The much awaited second edition of Babylon festival finally came around the other week - with a line up of highly respected underground electronic artists and a solid inaugural event to follow up on, expectations were high amongst the thousands of ravers making their way to the Northern Grampians for the weekend.
After getting through the obligatory ticket and car inspections on the Friday, the majority of attendees started to settle in towards the evening. Those who were lucky enough to get to the Bloc stage earlier in the day were treated to an intelligent live set from the Italian trio, Agents of Time. Working with machine-like precision and synergy, they created an other-worldly atmosphere at the stage with their sophisticated use of analog instruments.
The master Laurent Garnier was up next; perfectly situated between up and coming techno forces to deliver a 3 hour masterclass. The iconic Frenchman went in heavy right from the start, his selection ranging from recently released tracks like ‘Cerchio’ by Fideles, to Oxia’s ‘Domino’ which sent the crowd in to a frenzy. He provided an emotional experience for all before the night grew heavier in beats and intensity - with SHDW & Obscure Shape, then later Dax J who closed proceedings. A satisfying opening day by all accounts.
With no sign of rain on Saturday morning the crowds started to gather early, many stopping at the Halfway House and Day Spa stages, which deserve a special mention. Cleverly located in between the camping area and main stages, these gems allowed passing ravers to soak up melodic, tribal beats provided by local DJs, setting the mood for another day of high caliber music.
Things got serious when Matrixxman took to the Bloc stage with his dark beats, then true to form the legendary Carl Cox brought the groove back - dropping in a Talking Heads ‘Psychokiller’ remix at one point, before taking the enthralled audience on a journey through more powerful numbers. With the stage reaching capacity, Cox was clearly the highlight for many of the revellers, but the techno contingent was in full support of the sets delivered later by Enrico Sangiuliano and Victor Ruiz. With their similar styles, they flowed seamlessly from one to the next and ended Saturday’s session on an energetic high.
Feeling the burn from the previous two days, we rocked up late on Sunday to the delicious surprise of Carl Cox & Eric Powell’s Mobile Disco project, comprising soulful, funky tracks from the 70s all the way to the early 2000s. Fully refreshed by the familiar disco anthems, surrounded by natural beauty and friendly faces, the Babylonians were in their element.
With numerous other artists hitting the mark over the weekend, including the mesmerising Giorgia Anguili with her live set incorporating toys and relentless techno tag-team Pan Pot, Babylon’s musical programme was a triumph. Throw in a liberal, accepting atmosphere, beautiful outfits and the picturesque setting and you have the recipe for a fantastic festival. We look forward to Babylon part 3.
Photo credits: Photos by Bo Az