Event of the Month: Kappa Futur
There are a few festivals that still remain on my raving bucket list, and Kappa Futur in Torino, Italy was one of the highest on the list, so the excitement levels were peaking and I was eager to be let loose within this fascinating industrial complex. Once you arrive you feel like you've stepped into a Sci-Fi metropolis and the feeling is quite surreal when you hear the thumping boom of the music bellowing from the incredible sound systems that are used for the 2 days of sun-soaked festivities.
Italy is well known for producing many titans of dance music from Sam Paganini to Joseph Capriati and Marco Faroane. The home support turned out to provide great support as did thousands of others from around the world - and the feeling of togetherness within the festival showed exactly why there is no better part of the music scene than house and techno events. The Italians, in particular, are renowned for investing an unbelievable level of energy at any event they go to, and this was once again the case as they played a great role in ensuring that the atmosphere matched the performances of the artists.
Sometimes events don't always live up to the hype of their promo videos but I can assure you that this is not the case with Kappa Futur Festival, as you become just a minuscule member in a sea of fanatic ravers. I was only visiting for one of the two days so I knew full well I would be making the most of my brief visit here, and I sprung straight into action immediately by immersing myself in the festivals regular guests The Martinez Brothers. My favourite part of seeing the Martinez Brothers wasn't actually during their impressive display, it came afterwards as I encountered them backstage and added them to the respectable and ever-growing catalogue of DJ dancing videos that I have been building.
Although it was my first time visiting this spectacular country, I was massively honoured and taken aback by a kind individual who was staring right at me from within the crowd, arms out wide boasting a welcoming smile holding a homemade sign which clearly read: "Bradley Gunn Raver - do you wanna dance?". This was another significant moment in my Bradley Gunn Raver, and if I'm honest made me feel proud of the positive influence I am having on others by pushing my motto "love, life and rave".
I wished that I was spending both days at Kappa Futur, and after thoroughly enjoying myself for the first day I was somewhat disappointed not to be seeing the likes of Pan-Pot, my good friend Seth Troxler, Adriqatique and others including Fatboy Slim who I have spent time with previously. Although I had to cut my trip short, I am intending on embarking on a two-day escapade next year and already cannot wait to be back.
Night at the MusEEum
Rewinding back to the start of the July now to one of the more obscure but fascinating venues I have had the pleasure of dancing in - the world famous London History Museum. This is normally a building you would visit if you were interested in anything from dinosaurs to human evolution, but for me and a fortunate select few we were part of a live stream being hosted by Eastern Electrics as part of their well-executed promotional campaign ahead of 2018's instalment of the festival.
The stream witnessed Eats Everything & Skream, two of our countries most established homegrown talents going B2B and entertaining friends, family members and the keenest of mid-week ravers such as myself for a solid 2 hours of groovy, disco-tinged tracks. The chemistry between Eats Everything & Skream was evident from the get-go, and further demonstrated why they are two of the most respected names in the business.
The vibe was nothing but positive throughout the entirety of their set, and I have no doubt that everyone in attendance will agree that we were all extremely lucky to be treated to a rare disco set as part of an intimate crowd in front of the most intact Stegosaurus fossil skeleton ever found. It was also great to see both Eats Everything & Skream's sons present for this too.
Cocoon In The Park
July also marked my much-anticipated return to Cocoon In The Park, and after being impressed by 2017's instalment I knew that I wouldn't be disappointed. This year's party was more than just a yearly coming together for Sven and his team - 2018 was particularly special as it was a landmark 10 memorable years of Cocoon In The Park.
You could tell the team were intending on delivering a mammoth event with three Fuse residents, Apollonia, the incredible Tale Of Us, my good friend Seth Troxler would be playing back-to-back with Craig Richards and last but not the least, Sven. You could tell that there had been a significant amount of attention to detail placed into curating the lineup.
Whereas last year the eager side of me made arrive as early as possible, this time I made the pragmatic decision to conserve my energy and arrive later on. It's not that I don't enjoy warm up sets or the up and coming acts that are performing, I just knew that with how stellar the line up was for later on in the afternoon it made more sense to reserve myself temporarily.
