Wednesday, 22 August 2012

ARCADIA...... Nuff Said

Arcadia…. Where superlatives melt away and immersion tears through the limits. Boomtown Fair saw the latest incarnation of their infamous Spider set new standards in creativity, engineering and trans dimensional gobsmack.

Taking a perfectly sized area on the festival site with sides sloping into the heart of the beast, Arcadia had tweaked their awe inspiring structure into armour plated organics. Locking down volatile intensity, this was the 360 degree, all enveloping experience and proof if ever it was needed that this tight, down to earth and permanently outside the box crew are in a league of their own.

Built entirely out of scrap and discarded military hardware - Arcadia goes way beyond the realms of recycling and into the subatomic, shifting the charges of proton and neutron and the nature of matter itself from destructive former incarnations into the gloriously positive.

With a dancefloor centred underneath the structure and building momentum up the sides of the crater. With speaker stacks facing out in the round and satellite speaker stacks facing in from the primal ring of exploding Gothic lamposts. With lasers tracing the stars while bowel shattering pyrotechnics took your eyebrows off and blew you clean off your axis, the mutant creature of euphoric apocalypse was unleashed to stalk the landscape.

The crowd were pulled into the orbit of the Spider like never before – under it, over it around it and deep inside it as eye popping visuals flowed through visceral power into a mystical electricity. Words really don’t do it justice.

It nearly all went spectacularly tits up on the Friday night as quite frankly pathetic noise levels were forced on them by the powers that be (not the organizers we must add). It was so nearly a painful ‘what might have been’ as after all that work, design, effort and bonkers engineering, the jump into hyperspace that was just bursting to happen was compromised by the flick of a volume knob.

Thankfully – bass re entered the equation on the Saturday night after what we imagine must have been some seriously fraught negotiations. From the moment the show kicked in and the spider began to crackle with life – all the elements were there to show the incoming Perseids meteor shower a thing or two about spectacle. Aliens land in Boomtown??? Fucking right……..

As dry ice belched out from the skeleton of the structure in an inspired spin on the smoke machine concept and the amphitheatre of alchemy wove its way up the slopes turning base metals into magic – yet again – it was one of those ‘Were you there’ moments.

It never fails to astonish just how much Arcadia can push the boundaries and how a creativity honed entirely by subculture can blow mainstream constructs into oblivion. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – there is just nothing like it…. Pure, mind blowing next level. 

Here's the video from Boomtown

With thanks to Charlie Raven, Paul Holmes (Witness Images), Marianne Harris, Tom George and Luke Taylor for the photos


  1. What is the tune that played during the midnight shows? Was it made especially for Arcadia? No one recognised it :)

    1. Hi Danielle - Freefall Collective did the soundscaping for the show - but if you are wondering about the track in the video and the one with a tribal vocal - it was Spirit Song by Toronto is Broken

  2. *smug* I was there.

    An artistic masterpiece. I don't mean the structure (though it surely is too) but the "happening" if you'll forgive the twattyness of that.

    1. Totally know what you mean - the funny thing about twattyness - is that it only really apples to stuff that doesn't warrant it. This was a happening - with you all the way ;-0

  3. That just made my night, especially the link to the Rat Pack... Brilliant, love from Mexcio