This article is from 2009.
Colours and Streetrave have decided to celebrate their 20th anniversary in style, and you’re all invited as they present perhaps the biggest club event Edinburgh has ever seen – the EH1 Festival at the Royal Highland Showground out at Ingliston. ‘It’s a great line-up, we’ve got over 100 artists,’ explains Ricky McGowan, head honcho at Colours/Streetrave. ‘If you’re into dance music we’ve got something for everyone; it’s the biggest event we’ve ever put on.’
He’s not joking. EH1 boats eight arenas (and a VIP Village hosted by Hed Kandi) and covers everything from trance and hardhouse through house and techno to drum & bass and rave with names like Roger Sanchez, Above & Beyond, Adamski, Shaun Ryder (live), Herman Cattaneo, Lisa Lashes, Fabio & Grooverider, Frankie Knuckles, Candi Staton, Derrick May, Sander Kleinenberg and many, many more (see www.eh1musicfestival.com for full details).
And for the headline acts they’ve reserved two very appropriate legends of dance music culture. ‘Orbital had just come back for their own 20th anniversary while Carl Cox is a mainstay of Colours for the last 20 years so he was the only choice for the classic old-school set,’ says McGowan.
‘I’ve always had an amazing affinity with the Scottish crowds, over 20 years,’ adds the ever affable Cox. ‘I was there right at the beginning of Streetrave, with Ricky McGowan, and it’s just amazing to get to such a milestone, to be able to feel such an interest in what we’re doing now, with the next generation.’ Now one of the world’s greatest and most in-demand techno DJs, Carl Cox started in the rave scene back in the 80s, and his FACT compilation (1995) is one of the highest selling and most influential mix CDs of all time. ‘I never actually had an opportunity to form a band, so with DJing it became finding a tune I enjoyed, put it on the turntable and there’s people dancing. And I thought, you know what, that’s what I can do well. So that’s what I did, all I did was perfect the art of making the records make sense.’
Not only will he be headlining with an ‘old skool/classics’ set in the main arena, he’ll also be playing a bang-up-to-date set as he hosts his own arena, hand-picking names like Darren Emerson, Derrick Carter, Inner City (live) and Josh Wink to man the decks. But there’s a certain Irish DJ that has particularly impressed Cox over the last few years: ‘Fergie used to be at the top of his tree playing hard dance but he’s completely departed from that now. And out of everyone I know he’s the only one who’s decided that he wants to do something different which is closer to his heart. Which obviously lost him a lot of mainstream popularity but he’s able to maintain where he is from a credible point of view based on the music that he’s playing now. And it’s amazing, actually. And I can only support that.’
EH1 is the perfect antidote and accompaniment to days of theatre and comedy, a real chance to let your hair down to some of the greatest DJs and live acts in electronic music. Cox isn’t the only one looking forward to rocking Ingliston. DJ/producer Paul Woolford (aka Bobby Peru) is promising: ‘Cutting edge house and techno and some huge re-edited festival bangers. It’s gonna rock. I love Scottish crowds; it’s actually one of my favourite places to play because of how responsive you guys are. So bring it on …’
Don Diablo is equally excited, and is already chomping at the bit before his four-deck set of hard electro. ‘I think the Scottish punters, alongside the Asian ravers, are the best crowd to play to in the world,’ he exclaims. ‘They just seem to get into the music so much it’s absolutely inspiring. Even if you play a lot of new music that isn’t even out yet they still party like there is no tomorrow. Unfortunately that is something you don’t experience every day any more.’
It’s the heady mix of hard beats, funky house, old school electro, live acts and the best crowd in the world that should make EH1’s first year one to remember. ‘We’ll see how year one goes, but hopefully everyone will have a good time and we’ll take it from there,’ explains McGowan, and with any luck we’ll see EH1 securing its place as a dance Mecca as part of the Fringe for years to come.
EH1 Festival, Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, 0844 870 0000, Fri 6pm–midnight (campers only), Sat noon–6am; Fri 14 Aug (campers only) & Sat 15 Aug; £49.50, £69.50 (inc camping), £74.50 (VIP tickets), £89.50 (VIP inc camping).