About This Festival
All In the History
With its mix of residential houses, industrial units and offices, Great Suffolk Street is an unprepossessing part of London – hardly a place where you'd envisage one of the country's foremost dance festivals starting life. But in 2007 Eastern Electrics held its first rave there, a stone's throws away from the River Thames, and the brand, so successful in its first foray, is now a fully-fledged music festival.
Eastern Electrics' reputation has grown so quickly that it is now considered one of the main vanguards of underground dance music in the UK, with its original ethos to play the very best in techno and house still undimmed. Of course, some of the names on the bill are not so underground now, but the dedication to the artistry of the beat endures. The fact that the one-day festival now pulls in 15,000 ravers suggests there's a lot of people who believe in that they do.
2017 will be the festival's fourth year in the grounds of Hatfield House, a location that's just twenty minutes on the train from London's King's Cross. It's a lush countryside spot, which Eastern Electrics transforms into a bright, bold and loud outdoor rave. It's not an overnight event, but when the gates close at Hatfield House they open elsewhere for after-parties at venues like Hatfield Forum or Egg back in London. These crack on until dawn and beyond, and ensure that no one leaves with anything other than blistered feet and sweat-soaked clothes.
It Has Electrifying Names
The music policy at Eastern Electrics still stays true, in part, to the original raves, though across the festival's stages you'll find a range of ingredients that make up the big dance music pie; from dubstep to disco, from garage to grime. Underscoring it all, though, will be the commitment to making sure that, for the 11 hours that the festival is open, you'll find a groove on every corner.
In any given year you'll find a rich spread of acts that ensures all fans are well tended to. Bigger names like Seth Troxler, Martinez Brothers, Eats Everything, Skream and Groove Armada and the like make up the headlining slots. But it's wading to the lower reaches of the bill where you'll discover its true strength; acts like Ceri, Applebottom, Remi Mazet and so on...These are the selections for the type of discerning crowd that would rather go to hell than an Avicii show (they might even say the two aren't mutually exclusive).
More Than Just Music
There's a current preoccupation with festivals being expected to offer something beyond the music, whether that be in the form of an overarching theme, participation activities (ironic rubber boot throwing, anyone?) or the kind of creaky fairground rides you'd avoid like the plague if you hadn't necked five beers.
Eastern Electrics offers some alternate entertainment besides music; for those who need a dose of time-out lolz, there is Electric City; Eastern Electrics' very own festival within a festival. Here, you'll find the Tropical Tea Party, with its tropical decor and Brazilian, Latin and Afro-funk inspired musical lineup. Don't leave without trying one of their tea-infused cocktails. Elsewhere there's the Speakeasy Tent playing funk, soul and disco bangers, plus photo booths, art installations, the ubiquitous party games and enough palm trees to make you think you've landed in the sweetest party in all of Honolulu.
Who Goes There?
Bearing in mind the festival's proximity to the capital, it's a very London-centric crowd. You'll hear accents of every type and see ravers of every race. This, of course, only helps accentuate the underground nature of it all; the underground has always been about acceptance, about finding strange love and camaraderie in a strange space. It goes without saying that everyone will be on a loved-up vibe, so expect plenty of hugs and proclamations of everlasting love from the stranger who just had a sip of your water. Security is tight but polite, so be aware that searches will be stringent – but what's most important is that you don't stop smiling and you never stop dancing. With the music on offer, you couldn't even if you wanted to.