Live Report: Terminal V Festival - Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh
The long, Easter weekend marked the third edition, and the one-year anniversary, of Scotland’s Terminal V Festival with 13,500 festivalgoers attending the sell-out event that took over Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Centre. Situated in the vicinity of Edinburgh Airport, planes fly overhead into the glorious blue sky as the temperature reaches an unseasonably hot 24 degrees.
Walking across the grey rubble of the sprawling car park that sits alongside the airfield the steady 4/4 thud signals fun ahead. The line up boasts a huge array of some of the house and techno scene’s key players; Daniel Avery, Objekt, Derrick Carter, Helena Hauff, Nastia, Tama Sumo and Mall Grab sit alongside an array of local talent.
Approaching the site in the heat of the late afternoon sun, the festivities are well underway. The immediate sight that greets us is comparable to a neon, zombie apocalypse, with hoards of 20-something girls dressed in identikit yellow, pink and green luminous boob tubes and thongs with a mere covering of see-through mesh protecting their modesty, and a smattering of zebra print combat trousers and PVC skirts – God only knows how they’re faring in this heat.
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The festival acts are spread across six stages, with the main two, Area V and The Terminal, housed in vast indoor, industrial spaces and the remaining four constructed in the surrounding field. The Green House, and more specifically Young Marco, is our first port of call. Delving headfirst into a hedonistic sea of fake tan and fake eyelashes, we’re somewhat sceptical about how the rest of the day and night will pan out.
We wander past the Equinox stage where Objekt is bashing out some serous techno beats, and head to The Green House, ran in conjunction with legendary Edinburgh club Sneaky Pete’s. It’s exactly how you would imagine – a small, clear, plastic gazebo style structure, adorned with tropical plants and flowers and a giant disco ball shimmering in the sunlight.
When we arrive Young Marco is in full flow, bandana on head and swigging white wine straight from the bottle. The crowd is oddly sparse, but appear older than the neon-clad younger dancers, currently sprawled out in groups on the grass, basking in the sun (and most likely in the glow of their MDMA haze). A rolling bass line and tropical trumpet fill the space within. The beat grows progressively harder as the Dutch selector moves effortlessly into plying the growing crowd with soaring strings and classic disco.
Weaving through the mesh-clad masses we decide to explore one of the larger arenas – Area V. Expecting to catch Nastia’s set, we find German techno tastemaker Kobosil tearing up the floor, with what sounds like a hard trance record, on a huge stage flanked with massive screens and mesmerising visual effects. Not feeling the tea-time trance vibes we meander back to our starting point for Mr. G’s live set.
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Young Marco is finishing up with a blend of sparkling keys, steel drums and a garage bass line. We catch a glimpse of Mr. G limbering up on the back of the stage with a casual yogic crow pose, in preparation for his signature moves. The tent has already expanded in size with people flocking to see him in action and he does not disappoint.
Kicking off proceedings with his classic ‘House Is A Nation’ moving deftly into his 2016 release ‘Transient’, both of which provoke an outburst of dancing from him in front of the decks, his trademark crazy eyes visible underneath his bucket hat as he mimes along to the lyrics. The darkness brings a change of pace as we head to the Equinox stage where Andrew Weatherall is rolling out a slow, chugging bass.
Sentimental chords emanate from the speakers as the blue lights and smoke provide an ambient mysticism as the music slowly builds and descends into cosmic chaos. The dancers are fully under his spell. Again, the crowd is noticeably older save for a small group at the front stomping their shoeless feet on the grass below.
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Daniel Avery takes the reigns next his brand of techno bringing a dystopian mood. The robotic elements transport us to a land where the machines have finally taken over. We head back to The Green House to catch Horse Meat Disco for a tantalising disco palette cleanser. The energy is palpable with Luke and James representing HMD. The stage really comes to life in the dark of the night. Sultry red and purple lights rebound off the mirror ball and onto the joyful, jubilant bodies writhing below it.
It’s impossible not to smile and the urge to fist pump is unstoppable as they bounce from Fatback Band’s ‘(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop’ to Chic’s ‘I Want Your Love’ and the magnificent ‘(You Make Me Feel) Might Real’ by Sylvester, flowing impeccably into modern day hits like Tom Trago’s ‘Use Me Again’.
Feeling warm and full of abundant disco love, we decide to head back to the hotel – with a short detour through Area V where Richie Hawtin is giving a master class in how techno should be played. His beat rains down a fiery hell on the throbbing crowd below as the AV screens bleed out fiery red and orange flames.
As we leave the festival to the left of us the moon is fittingly full and red and to the right a plane comes into land. Despite our initial reservations, the crowd were some of the nicest we could have expected to encounter at a day festival like this. The Scottish definitely know how to party and they’re some of the friendliest out there to boot.
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Words: Jennifer Wallis
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