My Detonate weekend didn’t quite go to plan. Like a shot to the heart, I was struck down with illness on the Friday. And although I missed Scorzayzee tearing up his set, and Bru-C and Darkzy closing the show, I was determined to power through to see what Saturday had to offer.
It was up and at ‘em the morning of, with a fry-up and a few swift ones with the lasses to get us into the swing of things. Wellies and bucket hats firmly on their respective body parts, we hopped in a cab and made the grand voyage through Sneinton to Colwick Park.
On entering the site, it was clear security had been ramped up a notch. After a pretty thorough search, me and my small team of four found ourselves inside Detonate’s first ever two-day event. Colwick Park had been transformed from the usual dog-walker paradise to a hedonistic celebration of all things d ‘n’ b, and everything in between. Dragonflies still included.
Our day kicked off with Solardo on The Hidden Woodland stage; tucked away among the trees with a low-ceilinged tent, the Lost Boys vibe was strong up here. The lads on stage in the party shirts and Lennon-esque sunglasses eased us in to the festival proper.
Over to the bar for a Red Stripe top-up, and we paid with the voucher system embedded into our wristbands. I was skeptical about the technology at first, but as the day went on, the bar queues definitely moved quicker than any other festival, and there was no panic about losing a tenner while rooting around for loo roll in the bottom of my bum bag.
Armed with five cans for twenty quid, we made our way over to the main stage to catch the almighty David Rodigan MBE. He reminds me of my grandad and he plays the classic dancehall hearts and waists love in equal measure, so I love him. I was not disappointed, and soaked up my fourth history lesson with the professor of UK reggae.
By five o’clock I was ready for some scran, so we pac-a-mac picnicked with a 3CZ jerk chicken burger and more Red Stripe as Kurupt FM serenaded us in the background. What a sick job them lads have; gerrin paid to hype a crowd and crack jokes while your mates play garage and grime bangers in the background. That being said, if I hear Rebound X’s Rhythm and Gash one more time this week, I might snap.
Suitably full, we made our way to the front of the crowd just in time to see Wiley grace the stage. Kicking off with Rolex, Heatwave and throwing in a dash of Too Many Man, the BBK member got us gassed and ready for the second half of our day.
We ploughed on in true fashion and meandered over to The Woodland Stage to catch Groove Armada. It felt odd that one of the most popular acts of the evening was in a tent, but it made for a more intimate affair, and we arrived early enough to get a space, so we weren’t bothered. Snooze you lose, suckers.
There was no rest for the wicked by this point, and we steamrollered back to mainstage to catch the rest of Shy FX set. He was, by far, the highlight of the day; rousing the crowd and dropping banger after banger till we were nothing more than a swarming pile of bodies. Mosh pits were introduced. Dancing was highly encouraged. Ladies got down low.
A brief pause in music made way for headliners, Chase and Status, as they took to the stage with Rage to end the night. Blind Faith was euphoric and as Delilah’s vocals rang out for Time, that all-encompassing “Let me live here forever” festival feeling hit with full force.
Leaving a festival site is probably one of my least favourite things to do. Thousands of young zombies covered in mud, flailing aimlessly about the place as they struggle to hail down cabs? No thanks. Luckily, Detonate was not so chaotic. I’ve never left a festival in such a swift, orderly fashion; straight out of the site, directed by coppers and volunteers into a queue for a £2 bus, hop on within five minutes, and head back into town. Quick. As. A. Flash. A brilliant feat of organization.
Detonate 2017 was great. It’s succeeded in making the leap to a full weekend festival, complete with big names and little quirks that made the day a true celebration of how Notts likes to get down.
Detonate Festival took place from Friday 9 - Saturday 10 June 2017