The UK is a burgeoning place of activity, a hive of creativity that highlights diversity, acceptance and opportunity. The plethora of people in the UK, who coexist with tolerance and security has created a melting pot of artistic expression. Made Festival is a great example of this, showcasing cutting edge musicians and pioneers of progressive music, based in the UK's second biggest city with a truly multi-cultural population. With legends on the line-up such as Peter Hook and the recently created Hacienda Classical, to contemporary artists such as Rudimental, Stormzy and d'n'b legend Andy C, this festival was looking good.
It's great to see cities using their urban spaces with such good effect. MADE was based in the centre of Birmingham, located in the Digbeth Triangle, using indoor and outdoor venues all in close proximity. Combining Birmingham's best visual and street artists, designers, set builders, creatives and musicians, the space looked and sounded great and it all added to an electric atmosphere.
Saturday was the busiest day with ten thousand people there to witness a world class electronic line up. With great acts on the Made Stage such as NVOY, Chris Lorenzo, Monki, Kano, Redlight and Rudimental headlining, this was cutting edge, eclectic music at its best.
Hospitality Records had a stage to themselves. This pioneering d'n'b label has truly added some great contributions to the music scene, with Noisia headlining, Spy, Fred V & Grafix, Maduk, Krakow, Etherwood and Andy C all included on the line up. There's no doubt everyone who attended on Saturday had a fantastic time.
With four thousand people attending on Sunday, this was a big inspiration to many that featured an amazing line up for a comedown. With lots of older 'heads' in attendance, you can see many wanting to capture those great punk days of the 80's and ecstasy days of the 90's, to see your idols on stage. However, there was also a lot of young people in the crowd too, witnessing this great scene and hearing tracks that are so familiar possibly for the first time live.
To be fair most people in the crowd wouldn't have seen Joy Division before and few seen New Order too, so it was really inspired to see Hooky playing those songs live again. There's no doubt Joy Division's songs still sound relevant today and to hear New Order's tracks live really brings the sound justice. It's testament to Peter Hook to bring life to those classic songs again. It was very fortunate to see that and I'm sure emotional for him.
Mike Pickering as a DJ, writer and producer is a key figure in Hacienda folklore, having worked for Factory Records, signing The Happy Mondays and creating M People, it was marvellous to see him on stage still creating new sounds to those classic tracks popularised in the 90's through the Hacienda. Also Graeme Park, a true DJ legend, whose sets at The Hacienda were profound! His style is unique in that he can build up a crowd and take you on a journey; that's what makes a set unique and specific to the DJ. Seeing both of them on stage, with other contributors to the Hacienda, having such a good time was really appreciated by the crowd, and likewise seeing so many people vibing to classic tracks, played in a new way, was quite miraculous really. Who would have thought that would happen and proves why The Hacienda and its influence is still relevant today.
Hacienda Classical is quite a bizarre concept, yet totally apt! I was drawn to the idea of an orchestra fusing with the DJ, singers and percussion, it seemed original to me, especially as I was aware of the songs the first time around. The Manchester Camerata Orchestra were superb; The strings, wind, horn sections all created an interesting harmony accompanied with a punk ethos and loose DJ style.
The steadfast, discipline and virtuoso integrity of the classical musician is in stark contrast to the beginnings of the dance music scene it now finds itself in the company of. The sound is different, something unique to be appreciated. The Hacienda is still creating new forms and everyone there, most importantly, had a good time!
It was awesome to hear Manchester tracks such as 'Voodoo Ray' (A Guy Called Gerald), 'Pacific State' (808 State), 'Blue Monday' (New Order) being played alongside the likes of 'Back To Love' (Brand New Heavies) but hearing classics like 'Someday' (Ce Ce Rogers) and 'Promised Land' (Joe Smooth) took the atmosphere to another level. The accompanying live vocals were exceptional and it was outstanding to see Rowetta, from the Happy Mondays fame, performing 'You Got The Love' (The Source and Candi Staton) to a truly jubilant crowd!
Made Festival was an absolute success; a great event for modern, electronic music, and proves how relevant and significant the UK is in terms of its rich musical history. It's exciting to think what inspiration has been taken from this event for the future of progressive music. I'm sure Made Festival will keep growing now, judging by the success of this event. Great stuff!
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