Reviewed: Outlook Festival 2019
For the past 10 years, the Fort Punta Christo has been a second home for the 12,000 ravers of Outlook Festival. September marked the time in which ravers from all over the world come together for Europe’s biggest celebration of Soundsystem culture. Sadly, 2019 was the last year that it would take place at the fort. After experiencing just how incredible it was last year, we thought it was only right to get involved in the action for the final year because you know, it’s not every day that you get the chance to have a rave-up in a 19th Century fort!
The opening ceremony for Outlook Festival 2019 was like no other, taking place in a 2000-year-old amphitheatre, there is no better way to kick start the festival and after missing it last year we made sure that this time around we didn’t make that mistake again. With a tasty little line-up consisting of Andy C, Shy FX, Loyle Carner, Mala & The Outlook Orchestra, Gentleman’s Dub Club and Flohio, there was enough variety to get those eardrums warmed up nicely for the days ahead. We arrived about halfway through Mala & The Outlook Orchestra but before we had even had a chance to lock into the music we were absolutely stunned at the sheer size of the place, it really is impossible to put into words how extraordinary it was and all that can be said was that we couldn’t have been more excited for some of the names we were about to witness in there. Mala and The Outlook Orchestra got things rolling for us with a sublime performance combining orchestral music and those deep, low 140 wobbles that everyone loves. They were kicking the night off in true Outlook fashion as the amphitheatre started to claim more ravers. Next up was Loyle Carner who took to the stage to slow things down before the real mayhem started. Performing crowd favourites such as ‘Loose Ends’ and ‘Damselfly,’ Carner had everyone bopping around as he interacted with the crowd and pushed out his raw British sound.
Midnight struck and everyone knew what that meant. It was time for the night to take its long-awaited turn as Shy FX took to the decks. Picking up the pace straight away, Shy FX started with a fine selection of Jungle beats to get the crowd rolling. Dropping tracks like Shy FX ‘Call Me’ (Feat. Maverick Sabre) and Shy FX ‘Carnival Culture’ from his ‘Raggamuffin Soundtape’, Shy FX was getting everyone into the swing of things, slowly edging towards what everyone had been waiting for and then all of a sudden what else but Benny L ‘Vanta Black’ was dropped and the place went mental. Track after track, it was getting heavier, dirtier and from that moment on it felt like Outlook Festival 2019 had officially started. Spinning effortlessly through his fine selection, Shy FX brought out Lilly Allen for a little cameo as he played their hit ‘Roll The Dice’.
Following on from Shy FX was who else but the don dada Andy C. We’ve probably all seen Andy C more times than we’ve got fingers and toes but how many people can say they’ve seen him play in a 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre? Taking control of the theatre with MC Tonn Piper, Andy stepped up and started shelling from the off wasting no time at all, dropping heaters like Tessela ‘Hackney Parrot’ (Kanine Bootleg) and Bou & Trigga ‘Veteran’. There really was no better way to get us pumped up for the rest of the festival and thankfully we can say we experienced the last ever ceremony in the amphitheatre.
THURSDAY – DAY 1
HOLY GOOF BOAT PARTY
Thursday marked the first official day of the Outlook Festival 2019 four-day bender and we kicked things off with two boat parties in a row. Looking back on it, it probably wasn’t the smartest move to do two boat parties in a row but we powered on and let’s just say we weren’t disappointed. We started off on the Holy Goof boat party for a little dose of bass music. The line-up consisted of Holy Goof, Skepsis, and Vital Techniques, the sun was shining and what better way to get things going? Vital Techniques started with a bit of garage, dipping into the old school crowd favourites before transitioning into some newer bits, proper party vibes. Next up Skepsis and Holy Goof took to the decks for a two hour back to back. They got things rolling with a little throwback set of UK bass music from 2016-2018 playing every single crowd favourite under the sun. Dropping tracks like Holy Goof ‘Bossy’ and Notion ft. Forca ‘Do This’ they really were scrolling through the classics. Swiftly moving on, they played about 45 minutes of their recent and new bits before switching it up for a final 45 minutes of drum and bass.
1985 BOAT PARTY
Three hours later, it was time to swap boats and board the 1985 boat party. Feeling slightly rough from the previous boat it’s safe to say we weren’t as pumped as we wanted to be but we didn’t let that stop us. The order for the boat was Perez, Monty, Skeptical, Perez and then a little back to back with them all together. After a quick board, the boat had set off and the head honcho Alix Perez was in control of the decks dishing up his tasty 140 bits. Dropping all the material from his ‘Last Rites’ EP, the boat was rocking and everyone was going absolutely mental. It was complete darkness in the sky by now and what better setting for a dark minimal 1985 takeover. The three selectors went absolutely ham on the decks serving us up some serious flavours. The stand out tracks of the boat have easily got to be Alix Perez ‘Trinity’, Skeptical ‘Musket’ and Alix Perez ‘White Lies’. Three sublime tracks which have been doing the rounds recently. The 1985 boys brought out SubMarine as a special guest during the big back to back at the end and it went down a right treat with the crowd.
Around seven hours and two boat parties later, the first official night of the festival had started. We took things slow going into the evening due to the hefty day time session but after a little break we headed straight back into the action and managed to catch the Dispatch Recordings big man Ant TC1 back to back DLR in action at The Garden stage. Both of them were going at it like a game of tennis, dropping heater after heater spinning a fine selection of quick steppers. Just like last year, The Garden stage was THE place to be for the drum and bass with a huge line-up ahead for the rest of the festival. To close up the Thursday for us we headed over to The Clearing for Shy FX and yes, we had already seen him play but who can say no to round two? Shy FX went in and played a seriously heavy set wasting no time at all as he dropped all the fog horns that everyone had been itching to hear.
