I arrived with a bunch of volunteers from Galway (Declan Monahan, Tadgh Kelly, Amy Coyle and others) on the 26th Thursday, where we had to go through a volunteer orientation and being shown the various spots some of us would be working at the following day. My first shift kicked off at 12 am till 6 am on the Friday, so I had plenty of time to see the site, get a good kip and still catch lots of music.
Friday 27th May.
Friday kicked off with me wandering about the campsite making new friends and meeting old friends, stalwarts to the old Galway editions to the festival which continue to follow and grow around subsequent events. Going into the arena at about six pm, I catch a bit of the Dublin dubstep act Mofohobo in the Liquid tent, their music had a good kick and a good bit of wub wub but nicely balanced.
Around 8 pm I’m with Gavin and the lads bouncing about the Neutronyx stage to Neelix, a man who is on the psi trance throb. Psi trance to me, the bass itself sound like Pink Floyd’s One of These Days quadrupled in time like a gallop. Sometimes it suddenly stops as in an emergency break, and rears full on into your face again. At some point we all decided to adjourn to the campsite for some quality chill.
The Lake Stage – The Orb Sound System Live. 10 pm – 11 pm.
This was my first time seeing the Orb or Alex Paterson anyway, the starting going back to Adventures in the Ultra World and the Huge Ever Pulsating…. single which it seems has had a rejig with the bpm upped a little more. This was a more edgier techno sounding Orb, well at least for a good 25 minutes anyway. There was also a toaster adding to the Orb’s rootsier reggae side singing nice harmonies over the beats, the penultimate closer Towers of Dub was a good way to bow out and for me to start getting my head together for that first shift.
12 am to 6 am. I stood between the Boutique camping area and the Crew camping area, my job to prevent boutiquers wandering into the Crew camping, I actually caught a fence jumper without wristband who came in through the back. The music for the night when I looked at the timetable later was the Channel One Sound System coming from the Lake Stage which I could hear with startling clarity.
About 12.30 I went to get some breakfast and some good coffee, there being a van with a proper espresso machine I could not resist this. After chilling with Gavin and some of the volunteers in the campsite I set off to do my second shift at 2 pm. For my shift I worked with another volunteer, Sinead for a while and our job was to guard the festival production entrance, so anything driving into production we had to lift a fence to let them in, you also had to watch the car park exit for cars coming out and keep the road clear for production. We had to check wristbands and accreditation passes to get into the production area too. I enjoyed some of the sounds blasting out of the Neutronyx Stage during my shift coming from about four meadows away from me, Tech Twist was one who had a good pulse going that boomed the earth. When Monster played Neutronyx it confused the hell out of me as he was mixing in sounds of traffic and of course, Im working with traffic so I kept thinking something was coming along the road.
When I signed off at 8 pm I set about relaxing, getting a bite to eat at the campsite and catching up with my party animal friends. It wasnt till about 10 pm that I made a move towards the main arena.
Neutronyx Stage – Rinkadink 23.00 pm – 00.00 am.
Caught some of Rinkadinks set and it was a blast, he mixed wah wah guitars into the mix behind the hypnotic psy trance gallop and some good blistering electronica too. Was there with some of the lads so was catching up on the banter as well.
At some point at the Neutronyx stage the light drizzle became quite heavy to the point that even my good quality waterproofs were starting to leak a bit, so I ended up in the Liquid Tent where Scan One wear blasting out some deadly DnB and dubstep and excellent accompanying red lasers, I just planked myself at the back as I needed a sit down and let myself be pummelled by the sound.
When the drizzle eased off a bit some of us made for the Lake Stage as Mungos Hi Fi from Glasgow, