Second Edition of Cosmo Festival - year 2011 turns out to be a hit
Reported by Agnes Klos
Submitted 10-10-11 17:47
Cosmo Festival is a new event that had appeared on the UK scene with its first edition only last year. Even though the festival celebrated just the second anniversary in the summer of 2011, it had already gained a solid fan base and established a well respected reputation among clubbers. Agnes Klos joined the rave to find out what's behind the name Cosmo that has been on everyone’s tongue this year.
After the success of the last year Cosmo Festival returned in 2011 with an even better line-up, packed to the brim with excellent live acts, bands, DJs and multimedia artists to keep the festival-goers fully entertained and into the music. Located in the stunning surroundings of the English countryside, the festival astonished many with the beauty of the location. Taunton Race Course in Somerset was the choice for this year’s event and with the glorious sun shining above our heads the whole time, Cosmo was predestined to be a hit.
Cosmo declares that its vision is to create a global awareness through music in celebrating the joy of being on the Planet Earth. The organiser, Mohit Mamtani, said: “We make a safe haven by creating the stage and invite all to dance and create their own surrounding and stories. Music is unity and harmony, Cosmo festival is just a medium of this expression for all who come with the reason of love for music and dance and in return leave with lots of memories.” A beautiful vision that was put in practice during the full moon lunar eclipse celebration in 2011.
The three day festival went on from noon on Thursday until 2pm Monday afternoon over two stages: The Main stage dominated by full-on artists; and the Lunar stage where all the progressive beats found their home and live bands spread their wings. Exactly 2pm on Friday marked the beginning of the festival when the first beats kicked off at the both stages, with Fordy (interview here) taking the honour of serving the first stomping tunes much to the delight of those gathered at the Main stage and Feather (known to many from Acid Monkey - one of the most famous London warehouse parties) getting everyone into the groove on the other stage.
The whole Friday at the Main Stage was dominated by live acts with only two DJ sets later on coming from Giuseppe and Gabor who wrapped things up, finishing the first night of Cosmo with a style. Some of the highlights of the day belonged to Ocelot aka Aaron Peacock who has been rocking dancefloors in over 50 countries at festivals and parties worldwide for over 11 years. Cosmo created a great opportunity to hear this exceptional artist whose sound is characterised by a driving energy, intelligent progressions and a constant evolution in themes.
Saturday was a pretty eventful day as well, with Tantrix – a project created by a fusion of two artists, Kayaman and Toby Pearce that provided us with a proper morning kick. Following on were numerous talented artists such as Ianuaria (aka Josef Hofinger), a prolific Australian DJ/producer who flooded the crowd with his experimental psychedelic and twisted sound; Vertical controlled the crowd with his unique style of hard psychedelic breakbeats; Jahbo brought out a tripped out mushroom atmosphere and Encephalopaticys showed us what hard, dark powerful trance is all about. The list of the names who crammed the Saturday line up on the Main Stage is long but the unbeatable highlight belonged to the thumping performance from Hux Flux made of two Swedish guys: Dennis Tapper and Henric Fietz, whose distinctive style - best described as an unusual blend of psychedelic trance and goa trance, made the dancefloor go into frenzy.
As the last day of the festival, Sunday was already special but to add even more excitement, it was also the day of the birthday celebration for a UK talent, Avalon, that has been shooting to fame very quickly on the international psytrance circuit. This London based DJ is currently at the top of his game, taking his rip-roaring full-on sound to all four corners of the world. In addition he has a new exciting project on his plate called Killerwats, formed by cooperation with Tristan. As my friend and I knew about Avalon’s birthday in advance we planned out a surprise for him in a form of a birthday cake (with a cute teddy bear on top and sparkly candles shooting from it) that was handed to Avalon after his set. Avalon’s smile on the sight of the cake was priceless. It was definitely one of the highlights of Cosmo festival.
To the other artists who stood out that day at the main stage belonged Zetan Spore, a uniquely synergistic duo, created by Ian Hasdell and his twin brother Mark. The sound caught my attention since it included didgeridoo fuelled tribal breaks and searing guitar riffs that added depth to the already driving and euphoric psytrance sound. EVP (Wildthings Records) pulled a crowd of devoted fans as usual while Hawaiik, an Estonian psychedelic trance DJ and experienced deck wizard wrapped things nicely with a whole array of foresty tunes (What does that mean? - ed) that reverberated across the field.