FRIDAY – DAY 2
Friday evening. Feeling fresh from the night before we were itching to get back into the swing of things and what better way to do that then with a line-up consisting of Chase & Status, a 1985 takeover and a special back to back with Kahn + Neek and Sir Spyro. The night began over at The Clearing where heavyweights Chase & Status were in control serving up one of their much anticipated RTRN II JUNGLE sets. We’ve had the pleasure of seeing a few of these over the Summer months but getting the chance to see one at Outlook was special. Spinning through an eclectic selection of Jungle and rollers C&S were going in, dropping, probably one of the songs of the year, Chase & Status ‘Program Ft. Irah’, a tune that never fails to get a huge crowd reaction.
The set times for the night were frustratingly tight so we could only stay for 45 minutes before having to dash over to the void for a bit of the 1985 takeover. By the time we had arrived, Alix Perez was in control and the sound of his new belter Alix Perez ‘Trinity’ was booming out of the void. Easily the tune of the festival for us, the build-up is just absolutely sensational stuff, the gradual rise of the low roar before the drums come in is so powerful and on those Outlook systems it was unrivalled. Perez was controlling the void in true 1985 fashion, spinning through a deep catalogue of quick steppers, liquid vibers and even some half-time stompers, the 1985 big man was really showcasing just what he’s all about.
Perez had come to an end and as much as we wanted to stay we thought we’d switch it up and head over to The Garden stage for a pretty special back to back. Kahn + Neek back to back Sir Spyro. Now this is certainly one for the 140, grime heads but how could we say no to these dons going head to head on the loudest sound systems? As we got into the garden stage we could literally feel the vibrations shuddering through us as tracks like Rude Kid ‘Voices (Sir Spyro remix) and even one from UK bass don, Distinkt, Distinkt ‘Birdy Dub’ played out. The vibe in the crowd was insane, so much energy it was infectious to anyone even if they were not the biggest fan of the music.
SATURDAY- DAY 3
On Saturday morning, we decided to venture out, feeling pretty ropey from the night before, for a bit of garage on the beach. The sun was shining and the 24hr Garage Girls were out in full force with a stellar line-up of Sammy Virji, Mikey B, SHOSH, Zed Bias and Matt Jam Lamont. We had arrived in time for the don Sammy Virji and we all know what he’s about, nothing but pure energy. Dishing up some proper bumpy ones such as Sammy Virji ‘Ride It’ and Mind Of A Dragon ‘Wheel Up’, the crowd were loving it under the sun, the vibe was lovely.
The night started off with the sad news that Calibre had cancelled his set at Outlook Festival 2019 and due to some other early set times, we ended up having a slightly limited and unvaried selection of DJs to choose from for the evening ahead. Nevertheless, we pushed on and tried to make the most of the night. We kicked things off with a trip down to The Clearing for Metalheadz badboy Goldie who was in charge to get things going for us. The originator was getting us right in the mood from off as he dished up some classics such as Origin Unknown ‘Valley Of The Shadows’, a true classic. Moving on, we ambled on over to the garden stage for a bit of dubstep with the legend that is Joker. Spinning some proper hefty ones like Joker ‘Boat’ and Joker ‘Melkweg Bass’, Joker had the place bouncing from left to right, the garden stage was seriously booting.
SUNDAY – DAY 4
Sunday, the final day of Outlook Festival 2019 and the final day at the fort. The line-up ahead was looking large but the weather wasn’t. Unfortunately, the weather was a complete let down for the whole day but we kept going for as long as it let us. We started things off with the Flava D boat party which started smoothly as SHOSH got things going with some bumpy UK garage. Sammy Virji stepped up next and almost capsized the boat with the amount of energy he gave the crowd. Unfortunately, the boat had to stop for around 30 minutes due to a storm warning which meant Flava D’s set was cut short but that didn’t stop her. Stepping on for around 30 minutes, she played a hefty blend of UK bass music and finished nicely with a burst of drum and bass.
Moving on into the final evening at the fort. Once again, we were met with the sad news that this time Mefjus had cancelled but the rest of the line-up was absolutely mouth-watering so we didn’t mind too much. We started off with Halogenix which was a serious contender for set of the festival. Getting straight down to business, Halogenix spun a wicked selection of tracks dropping plenty of his own heaters such as Halogenix ‘Blej’, Halogenix ‘Line B’ and who could forget his track with Alix Perez, Halogenix & Alix Perez ‘Broken’.
Following on from that was going to be some task but we headed over to the Clearing for the last time to catch My Nu Leng. Now it wasn’t an easy decision but we’ve got to give it to the My Nu Leng boys, it was, in my opinion, THE set of Outlook Festival 2019! The pair and Dread MC took the stage by storm with an incredible mix of techno, UK bass and drum and bass. The set as a whole felt so refreshing to hear and you could tell the crowd agreed. Belting out some serious bass such as My Nu Leng ‘Super 8’ the Leng boys were showing no sign of going easy as the tore the stage apart.
The clock had struck 5am and the weather was absolutely appalling, it was so bad that unfortunately, Outlook Festival 2019 had to come to an early finish. The music had to be pulled around quarter past 5 which meant the last night at the fort had to come an abrupt end. As unfortunate as it was we didn’t let it dishearten us too much as the previous 4 days had been absolutely sublime.
So that was it. 10 years, 10 Outlook Festivals at the Fort Punta Christo. What a venue and what a festival! Hats off to all of the staff, ravers and more importantly the location for hosting what has been an incredible 10 years. Thanks to Outlook Festival 2019 for having us!
Here’s to the next Outlook Festival, wherever that may be!
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