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Bloc '16: A wonderful festival ruined by one of its founders

We had a great time. And then George Hull published a rant in The Spectator

  • Words: Patrick Hinton | Image: Jake Davis
  • 18 March 2016
« Read this article from the beginning

Safe spaces aren’t about taking the fun out of clubbing, they’re about protecting the experience of every single person who wishes to participate in the community of dance music. And, in turn, making it more fun for everyone involved. A touch of chaos may be a welcome addition to raves, but not at the expense of inclusivity.

The Bloc. boss also writes: “For a long time, we have arranged for a team of kids to help us hang drapes before the rave started. We paid them in free tickets. In previous years, the difficulty was keeping the kids sober long enough that they could still climb a stepladder. This year, I received an email from their co-ordinator asking if we could supply any vegan meals. Also, he added, ‘Any way we can get free Wi-Fi in the chalets… one of the volunteers has some coursework to send?’ Times have changed.”

I'm not sure what drove Hull to write this but god forbid a student providing free labour in return for a decent dinner.

It’s a shame these views have been expressed, because speaking as a 22 year old who falls firmly among the demographic of Hull’s scorn, I can confirm that I and all my peers had an absolute blast at Butlins.

My original review was titled Bloc Weekender: The last days of Minehead, and had a strand running through it likening the experience to the fabled last days of Rome, as civilisation faded into the past and (respectful) debauchery ruled the roost. The atmosphere was so electric upon arrival that I almost expected to flinch from static shocks as I brushed against people in the security queue.

In fact, the pervading rave spirit became so strong that I’m pretty sure I saw it transcend into the physical world and possess someone at one point. On my way out of Rødhåd’s typically powerful performance in the Carharrt stage, I was greeted by the sight of a friend of a friend on the floor, seemingly on the brink of passing out. Welfare attendants arrived to strap her into a wheelchair, and just as they turned to push her towards the health centre, against all odds she snapped out of the stupor, lifting her head up slightly to casually declare “wheel it” as she rolled away. If her hands hadn’t been hidden beneath a blanket, I’m pretty sure her gun fingers would have been raised as well.

I was looking forward to seeing if the wonderful spirit generated at Butlins at the weekend could be replicated on a smaller scale at the planned “super club” Bloc are developing in East London – but now that's of little interest. I'll be checking line-ups posted by promoters and venues that respect the scene and its many interlinked communities instead.

Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Intern. Follow him on Twitter

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