An action-packed month sees Bradley visiting both Miami Music week and the hospital.
Bradley Gunn Raver is that guy in the goggles at the front of every rave dancing his ass off, he's Ministry of Sound's Rave Reviewer In Chief. He goes to an insane amount of raves, which he reviews every month for you in his column Bradley Gunn Raver's Rave Review.
I was approaching the halfway mark of an already unforgettable year, but there was no time for reflection as there were some truly illustrious events lined up on both home and foreign soil. As always, the competition was stiff, but this crown of 'event of the month' this month had to be awarded to Awakenings Festival. I first attended the draw-dropping Dutch festival last year and was eagerly awaiting my second outing.
One of my favourite aspects of larger scale events in general and Awakenings, in particular, is the advanced levels of production and how the team manage to up the ante every single time. A great deal of credit has to go to the geniuses behind the scenes and their boundless creativity.
Just like last year, I made the pragmatic decision to spend both days at the festival to satisfy my raving requirements because let's be honest - 1 say at Awakenings just isn't enough, is it? In typical BGR fashion, my attention was drawn to the outdoor stages where the delightful Dutch sun beating down on my fellow ravers while an incredible line up of maestros including Carl Cox, Loco Dic, Jamie Jones, Adam Beyer, Dubfire and Nicole Moudaber brought the tunes. With multiple stages and such a wide variety of artists, the gritty sounds of acid, techno and house kept me thoroughly entertained from start to finish.
It was a pleasure as always to encounter Seth Troxler again and I'm sure he can agree that we both have an enjoyable, positive time when being in one another's company. I also danced with Maceo Plex, it almost looks as though he is as enthusiastic as me!
Awakenings wasn't my only jaunt to the Netherlands in June, as I was also over at the start of the month for Free Your Mind Festival. The country is every bit as beautiful as it looks on postcards and even though Amsterdam is a beautiful city, I was definitely excited at the prospect of absorbing more Dutch culture and exploring a new rave venue! This year was a special one for the Free Your Mind team as it was their 15th year of throwing parties.
The festival was described as "partygoers around the world join here as a community to express their love for music, art, life and freedom," which was hugely appealing to me and these words encapsulated what my 'love, life and rave' motto is all about. I could not wait to burst through the entrance and spring into action!
When I arrived it was straight to the main stage, which happened to be one of six! I think it goes without saying that promoters in Holland know how to spoil us! There were no holds barred as the organisers drafted in respected names including Joris Voorn, fellow Bristolian Eats Everything, Knee Deep In Sound label-head Hot Since 82 and the unique figure we all know as Kölsch. The techno that was being supplied by these artists was mind blowing and they captivated their audience as set after set kept everyone firmly rooted to the dance floor.
Visiting a different part of Holland was truly was the experience that I hoped for, and I went home with another fond memory that had taken place in a country that I was growing more and more attached to during every visit.
The UK in June can only mean one thing - Junction 2. It's hard to believe that the legendary festival is only in its third year as its growth and reputation across the scene has been colossal. After attending the previous two editions I had been waiting for what seemed like an eternity to be back under the pillars of the intimidating, but appealing structure under the M4 motorway.
For me, Junction 2 is unique on home soil for the location, lineup and levels of production. As expected most of my time was spent at the Drumcode stage and if you've seen any photos or videos from this stage you'll understand why. The event was executed perfectly, once again. It's amazing how the organisers can make the event reminiscent of European techno festivals, yet still maintain a unique London flavour.
After three years my favourite is still the original edition, as there was significantly more space to dance, but inevitably with such a successful event, the crowds have grown larger over the years.
Although I wasn't able to kick into action as much as I could in the first year, I appreciate that it is important to remember that for a promoter it can be a battle to get the balance right with the customer experience and not making a financial loss after injecting so much into lineups, production, security and other costs that many of us don't always think about. You can read LWE's statement on the issue here.
Having said that and being completely open and honest about my experience, every other aspect of the event was spot on and the hospitality of LWE was, as normal, of the highest order. It goes without saying I am already looking forward to my fourth year in 2019. Junction 2 still has a tight grip on my heart.
In the middle of the month, I was headed out to Spain's idyllic, culture soaked city Barcelona for Off-Sonar. One of the highlights of the international rave calendar, brands and labels from all around the world put on showcases to bask in the beauty of music.
Over for the Friday and Saturday, I would be delving into the unbeatable Elrow, Nina Kraviz presents Трип, Secret Sundaze and last-but-not-least my beloved Drumcode. I was a huge fan of the distinctive venues utilised throughout the city, with open-air parties blossoming in between the archaic city structures. The intimacy and quirky locations really added to the excitement and helped to generate its own special atmosphere at every event I attended.
My favourite area of the site was Poble Espanyol which hosted both Drumcode and Elow. The square with buildings on every side towering above was great and added to the vibe of the events too. It was great to get a video with Pan-Po640t too: