Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh
The wired atmosphere is palpable from the minute we sit down on the shuttle bus in St Andrew Square. Glitter, mesh, unicorn colours and a myriad of other festival styles adorn every single person on their way to the highly anticipated Terminal V. When watching airplanes hurtle down the runway whilst turning into the drive for the Royal Highland Centre, the sense behind the festival’s name finally becomes apparent. Upon passing security, it is evident that Nightvision want to create the true festival feel, providing food vans, cash machines and of course a plethora of Red Stripe to make everyone feel truly at home.
Handily, the set times are the first posters we see so we immediately hash out our stage-to-stage plan in order to catch all the best acts. Area V stage is the first hit, boasting a warehouse as big as an aircraft hangar. Despite the cavernous size, the audience, separated from the bar by a tech box, fills the space with wild dance moves – no walking on the spot here.
Nightvision advertised audio-visual installations and, boy, do they come through. The laser lights surround a large V above the decks and continue to move across the crowd to the constant driving beat of the set. This intensity increases throughout the night to beams that appeared to connect ceiling and floor for Pan-Pot’s penultimate set.
Unfortunately the Lab stage is smaller than expected, nevertheless the audience are completely enthralled with Rebecca Vasmant’s jazzy rhythms and Gareth Sommerville’s raw set. The low ceilings provide a certain grimy, club feeling which gives people the option to be part of something more intimate and less intimidatingly large.
The Terminal stage hosts Mall Grab in all his vivaciously fun glory. The Australian DJ does what he does best, giving everyone a chance to shun the pretentious aspects of house music and just have a good dance. The transition to Bicep created a hasty flow of people from Area V into the Terminal stage all there to admire the variety house set which boasts that special sprinkling of the duo’s own creation. ‘Glue’ proved the audience’s support for Bicep’s original work, a hit of the night.
The VIP Courtyard allows for a wider selection of drinks, even espresso martinis, and an outside area that gives out a strong beer garden vibe. It is an ideal place to take a seat or dance with a bit more room to the local DJ’s like Tweak, Overground and High Tea who all make sure to bring out some well-known remixes and disco for the relaxing crowd.
The entire event would be remarkably improved, however, if there was just one chill out area that everyone could enjoy. The three stages are amazing but unless you have access to the VIP Courtyard there is nowhere to take a moment to breathe or chat – if only the food area had a DJ playing some simmering experimental electronic sounds, Four Tet-style. Nonetheless, it was almost perfect.
Image: Briony Pickford