When I arrived Dan Ghenacia, Dyed Soundroom & Shonky showed exactly why Apollonia are so in demand internationally and are one of the main pillars of Circoloco's success, their track selection and mixing was of the highest order, which came as no surprise. Next up was my good friend Seth Troxler, who was going back-to-back with established artist Craig Richards, and their set with no bias or preference attached happened to be my favourite of the day's proceedings. They incorporated everything from vocal underground house to techno and disco, and it really stood out for me. Following straight on from them were champion duo Tale Of Us, bringing their melodic and progressive style to the table and this was a perfect way to set up Sven for his unreal extended set later on in the evening.
Overall it was another memorable year at Cocoon In The Park, with a picturesque venue, impeccable sound system, a friendly crowd who are all their for the same reason and fantastic hospitality from everyone involved. However, what I particularly like about the event is their noble choice of there just being the one stage, and although some may criticise this and claim there's a lack of selection that you might get at other festivals, I realised that if the line up is assembled properly it isn't necessary. Plus look on the bright side, you don't have to face the issue of losing your friends every half an hour!
The end of July marked another debut in the Bradley Gunn Raver calendar, and this time I would be heading over to Belgium to join a jaw-dropping fellow 400,000 ravers from all over the world as a party the fairy tale that has become known as 'Tomorrowland'. This was yet another event that I was extremely humbled to have been invited to be a part of, as anyone who has attempted to head over to the event will tell you - tickets are extremely difficult to obtain as individuals from most continents hastily snap them up to fulfil their dreams of telling others "I was there". This is without a doubt one of the biggest electronic dance music festivals ever created, and it was a difficult decision between this or Kappa Futur Festival when it came to crowning the event of the month.
Most commentators or anyone generally involved in the music scene would admit to you that Tomorrowland tends to sway towards the more commercial spectrum of the dance music scene, but still accommodates for us underground music heads. With the main stage boasting spectacular props as part of their world class production setups and having artists including Carl Cox and Charlotte De Witte playing them, I knew immediately that this was going to be a weekend to remember and I didn't hesitate for a second in engrossing myself in the heavier techno that I had grown to love in recent years.
After being treated to a master display by both Carl and Charlotte, I took the obvious opportunity in exploring the other hidden, magical parts of the festivals that were waiting to be discovered.
With gargantuan firework displays, vibrant lights dazzling your eyes from all directions, a mouth-watering offering of different foods, beautiful eye-catching natural aspects of scenery that Belgium has to offer plus an endless list of unbelievable acts - it really wasn't difficult to see why this festival attracted an incredible few hundred thousand people year in year out and continued to grow. If you look back at 2009 in contrast to this year, you will notice from the photos captured how although the level of work and attention to detail from its first year is quality, year in year out as Tomorrowland has grown so has its investment in always looking at improving its reputation and offering something more to those that go to great lengths to be part of this enchanting journey.
I'll be honest, I didn't want the fairy tale of Tomorrowland to conclude, and I was envious of those that would be attending the following weekend. We may only be seven months into the year but I'm already intrigued as to what the rest of this year and 2019 has in store, and I already have my sights set on what theme next years Tomorrowland is.
Last but not least I was back on home turf at Motion in Bristol for Defected's day & night label party, and I was looking forward to getting involved once again with a brand that I have become more and more associated with in recent times. Head honcho Simon Dunmore was playing alongside fellow signees to his label, from the hugely in demand Camelphat to Franky Rizardo and Radio 1 DJ host Monki to name but a few.
What always attracts me to Defected's events, in particular, is the fact that it still stands out amongst a largely saturated underground scene, and they implement a unique vibe with an amalgamation of more classic house records but still maintain that underground feel at times. It was also nice to be making a return to Motion as I have been absent for large parts of this year due to the opportunities I have understandably wanted to take overseas at international events.
Once again as soon as I bumped into Jacky we wasted no time in making good use of the dancefloor, and it's a real pleasure to see how pleased Jacky is to see me whenever we are both at the same event together. We added another dancing video to the album, and I believe this is now our third one together after choreographing ones in the past at Forbidden Forest and funnily enough the last Defected party at Motion.
Overall July was yet another month that was a gift that kept on giving, but there was no time to rest as I soon had festivals such as Boomtown to appear at and another huge trip overseas to complete. August was waiting for me, and I was ready to burst into the latter stages of 2018 and conclude summer as strong as I possibly could.