Connect isn’t some one trick pony. We can assure you its more than just rock’n’roll in a field. There’s all manner of side show, extra bits and general extreneous goodness to indulge in. Claire Sawers takes a tour of the grounds
The Unknown Pleasures Tent
Kicking off the fun in the Manicured Noise Field on Friday will be Glaswegian dubsters and reggae-ska lovers, Mungo’s Hi-Fi. Their party mix of mellow, feelgood beats has already gone down a storm at the Knockengorroch, Mela and Skye festivals and they hope to stir up the crowd with the same formula.
On Saturday, those cheeky Club Noir folks will take over and whip the crowd (possibly literally) into a frenzy. Among the attractions is The Organ Grinders, featuring a black Elvis lookalike, and the British whip champion are also set to perform. DJs will deliver the usual louchely glamorous sets with a vintage lounge flavour, and a team of ‘ambient acts’ will mingle through the crowds.
Organiser Tina Warren says, ‘We want everyone to feel like a part of it. This isn’t one of those horrible, face-in-a-puddle festivals. Connect is very up our street and we plan to put on a grown-up, fun and sexy night.’
Whistles that need be kept wet can make best use of the Havana Club Cocktail Bar which can be found in the Unknown Pleasures Tent. Look for the sign marked ‘Calla de la Habana’.
To wrap up the fun on Sunday night, those veterans of genteel old school hedonism Vegas will be unpacking their trilbys and Hawiian shirts, and will be serving up their potent cocktail of swing music, Rat Pack sophistication and glam showgirls galore.
Held in the Circuses and Bread Field, which is dedicated to good food, relaxed drinking, pampering and generally non-noisy types of entertainment, the Speakeasy Café will be a place to come and chill out. There will be a programme of lively and thought-provoking talks and debates held over the weekend, encouraging visitors to break a mental sweat, as well as a dance-induced one. Line-up TBC.
The format has already proved a hit at T in the Park, Glastonbury and The Arches, and now Connect visitors are getting a chance to get down with their bad selves. Located in the Circuses and Bread Field, the idea is simple: get hundreds of people together in a room, dish out the headphones, and let them listen to two channels of music that could be playing anything from drum and bass, disco, reggae or pop. The volume controls, bass and treble can be adjusted to suit personal tastes, giving listeners the chance to get lost in the music, throw down some shapes and dance to their heart’s content.
Totally free from noise pollution, the assortment of head nodding, body popping and full-on arm-waving raving promises to make for a great visual spectacle. The joyfully idea for the quietest party in town was born out of necessity two years ago when council officials for the Glastonbury festival asked for all thumping beats to stop at midnight.
The Double Six Club
Connect wants to give festival goers the chance to rediscover the simple pleasures and bring out their inner seven-year-old. The Double Six Club is at the Speakeasy Cafë and amongst the lo-tech entertainment options on offer here are a game of draughts, the nursing home favourite dominoes, bendy team game Twister and Connect Four. A giant-sized version of Operation and Jenga are not to be attempted with shaky hangover hands.
The Duracell Powerhouse
Just as you’d expect from the people who made that pink bunny keep drumming on and on, the party continues late into the night in the Manicured Noise Field. Expect a mix of funky house and techno, in a neon-lit club atmosphere. Electro sets will be provided until 2am every night, by the Balearic-beat loving Londoner Pete Herbert on Friday, techno-funk producer Lazersonic on Saturday and Zak Frost on Sunday. Visitors can also bring along used batteries to swap for Duracell’s Ultra M3’s. The tent should be easy enough to find, as it’s shaped like a big black and gold battery.
Rizla presents The Invisible Players
These makers of cigarette papers have brought together a team of musical and artistic talents to tour summer festivals in a travelling van that looks like it’s rolled straight out of the 1920s.
Dishing out tunes from inside the van will be punk and dub veteran Don Letts, who started out playing London’s Roxy Nightclub and went on to form the group Big Audio Dynamite with Mick Jones from The Clash. Letts will be joined in the Manicured Noise Field by Greg Wilson, one of the original DJs at Manchester’s Hacienda, and electronic producer Andy Votel, who runs the Twisted Nerve label. The idea is that the DJs will feed off the crowd, and playing whatever suits the mood, but the emphasis will be on creating a laidback party vibe.
The main arena is open each day from 1pm–midnight. The other fields are open until 2am.