WHEN it comes to festivals, this really is the summer that keeps on giving.
If you went down to the woods at the weekend, you were sure of a big surprise. The mellow, mashed-up magic of both Wilderness and Cropredy festivals brought together 30,000 festival-goers basking in the sunshine.
And to kick off the season, Swedish House Mafia last month showed Milton Keynes Bowl a lesson in how to go out on a high.
The stellar trio of Scandi DJs took the Bowl to a new level.
Swamped in mud, miles from their cars (early moan alert: why couldn’t we park in the adjoining industrial estate, people?), stranded together in the mammoth Bowl, the crowd could have been on a downer. But while awash in the sea of euphoric faces, even the most hardened anti-corporate old-school ravers could not help but fall for this finale.
After a recent Swedish House Mafia performance in Dublin ended in nine stabbings and a drug overdose, security was tightened for this event– though not tight enough to spoil the buzz. Two stabbings were reported, but with a Bowl brimful of 60,000 partiers, this was a positive event.
Example pulled out the stops for the only live music of the day, this young buck rapper’s talent dazzling – even with a broken ankle – in a set that could have soared later in the bill. But his early appearance whetted the appetites of the dance-hungry crowd, who were by now gleefully sliding down mudbanks.
Teen talent Madeon’s electro-frenzy Icarus also went down a treat as did ringtone raver Calvin Harris, fresh from blitzing T in the Park festival-goers into a frenzy. But everyone knew why they had come and it was for Swedish House Mafia’s swansong. Several people we met (and bonded with) talked about the “travesty” of Steve Angello, Axel Hedfors and Sebastian Ingrosso splitting up. They babbled, incredulous as ’90s boyband fans, and I nodded, trying not to show to my new bezzies that maybe I wasn’t that bothered. I mean, this was a hyper-commercial dance trio going their separate ways, not Lennon’s assassination. In a venue that has staged such anthemic mainstream legends as Queen, Eminem and Oasis, could a dance act really bowl us over?
They could and they did. The world’s biggest headline DJ act, Swedish House Mafia’s stadium-rave synths were made for this moment. In a whirlwind of lasers, fireworks and flashes of genius, the crowd pulsated throughout the two-hour set with Antidote a hammering highlight.
As a Union-jack-clad Ingrosso put it, flailing stylishly on top of the DJ console, it’s been emotional. And I hope to be there when they decide to give it another go.
On your marks - events coming up:
STILL abuzz with Olympic glow? Fan the flames of enthusiasm at Banbury Museum. Its Dreams of Gold Olympic exhibition will take you far beyond the finish line. Until September 8,
this exhibition at the fantastic Spiceball Park venue traces the action from the first official Games in Athens of 1896 and from the Mock Olympics in Hendon of 1786. Here’s a fun fact for
starters: these included gurning, a sack race and a race involving chasing a pig across the countryside! Inspiring memorabilia and pictures jostle for attention and this is a free drop-in event
meaning no ticket hassle or credit card angst – unlike the East End spectacular. Call 01295 753752 or visit www.banburymuseum.org.
Masterchef finalist Andrew Kojima will give demos at Banbury Food Fair in Market Place on Sunday. The chef, writer and teacher will share wisdom at the Pudding Pie Cookery School marquee.
Whet your appetite at 60 stalls, a Ready Steady Cook session, and The Banbury Flower and Produce Show. Visit www. banbury.gov.uk
Would-be writers will love author Meg Harper’s annual summer creating writing course: From Wordsworth to Wordsmith, at The Mill, which starts this week. Use poetry as inspiration for
writing, and try out writing exercises designed to get the creative juices flowing before drafting a short story. Call 01295 227174 or visit