Coloursfest: Moving with the times

Another year, another cutting-edge Coloursfest - The Skinny talks it over with QFX and the Trophy Twins

Feature by Don McVinnie | 05 Jun 2008
  • Coloursfest

A stalwart of Scottish clubbing, Colours have been promoting large-scale nationwide dance events since 1989. For a child of the original rave generation, who started out hosting warehouse parties and other such less-than-legal events, to still be at the top of the game 19 years later is an incredible feat. Having witnessed the demise of many of their competitors over the years and still being able to regularly pull in sellout crowds, the Colours entourage must be doing something right to remain where they are.

Colours' secret is a constant evolution on par with rave culture. As raves gradually moved out of the warehouses and underground tunnels into the superclubs in the late 90's, so did Colours. And when the clubbing population grew tired of the mass consumerist superclubs, looking to splash their cash elsewhere, Colours took their annual Coloursfest to much more corporate premises in a retail park just outside of Glasgow: the Braehead Shopping Centre. Colours' ability to adapt and push new ideas on the clubbing audience keeps them at the head of their game, and while the warehouse and tunnel raves do still exist, they form a much smaller part of the spectrum. Today's raves are much more organised than ever before.

The Trophy Twins are appearing at this year's bash, fresh from their stint at Scotland's other mass love-in, Fantasylands. Mark Foster from the duo explains, "It's just down to a generation shift. The mass organised raves for the clubbers today are what the illegal parties were to us older types years ago". Colours veteran Kirk Turnbull, of legendary Scottish dance act QFX, agrees: "You can only stay in one venue for so long before the crowd outgrows it. Colours at least try to think about where it's going to go. Rather than trying to do an event every month in one venue where they'd be struggling, they move to a bigger venue where they can do it every 3 months like it's supposed to be done, and I think that's where Colours are coming from in staging such events".

The shift in location doesn't necessarily reflect the attitude of ravers however. "While they [the events] are more controlled and organised, the essence is still the same. People still get lost in the music until reality dawns the next day, and the atmosphere is still just as immense," explains Foster. Kirk Turnbull sees today's clubbing audience rather differently though. "The crowds are very different. I certainly don't think it'll ever be like what it was. A lot of the youngsters who are coming now, their parents were at similar events. It's great to see the old faces that were there back in the day, 10 or 15 years ago when we started up, who really value the band. But it's also great to see the younger generation coming through and enjoying the music even though their attitudes are very different".

The other key factor in Colours' success is their ability to appeal to a very broad audience despite the various tangents that dance music has taken in its evolutionary process. With 6 rooms dedicated to everything from trance, hardcore, house, techno, progressive and electro, and artists as wide-ranging as Paul van Dyk, Tommyknocker and Alex Kidd, there is something a bit special for everyone interested. Turnbull sums it up best: "They've organised it so that there are areas covering the different genres of music for all who attend, since Coloursfest has to cater for the different sorts of people who would attend Colours' various events. There's definitely something there for everybody".

You can check out QFX and Trophy Twins at Coloursfest 08 at Glasgow's Braehead Arena on Saturday 7th June. QFX will also release a brand new album on their reformed record label Epidemic in October this year.