Mosney, Apr 29th, 2000
What a surprise. After a beautiful sunny Friday, I woke up on Saturday morning and observed that it was p**sing down outside. "Oh yeah, homelands", I thought. Once again, Ireland's premier/only dance music festival was Mud Central as 25,000 punters converged on Mosney Holiday Centre for 13 hours of choonage, pumped out by artists such as Leftfield, Primal Scream, Carl Cox, Darren Emerson and Judge Jules.
For 2000, the good people at homelands added an extra arena, bringing the number of stages to seven. The headline acts were all housed in the home arena; rockers Primal Scream and ex-Stone Rose Ian Brown broadened the spectrum of music on offer, while Leftfield were joined by Paul Oakenfold, David Holmes and Dope Smugglaz in keeping the bpm high.
The other six arenas weren't short of exciting acts either; Judge Jules, Jeremy Healy, Scott Bond, Carl Cox, Billy Nasty, Paul Hartnoll, Darren Emerson and Francois meant tough choices had to be made about what to see and what to miss. Up and coming Irish talent was showcased in the self-explanatory homegrown arena, including Decal, Phil Kiernan and Disconauts. Influx resident Billy Scurry, Johnny Moy and Glenn Brady were also in situ.
The place began to fill from about 2 on Saturday. As long as this event is held in Mosney (and it is a venue that works well), it's always going to be a strange mixture of fairground and San Antonio, a juxtaposition of dodgems and decks. The crowd was the same as last year; a mix of twenty-something clubbers that knew exactly who they wanted to see, and the "yeah yeah f**king yeah" crowd, who wrapped themselves in tricolours and had a certain Japanese car brand painted on their faces.
Afternoon highlights included Layo in the Shine/BBM arena with funky techno, and Irish act Naphta in the drum and bass dominated End arena. Over in the Redbox/Influx arena, the two Billies, Scurry and Nasty, were setting high standards for the later acts.
Technically there as members of the media, we infiltrated the guest area, where we watched real journalists do interviews and stuff as we siphoned off the Press Tent's drink supply. After enjoying the rarefied company of DJs and promoters we availed of the VIP toilets, which came complete with satin toilet paper, white rhino ivory seats, gold fittings and grovelling flunkies. Well, it seemed that way to us after the rancid squalor of the Portakabin loos outside.
An unforeseen abundance of free Rigo meant we forgot about Ian Brown. As darkness fell, we decided not to miss anyone else and headed off to Primal Scream, who were on at 9. The Scream were in fine form and got a huge crowd reaction for many of their Screamadelica hits. Unfortunately they were followed by the night's big disappointment, David Holmes. The Belfast DJ played a set that he probably thought was funky and eclectic, combining African percussion, Latin samba rhythms and punk. In truth, it was an unconvincing blend and never had the restless crowd going. The muted reception during and after the set from the packed home arena showed the general displeasure at Holmes. Then came Leftfield.
There are some things in life you have to do. Forget getting married or driving a nice car, you have to experience Leftfield live. They started in a slow but no bullshit manner, dimming the lights and turning off the giant screens, building the atmosphere. Then from the dark, the infamous roof-collapsing bass hits you, punching through your ear-drums and resonating your bones to what seems to be their natural frequency. You are enveloped by a solid wall of sound - it makes your hair stand on end. Leftfield, like Orbital last year, were living up to their headline billing and the crowd loved it, recognising much of the thumping set from Rhythm and Stealth.
About half one, we dragged ourselves away from Leftfield, crossing the swamp that used to be Mosney to catch the last half hour of Carl Cox. The rotund maestro made the trip worthwhile, with his brand of hard, edgy techno whipping the Redbox/Influx arena into a frenzy. People who had been there the full two hours told us that it had been a brilliant set, and from what I heard I wouldn't argue with that.
Cox brought a great night to an end on a high note. After that, my memory is of no use, with blurry images of long treks through the mud my only recollections. Back at the ranch, I collapsed into my bed about twenty hours after I last saw it, shook off some loose dirt and slept for eight days.