Cocoon in the Park 2011
It was in 2009 that Cocoon in the park made its debut, and at the time it was quite innovative to organise such an event in Leeds, but after only three years it has firmly established itself in the North’s Electronic music calendar.
Much a fuss had been made in the upcoming months prior to the announcement as to who would be on the bill for the 2011 line-up , and as Sven Vath is a prerequisite for the event and then Ricardo Villalobos having already played last year the additions of Reboot and Seth Troxler were perhaps not the biggest statements they could have made, however they did offer a degree of musical variety.
With Ticket sales once again exceeding the previous year, from what I’ve heard an approx 8,000 people attended this year, which is quite a feat for an occasion of this kind.
Prior to the event there were potential weather scares, with some forecasters predicting rain on the day which didn’t materialise, and the heavy downpour the night before didn’t pose a problem as the ground was nice and dry by the next day which was great news for everyone and left a few people who were wearing wellies looking a bit silly.
I arrived at the event via one of the shuttle buses that the organisers had arranged, an excellent service (which I recommended in last years review) that picked us up from the city centre and drove us directly to the venue where we walked down the hill to the event gateswhere we donned our wristbands, went through the obligatory security checks and enter the arena.
First thing was to get in the queue for drinks tokens. Not sure what the reasons were behind the tokens, whether it was supposed to aid the speed of service at the drinks tent or to give better financial control of the takings, I decided to buy enough to hopefully see me through to the day so I didn’t have to queue again. I have heard some people bought too many tokens in case of heavy queues and were left with unused tokens that they couldn’t redeem, which could be a learning point for both the organisers and the attendees.
The arena was structured pretty much the same as previous years, main stage at the bottom with banks of Funktion-One speakers (didn’t seem as loud as last year though) with various tents down the wings comprising of two main drinks tents, Red Bull tents, WKD tents, Cigarette vendors, food outlets and a Rekorderlig Tent which was a great addition as most people seemed to really enjoy the fruit ciders they have. Although at £4 for a 330ml can, perhaps a bit expensive.
The toilets seemed to be pretty much the same layout and capacity as previous years, which I think isn’t quite enough really. There were several times that I saw quite long queues for the cubicles in both the gents and ladies and a lot of the girls were going into the men’s to reduce their queuing.
Arriving around 1pm I had missed the majority of Seth Troxlers set but the bit I did hear was very good and ideal for setting theatmosphere of the day, really nice slow building stuff perfect warming up for the rest of the guys, it’s a shame I didn’t hear more but I didn’t fancy getting there too early as it’s a long day ahead.
Reboot was up next doing his live PA, I’m not a great fan of Reboot however his set was a nice contrast to rest of the music played that day and his signature tune Caminando, with its latin vibes was ideal for a nice summer day and was received very well. There were some technical difficulties towards the end of his set too, not sure what it was, laptop or speaker issues, either way it resulted in on a few occasions there being sound interruptions but I guess these things can’t be helped.
Next on stage it was Ricardo Villalobos, for a lot of people regarded as the best DJ on the lineup so quite high expectations were in place and from what I’ve heard both personally talking to people and from what I’ve read on various online publications quite mixed reviews of his performance.
Personally I thought he started off okay, but then got in a bit of rut with some quite uninspiring repetitive tunes, then all of a sudden he upped the tempo and for a good hour he was playing some nice driving techie tracks with some acidic layers building up to quite a frenzy which peaked with him playing an edit of Donna Summers I Feel Love.
After this the vibe was taken down a few notches again, not sure if this was deliberate in an attempt to lower to tempo to allow a level for Sven to start off on. But overall it quite an eclectic set including an Autechre tune and the hiphop classic Planet Rock.
Finally Sven Vath once again rounding of proceedings with the closing set, the first tune was an inspired choice – Sun by Caribou which was quite fitting for the day with the scorching weather. Rest of the set was quite varied and some good techno at times, spanning may sub genres along the way, a particular favorite was Len Fakis remix of Pfirters The Dub Track.
As the day grew long and the night was upon us I was tiring from what was a very enjoyable but long day especially out in the baking sun, so I decided to leave shortly before the event actually finished, I made my way out the road at the top of the hill where I noticed a new addition of an organised taxi centre which looked like a good addition to the logistical side of things, however I had my return trip on the shuttle bus already booked and there it was waiting for me, and after a short wait until it filled up off we went back to Leeds centre, excellent service.
In summary, Cocoon in the park 2011 was once again a great success, somehow the sun gods have granted us another wonderful day which is important at an outdoor event, I wouldn’t have been too happy had it been pissing it down. Some may gripe about the quality of music, but I don’t expect to get musical education at this kind of event. For the heads and chin strokers it may have not been for you but what did you expect, personally it isn’t the music that I am into at the moment, but look at the ingredients; hot sunny day outdoors in a field, drink and other consumables, House/Techno blasting out of Funktion-One speakers, all your mates are there, loads of hot women kicking about in skimpy outfits… Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?