Inner City Electronic: Festival Review
On Saturday June 2nd, Leeds played host to some of the best DJs going at a brand-new festival – Inner City Electronic. Curated by Ralph Lawson, the day was a celebration of music – not only featuring DJ sets, but also talks, masterclasses, and workshops. We sent Serena Smith down to check out everything going on.
Starting at midday on Saturday and ending at 8am on Sunday morning, the day was undeniably packed with cool stuff to check out and evidently well worth your money. Unfortunately I didn’t get to check out any of the talks or workshops, but their inclusion was a lovely touch. I was refreshed to see the informed decision to spread the festival out across eleven of Leeds’ coolest venues. Having always taken for granted the density of Leeds’ layout myself, a festival where there was the opportunity to chop and change venues, all within (relatively) easy walking distance of each other, was a welcome change to events happening in awkward places on the outskirts of town. The atmosphere up on the roof terrace at Belgrave was just what I expected. The humid evening and relaxed vibes were a pleasant warm-up for what I knew was going to be a long night. Moving to Headrow House a little later on in the evening, I was disappointed not to find a DJ out on the roof itself – but there was a great atmosphere nonetheless up on another of Leeds’ finest rooftops. Checking the set times proved to be slightly overwhelming after a few drinks – but I eventually decided to make my way to Old Red Bus Station. With Mezla and Rowland on, the upbeat tunes inside were intense but energising, and I stayed until the end of their b2b set. Not a crowded venue, it made for a very intimate vibe – just what you want from a daytime set.
Horse Meat Disco have always been a favourite of mine, so I made sure to get to Sheaf St. to catch part of their set as the night drew in. It was quite quiet inside – presumably due to it being the furthest venue from the centre of town – but I still had a great time. Disco always seems to put people in a good mood, and it was the perfect pick-me-up as the day transitioned into the night. With regular doses of crowd-pleasers, I knew I’d made a good call to check out their set when they played ‘Risky Biznizz’. You really can’t stop yourself dancing when the music’s this good. I headed to Church, where it seemed evident that this was the place to be. Stunning visuals – bright lighting set against authentic stained-glass windows – and an amazing live set from KiNK of eclectic techno and house were the perfect end to the night. With no sign of things quieting down even at five in the morning, it was plain to see that everyone was having as much fun as I was.So – utilising all of Leeds’ best venues to create a truly magical day that let you dip in and out of some incredible sets and go at a pace that suited you? A brilliant idea. I’d wondered why no one had ever done this before – and I sincerely hope that they do this again. The amount of people on Facebook groups clamouring after tickets was an indicator of the demand for such a spectacular event, but my experience was truly testament to the efficacy of the festival – it was always going to be a mean feat, but they certainly pulled it off.
Words: Serena Smith