struggled against the sexual witchcraft of the local teenage sirens was a great moment.

Three full days of sunshine, music and good vibes was had by all. I'm praying for the same again next year.