Meantime at the Lunar Stage the schedule was jam packed with talent on the progressive side of psytrance beats. Friday was dominated by such acts as Feather, Impulse Response and Neurodriver who kept us literally glued to the dancefloor for hours with the bouncing tunes coming from the speakers. The highlight of the day belonged undisputedly to OOOD, comprising of four members who have been creating their own unique brand of psytrance for years now. Those lucky to be at Cosmo were given an amazing chance to hear OOOD play live in such an intimate environment. Their sterling performance was filled with dazzling old school melodies, sizzling acid lines and upbeat rhythms. After their show, OOOD told me: “Big thank you goes to Broken Records and Indian Connection and all involved with putting on such a fun event, we really enjoyed our first Cosmo gig! Hopefully not our last Big love to everyone who packed out the Lunar Stage for our set, it's people like you who make the whole thing worthwhile.”
Saturday was truly remarkable. One of the artists that drew my attention was Zeitgeist, a Berlin-based producer called Robert Hundt, also known as Radioactive Cake. Zeitgeist is known for delivering an interesting fusion of several styles like progressive techtrance, dubstep and electronica. His set at Cosmo incorporated live drum loops into the mix of progressive psytrance and organic techno elements with hints of jazz, breaks, and even glitch audible in the background. Another artist called N.A.S.A also displayed the skills of fusing together different elements from both the psychedelic scene and the techno genre, the result - a mind blowing sound. Following on were sets from such DJs as Lorraine (resident of Sunrise, Leeds) with her stunning selection of progressive tunes, Zooch took us on an experimental psychedelic journey and things were wrapped up by a smashing set which filled our ears with the original, chunky, organic blend of psy dub, breaks and progressive trance served by a Kiwi producer Oscar Allison aka Grouch.
On the last day of the festival I stumbled across a few performances that will stay in my memory for a long time. One of them was Dhuna, a live band with a stunning singer that blew me away with their powerful ambient down tempo psychedelic sound. Also worth mentioning are sets from DJs Sofire, a DJ and producer from Sweden (based in the UK) and interviewed on these very pages earlier this year, Spindrift delivering an astounding set of funky and uplifting prog which clearly displayed his appreciation of artists on Iboga, Blue Room and Iono Records. Spindrift said: “I’ve had a love of music from an early age and was heavily influenced by my mother’s classical collection. I fell in love with the amazing sound-scapes of Vaughan Williams, I like music that touches my heart and this reflects on my choice of tracks when I play.” Purple Wizard had the honour of the final set and with his flawless choice of groovy beats he did an excellent job.
The décor at Cosmo festival was provided by three artists: Space Babylon who through the art installations communicates a new age of visionary tradition, encouraging the exploration of our inner visionary realm and the development of our inner contemplation; Visual Architects event décor (began as a side project of the event production team illumiNaughty) who created a fresh and original environment for us to enjoy and Ozmali who introduced a fusion of forest and nature at Cosmo festival, using his original forest fluorescent 3D decor. All in all, a beautiful festival with a brilliant line up, fantastic atmosphere and heaps of sunshine, bring on Cosmo 2012! (1-5 June 2012)
During the festival I had the great pleasure of meeting the organiser, Mohit Mamtani, and managed to have a quick chat with him to find out more about Cosmo history and its background information.
How would you describe the first edition of Cosmo in 2010 and how does it compare with the year 2011?
Cosmo 2010 was the beginning and birth of a new UK psytrance festival. Our focus was to generate an audience which enjoys the underground psytrance and electronic genres. Our vision has been to create this gathering of tribes, not defined by individuals, countries or cultures. This gathering is defined by the people who love music in its simplicity and the beauty of unity and harmony. The Festival/party culture has evolved from beyond a few beach parties in the beautiful jungles of Goa. The belief that we will see the same vibe of togetherness is our inspiration behind COSMO.
2010 marked the start of this realisation and the vibe that came forward was truly colourful and warm. Such was the experience of the audience that we had lots of reviews to inspire us to put more conscious effort to build on the success.
2011 proved that we have started in the right direction of creating a global psytrance festival in the UK with a vibe and family atmosphere which invites people and brings unique talents from around the world.
Were you pleased with the way the festival went?
Every bit of the festival would be hard to be pleased with as there are always areas and ways of improvement. There was a sense of pleasure in seeing so many people turn up and enjoy the vibe, music and the wondrous location with a panoramic view. In addition, the blinding sunshine showered upon us, the crew came together with a great enthusiasm and all the hard work paid off in having an incredible party for three days.
