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As Halloween weekend commenced and trick or treaters up and down the country celebrated the spooky holiday tradition, there was one city playing hosts to the eulogy of another highly anticipated concept. Described as “the UK’s fastest growing electronic musical festival”, Outbreak Festival was at the centre of attention in Coventry amongst all young ravers who turned up in their thousands to come and see their favourite artists over the course of the two day extravaganza.

With tickets in high demand, the Ricoh Arena was expected to be at a full capacity as 2014 welcomed in November. Having such prestigious facilities on offer, Outbreak Festival operated six different genre rooms to satisfy the needs of each and every single party goer during those jam packed 48 hours. Outbreak had a deep locker full of different music tastes including house, EDM, techno, D&B, urban underground and many more to produce thousands of glowing smiles amongst the crowds inside the Ricoh over the Halloween weekend.

Living just a 20 minutes drive away from Coventry in Birmingham, we finally pulled up outside the Ricoh Arena on Friday night for our first taste of Outbreak phenomena. Stepping foot out of the taxi, we gazed at the venue in sheer amazement at the insurmountable crowds and queues were forming like they would on a Coventry City home game on a Saturday – Outbreak meant business and I couldn’t wait to watch it blossom.

As soon as we entered the Ricoh, the Main Stage North exploded into life when Birmingham born Tom Shorterz took to the stage. The Rinse FM regular began to entertain and motivate the early arrivals to the dance floor with some of his finest work in house and speed garage including his latest mix, Think Avenue. Having thrown a couple of shapes in the main room, we started to tour around the Ricoh to become more familiar with the rooms and surroundings for the weekend. As we began to explore the premises, we began to see more and more bizarre costumes. This ranged from witches, skeletons and ghosts to boys in short shorts with top knots and girls with long shirts on and Miley Cyrus influenced hair styles – yes, the Ibiza fashion craze of the summer continued into Britain into the Autumn.

We then ventured into the Defected room in The Tomb Stage just after 10pm to catch the electric set of Cristoph. Real name CJ Costigan, Cristoph has been turning several heads on the house scene as of late and the Geordie certainly lived up to the hype keeping his fans on their toes constantly two stepping to every single beat that he dropped – an excellent acquisition to the Defected label.

As I was glancing through the set times at the start of the night, I took note of a couple of my favourite DJ’s and what times they were on and at the top of my priority list was to catch Hannah Wants live. She was absolutely clinical in Ibiza on Tuesday nights at Together at Amnesia and her one hour Outbreak set was just as good. Right from the off set, Wants was focused and in form. The Tamworth born DJ played a similar set to what she delivered at V-Fest but with a couple of different surprises including her latest release Rhymes. I danced on in true admiration with a W raised above my head formed by my index fingers and thumbs. Hats off to Hannah Wants.


Having scouted around the venue more, the Defected room took my fancy again. One of my current favourites that I haven’t been able to get out my head recently, Sonny Fodera, was weaving his magic behind the decks and had the entire dance floor moving with not one person stood still. Ravers were lost in the moment as such favourites like “Where You At” and “Let Me Be” blared out the speakers. Gorgon City then captured my interest and set my ears on fire as the battle between the Defected Room and Main Stage North for my attention continued. Gorgon City were incredible to watch live having seen them already this summer in Ibiza, it was almost like déjà vu. The expected classics like “Ready For Your Love” and “Here For You” we’re welcomed with applause and cheers from the crowd. They even treated fans to their latest release, “Lover Like You” featuring Katy B. Definitely one of the highlights of the opening night.

The action didn’t stop there either. Crowds of trick or treaters flooded into the Main Room South at 2am to catch another big name player in the form of Sigma. The summer favourite “Nobody To Love” received the loudest reaction in the Main Stage South room all night and was almost equalled Sigma’s incredible performance of “Changing” featuring Paloma Faith. I then rushed to Bonkerz Arena to catch an old school friend turn urban underground superstar DJ Russke. Having accumulated over 8 million plays on SoundCloud, Russke’s growing reputation as one of the most high in demand artists in the UK was clearly visible for all to see. Playing the hottest in R&B underground music, the 22 year old put on a show like no other in arguably one of his biggest sets to date following Charlie Sloth in terrific style.

Friday night was then closed out back in the Defected Room with a superb set from Flashmob. Perfecting some of the hottest beats in house today, Danny and Alessandro featured the likes of “Do You Do” featuring Hector Moralez and “Who” featuring Kevin Knapp. These were major hits with the final fanatics standing in the Ricoh sending the crowd home happy ready for round two on Saturday. 

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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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