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Awakenings & LWE present: Drumcode Halloween – Tobacco Dock, London

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On Saturday 1st of November, Awakening Festival, Drumcode and London Warehouse Events all came together for what was truly a day to remember. The result of this was one of the biggest Halloween events London has seen to date. London’s massive Tobacco Dock venue comfortably holds 5000 music junkies, meaning that this was easily the biggest event the label has ever conducted. The line-up provided was an array of 20 DJs who have been released on the label over the years and provided a formidable roster that included the likes of likes of Adam Beyer and Mr G. Thus it was no surprise that tickets sold out long, long before the event. 

As I first approached the Tobacco Dock, it was quite easy to tell that something was brewing. The streets around the venue were lined with hundreds of party-goers who ranged from blood covered zombies, to genuinely terrifying clowns. Why the man dressed as a clown felt the need to sing a lullaby as he walked passed me, I will never know. To those of you who have never been to the Tobacco Dock before, the most similar building I can think of would be Covent Garden. Then double the size. It is absolutely mental. 

Inside the venue three rooms made up the event. Upon entering the venue, you found yourself in the main area of the dock. This area was for ravers to roam freely about as they please. Made up by huge open spaces, swooping staircases and large dark archways, and packed with people, this was truly a sight to see. Upstairs, and feeding off this main area was the main room, with a slightly smaller room leading off it. To get to the final room, you had to walk down the stairs and into a dark sweaty basement, where a large rectangle car park provided the destination for all those looking for something slightly harder.  

Throughout the day I was blown away by some of the performances I saw. Len Faki in the basement and Alan Fitzpatrick up in the main room were probably my two favourite sets over the course of proceedings. Len Faki’s set was accompanied with extremely crisp sound and some great swooping lights that scanned across the top of the crowd. This room had that dark underground illegal rave feel to it. I love that. Combining that aspect with Len’s strong pounding baselines and you had quite a party. 

Alan Fitzpatrick is always one of my favourites wherever I see him perform. He always knows how to please the crowd with those mystical catchy melodic tracks entwined with some good old thrusting techno. He took over the main room in style and got every single hand pumping. 

Apart from when attending summer festivals, I don’t think I have ever seen such a large genuinely happy crowd, having such a good time as a collective body. I don’t think I saw a single person throughout the day who wasn’t either smiling or laughing as they ran through this amazing party. With events of a similar size organisation problems often present themselves but neither queuing or over crowding were an issue. It never felt too crowded, I never waited longer than 5 minutes in any queue which in my eyes, consitutes a success. A huge hat tip to all three companies behind this incredible event, and I hope that there are many more opportunities provided in the future for London to relive what it experienced that day.

Words: Sam Owers

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Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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