Was the turnout as expected, better than last year?
1900 people turned up for the festival in 2011 (all inclusive of volunteers crews, back room staff and artists/guests). We had planned for a capacity crowd of 2000. 2011 audience was a rise by almost adding half as much more compared with the last year.
Did everything go according to the plan?
Yes, the plans were implemented and executed as we had thought and planned for. The only issue being that there were two artists who could not make it due to health issues which still was fair due to the high numbers of artists performing. It is always a given that there will be a few who will miss out on the party.
Were there any problems, if yes how were they solved?
The only problem I could see was that we were not able to hold the 2011 party in the same location as 2010 as that site had already been booked to hold another event on the same weekend. Instead we found a beautiful site in Somerset, Taunton Race course. The panoramic view was just a winner
What improvements had been made compared with the last year?
Firstly, there was more precise information shared with our audience a few months in advance. It was done in order to prepare the festival participants and inform them of everything they can expect and also to help them get a better idea of COSMO 2011 through our website.
Few things had been improved compared with the last year. We put special focus on making improvements in the areas of the line up by bringing in a mix of international acts and also in terms of giving a more creative look to the dancefloors.
The biggest addition for me as an organiser was the fact that all the performances on both the floors were video recorded, which was accomplished with the help of Jacks House Internet Radio. There will be a two hour DVD which will be released for 2011 edition in a few weeks. We are currently working on editing the video.
Also there were more market stalls and interesting catering to cater for the ever-so-growing crowd at Cosmo.
What were the highlights of the festival?
In terms of performances, the highlights from my personal point of view belonged to all the artists who performed on both the stages. Without a doubt there was not even one single performance which I can point out as being greater than the other. The general reviews of the audience serve as a testimonial of the same.
The acoustic and live bands in the morning were a great way to start the mornings and the day went on with more performances, filled with a high octane energy, on both floors. The second highlight was the fact that we had a lot of people who came in 2010 returning for the second edition this year. Therefore, the festival created a familiar and happy environment yet again not forgetting about the family vibe, filled with smiles and laughs.
What is also worth mentioning is the fire show which was a great entertainment for the festival-goers. The security and the support functions were so well organised, it felt like being in a playground with all toys already placed in the right places.
As the main organiser of Cosmo, are you the brain of the festival or are there other names which deserve mentioning as well?
All ideas are formulated or discussed with me and need my approval. But there are couple of very important members who play a big role in making Cosmo a festival, for instance Paul Bacon (Prog Limited) who is the head of our site Management; Mikkel Jais Peddersen (Parvati Records) who is the Production Manager and an advisor in every important decision making concerning the festival. There are numerous individuals in our crew who have a special task in making it a more comfortable and creative experience for the audiences.
Big heartfelt 'thank you' goes to everyone who came and shared their magical vibe at Cosmo Festival 2011. Special big up to: James (Prog Limited) , Jon Bishop (Jacks-House), Kichu Dandiya (Indian Connection) Kanika Dave(Flyer design Artists), Nikhel Mahajan (Audio Aashram), Giuseppe Capodanno(Parvati Records), Ken Araki (Phreex Networx), Christian & Elena Calle (ke Lo Kenji tribe), Nora Bankuty (Neko Pix), lefteris (visual Architects), maurizio Farell(Space Babylon), Steven (Ozmali), Matt & Agnes Klos (Harder Faster), Robin Annal (Triskele Management),Ross March (Liquid Records), Frank Schreiberg (Broken Records), Robert Anuskevic (Arkona Creation), All the participating Artists & Record Labels, Site Management crew, Volunteers, Security & Medical team, Decor Crews, Advertising/PR teams, Friends and family: for supporting us in creating such intense positive vibe for all present. Sorry if I missed anyone particular out in that lists but I am gratful for everyone's involvement and hope to have your support in the development of this gathering.
Most importantly to our audiences and supporters without whom it would have not been possible to see Cosmo Festival grow into a bigger family year after year. To add up to our efforts put in 2011 we are really grateful to all who came and contributed to such an amazing and great weekend of music fun and smiles.
Cosmo Festival - We will be back in 2012 from 1 June - 5 June 2012.
Hope to see you there.
Thank you for your time Mohit and see you at Cosmo in 2012!
All photos courtesy of Agnes Klos and Graybo (aka Graham Stannard). Not to be reproduced without permission.
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The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.