Preview: Riverside Festival 2016

Article by Claire Francis | 20 May 2016
  • Electric Frog & Pressure Riverside

As the second Bank Holiday weekend in May draws closer, it’s once again time to don those dancing shoes, keep fingers crossed for sunshine, and ready ourselves for the Electric Frog and Pressure Riverside Festival

Glasgow’s annual electronic music extravaganza returns on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May, and with two techno/house-crammed days of class international acts and local talent ahead, the most pressing concern for many festival-goers will be sustaining their energy across the action-packed weekend.

Saturday’s main drawcard is undoubtedly the return of the great ‘Papa’ Sven Vath. After an exuberant set at last year’s event, complete with accompanying go-go dancers, the German techno juggernaut and Cocoon Recordings founder fittingly heads up the label’s stage. Another big billing on the same day (and the same stage) is fellow countryman and techno supremo Ben Klock – the Berghain resident impressed with a solid set at last year’s T In The Park Slam Tent, and the two heavyweights combine to make one rather techno-heavy Saturday.

Still talking techno, this year also marks the 25th anniversary of local legends Slam’s Soma Records label, and the duo will celebrate with the Saturday opening slot on the Cocoon stage. It’s a proud moment for the outfit, who were also worthy nominees in last year’s Scottish Album of the Year awards. As Soma co-founder and label boss Dave Clarke enthuses, “We are delighted with yet another world-class line-up and cannot wait to welcome back Cocoon and the likes of Laurent Garnier and co-promoters Slam to Glasgow.

“We’re bigger and better than ever, and committed to offering Scotland a premier electronic music festival to get excited about”, he adds. "We cannot wait to get our fourth festival underway in just under two weeks time!"

Ben Klock
Ben Klock

Detroit native Gaiser also features on day one – lovers of a bold bassline should mark the talented producer as a must-see – while French dance music pioneer Laurent Garnier continues in a Detroit techno vein while incorporating elements of jazz, disco, and jungle grooves into his impressive live sets. The German contingent is further bolstered by the inclusion of the Dystopian label founder Rødhåd, whose deep, powerful, industrial techno has been an integral part of the Berlin scene; the Berghain resident and up-and-comer Vril; and the Italian youngster Ilario Alicante, who despite his nascent career has already caught the eye of the likes of Richie Hawtin and Richard Villalobos. Alicante now bases his productions in Berlin, the place he has called home for the past four years.

Saturday’s line-up also gives a welcome nod to homegrown talent – in addition to Slam, there’s Glaswegian DJ/producer and head of BEK Audio Gary Beck with his unique, urgent techno, and local party-starters Animal Farm to round out the action on the opening day.

On the Sunday, veteran DJ Fatboy Slim takes the headline slot. Slim, aka Mr Norman Cook, is set to be a crowd pleaser with big beat cuts from the likes of turn-of-the-century albums You’ve Come A Long Way Baby and Half Way Between The Gutter And The Stars, but it’s legendary house DJ/producer Kerri Chandler who is our top Sunday pick. Alongside Chandler’s jazz and soul infused productions, DJ Deeon brings some ghetto house to our shores, Amsterdam resident Joris Voorn stumps up some distinctive, synth-led house grooves, while French producer Dimitri from Paris (known for his spontaneous live sets, ad-libbed in response to the reaction of the crowd) takes things in an exuberant disco direction.

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Glasgow’s own Jackmaster, the raucous Dixon Avenue Basment Jams and the evergreen Harri & Domenic ensure that the local contingent is well represented on day two, with Julio Bashmore (signed by Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird label) and Delhi-born DJ Mash completing the Sunday line-up.

Now in its fourth year, the festival will return once more to its regular venue at the West End’s Riverside Museum. The event’s organisers have been carefully fine-tuning the venue set up to maximise the festival experience – last year’s incorporation of the new Sunset Stage proved an inspired addition – and this year will be no different, as Electric Frog’s Mark Mackechnie explains: “The Electric Frog & Pressure Riverside Festival really is a unique collaboration and the biggest of its kind in Scotland. Our full festival offering is really special this year too – hopefully the sun stays out.

“Scotland’s music audiences have always been called out as the best in the world,” he continues, “and we’re all working hard behind the scenes to make sure this year’s event is the best of the summer!"

The Riverside Festival takes place at Riverside Museum, Glasgow on 28-29 May 2016.