Reviewed: elrow Town Festival 2019
If you haven’t heard of elrow at this point, what rock have you been hiding under? They’ve created sell out events attended by more than 2.5 million people, in over 50 cities across the world, and are one of the most renowned party brands globally. Having been to a couple of their events in London (see my 36 hour tour de force article here), I was looking forward to attending their 3rd elrow Town Festival which took place in London at Trent Park, Cockfosters on 17th August 2019.
Upon arrival, me and my other half get stuck in right away by jumping in the foam pit at The Fire Station. Cold cut classic ‘God Made Me Phunky’ by Mike Dunn is playing, the sun is blazing and I can’t help thinking this is a pretty sick start to the festival.
We decide to pimp ourselves out. We start with inflatables and head gear at the Grandmaster Flash photobooth and it all escalates shortly after. My other half goes for the full mermaid effect with glitter and accessories from In Your Dreams to accompany her shell bikini and sparkly silver skirt. I opt for full sleeves on both arms at the Desperados Paint Works. These come alive under UV lights to great effect, alongside my glow in the dark t-shirt, in the El Bowsque Encantado tent.
The Enchanted Forest tent is a beautiful thing to behold. You can see all the intricate details the organisers have put into the production which makes it feel like you’ve stepped into another world. Every inch of the ceiling is covered in beautiful spider webs, leaves, hanging flowers, and vines. The first act I’ve come to see is playing in a cottage. Having listened to his radio show, Flow, for several years I was looking forward to Franky Rizardo’s set. A stand out in my mind is ‘Pump Up The Swag ‘(M .Fukuda Remix) by Toni Alvarez & Miguel do Reis. The track is archetypical of the type of music you’ll hear at elrow events. The sample ‘Make My Day’ is still ringing in my mind.
After sweating it out we head down to the inflatable Absolut Pink Cathedral for the roller disco hosted by Little Gay Brother. This is super fun and you can’t help smiling away watching the experts spinning and twirling with grace and elegance next to people barely able to move or hurtling into inflatables that surround the skate floor.
We follow through with more fun and games at The Rowxford. We’re drawn in by a group shouting:
‘All things bright and spangley, all ravers great and small, all things wild and wangley, each elrow has them all’
We strut into the tent, catwalk style, and discover that we’ve entered into a dance off to the soundtrack of ‘Grease.’ My other half, with her dance background, knows all the words and moves and slides easily through the rounds, ‘Greased Lightnin’ to ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ to ‘You’re The One That I Want’. She eventually wins the dance off and is transformed into Sandy at the end, blonde wig and everythang.
We walk to see friends, The Menendez Brothers, DJn at The Wunderground Rescue truck. They played everything from house staples like ‘Brighter Days’ by Cajmere feat Dajae and ‘I Want To Thank You’ (Earl Jeffers Edit) by Alicia Myers to old school garage classics like ‘It’s The Way’ by Future Underground Nation and ‘Fly Bi’ by Teebone feat MC Sparks & MC Kie. By the end of their set the dancefloor is rammo.
We move to the Uptown VIP area viewing platform to watch the tail end of CamelPhat’s set, the Kraken Show and the start of Jamie Jones’ set at El Triangulo de las Rowmudas, the main stage and pirate megaship. A giant whale structure is moving its tail. Huge 15ft puppets manned by 1-4 people are making their way through the sea of humans; I spot fishes, mermaids, crabs and octopuses amongst their ranks. The distinct cawing of seagulls echoes through the site as confetti cannons unleash tonnes of ammo on an ecstatic crowd. As the sun sets the watchful eyes of the Kraken light up and a mesmerising light show projects onto it, melting the crowd into oblivion.
As one of the first big DJs I interviewed several years back, I had to check out Heidi at the Rowlympic Games. Set amongst ancient Roman ruins, Ibiza style dancers are pumping away, pyrotechnics are blasting upwards from the tops of columns, all to the soundtrack of what sounds like ‘Dedication To House’ by Harry Romero mixed with the acapella from ‘K.O.T. Anthem’ by Kings of Tomorrow.
We end elrow Town Festival with the one and only Erick Morillo. Last time I got to see the Subliminal Records founder and legend was at Egg nightclub and on that occasion, you couldn’t even open doors to the main room as it was so packed out. Luckily, there was room in the El Bowsque Encantado tent. A stand out in my mind from his set was a remix he played of ‘Promised Land’ by Joe Smooth. I’ve been trying to find it for ages and it’s eating away at me. HMU if you find it @JDent2612 ha. Another was one of his own production ‘Fifth Element’. Jezus.
Following the elrow Town Festival extravaganza, which saw over 50 DJ’s and 200 elrow characters lead 25,000 party-goers through a wacky and inflatable-filled immersive haven, elrow can now reveal their next London outing Horroween, at The Drumsheds on 3rd November 2019. Sign up for first access to tickets on sale from Tuesday 3rd September 2019 here