Reviewed: Clockstock at Chelmsford Racecourse
Clockwork Orange. Clockstock at Chelmsford Racecourse. Saturday, June 22nd 2019. A day to truly be remembered. This was my very first Clockwork Orange event, and it could not have come soon enough!
For those of you who haven’t heard of the brand ‘Clockwork Orange’ before, let me just give you a little bit of a history lesson. The first party started as merely a gathering of friends. It wasn’t long before the word spread, and gatherings started to become more regular. They began popping up in multiple locations throughout London.
In 1994, Clockwork celebrated its 1st birthday and started to throw its first sold out parties at Electric Film Studios, The Cross, and Camden Palace. In no time at all, the brand was off to Ibiza with a summer residency at Es Paradis. Ibiza was the perfect springboard for Clockwork. It gained a huge reputation and an extremely devoted following within the 90s clubbing scene.
As a result of its roots being buried deep in the 90s, Clockwork has picked up a particular breed of followers. Referred to as either the ‘Orange Army’ or ‘Clockies’. These die-hard ravers are exactly who you want showing up at your events. These old school groovers are the true spirit that rave culture was built on. As a result, a Clockwork Orange crowd is predominantly of the older generation, and that is what makes it all the more special. The variety of people who attend these events is vast. Such a spectrum of characters, somehow all coming together around one particular love: music. It really is special to see.
Clockstock at Chelmsford Racecourse is one of Clockwork Orange’s new ventures. Attempting to bring the old school and the next generation together for one party. This is a new and substantial step for the brand. Selling out months in advance and promoting an extremely diverse and talented line-up, Clockstock was THE place to be on Saturday 22nd June 2019. This year’s line-up had huge potential with the likes of Erick Morillo, Roger Sanchez, Joey Neggro, Tony Humphries, Todd Terry and DJ Sneak all making an appearance. It was also extremely nice to see the Clockwork Orange veterans would also be making up a large percentage of performing artists, including Clockwork’s masterminds Danny Gould and Andy Manston.
Arriving at the event on the morning of the 22nd, the sun was streaming down over the UK with not a single cloud to be seen in the sky. Clockstock could not have fallen on a nicer day! Getting into the event was interesting. Chelmsford Racecourse is definitely out in the sticks, let me tell you that. I will say though, it was a great venue to hold the event once you eventually got there. Security was efficient and in no time at all, we were through and amongst the madness. A sea of orange, weird and wonderful outfits could be seen laid out across the racecourse as we came out into the central bar area. It looked quality!
Clockstock was operating under a drink token policy with wristbands being used to actually make the drink purchases at the bars. Having seen this at previous events, this is easily something that can put a dampener on the day, with adding tokens to the wristbands becoming extremely long-winded and time consuming. This was certainly not the case here though. With countless stewards circulating the grounds with portable card machines, it was a matter of minutes before we had our wristbands filled up and ready to hit the bars.
The stage layout for the event was ideal. All were within a reasonable walking distance, but not too close to intrude on each other. The main stage was packed out from early on in the afternoon with the other areas filling up extremely quickly as well. These included the Clockwork Terrace, a Future Skool Stage, a Disco Stage, a Grandstand stage, and of course an Old Skool Stage as well. To say that Clockstock catered for all would be accurate.
Having been in the festival for about an hour, and having done a circuit of all the stages, I had learnt a few things about Clockstock and about Clockwork Orange. This new event, filled with happy friendly faces, and strewn with musical talent from around the globe, was quickly becoming one of my favourite parties I’ve ever attended. I am going to struggle to describe the feeling that I got from the event that day but I’ll give it a go. A combination of a few things made it feel particularly special.
The older generations coming together with the younger generations was probably a considerable factor. There was not a hint of trouble throughout the day. Clockwork Orange lived up to its reputation of peaceful friendly ravers coming together to enjoy inspirational music, and get along as one. Another factor was definitely the music. Having been to some events recently, and hearing the same drum roll over and over again for 10 hours, it was a breath of fresh air to take a step back into the ’90s and experience some outright dance classics. Personally, I couldn’t fault a single track selection throughout the day and I don’t think I have ever experienced that before. Flawless.
I would say there were a number of particular highlights for me during the day. Witnessing Xpansion’s ‘Move Your Body’ dropped on the Clockwork Terrace by Seb Fontaine. Andy Manston hitting the terrace with some saxophone support to really bring through that summer feelings. Watching the sun go down behind the main stage as Todd Terry, Roger Sanchez, and Erick Morillo provided the soundtrack. Sunset over the main stage was something else entirely!
Usually, in my reviews, this is where I would dive into which artists I saw throughout the day and go into some particular highlights from each set. For a few reasons though, I’m not going to do this. Firstly there were too many gems that occurred to sit here and list them. We would be here for days.
The second is that Clockwork Orange has blessed the public with one final gift. All main stage, the terrace and Paul Trouble Anderson stage sets have been recorded and posted on their Soundcloud. For all of you who either attended or for those of you who unfortunately couldn’t make it this year, I would encourage you all to go and have a browse. These sets are the perfect summer soundtrack and I think there is unquestionably something there for everyone to enjoy. A true example of the talent that was witnessed at Clockstock.
Clockstock 2020 planning is already underway and believe me you do not want to miss out. I am already itching to get back to the racecourse. An amazing crowd, perfect weather, even better music, and a brand that is truly reaching its potential. For those of you who just can’t wait until next year, Clockwork Orange will be out in Ibiza 18th – 22nd July for an array of boat parties and club appearances. For anyone who’s staying in the UK, there will also be an event at Printworks London taking place on 21st September and a day party at London’s fabric on 30th November.
A big thank you to all involved in the organisation of Clockstock. It really was a special day.
Photo credit: Daddy’s Got Sweets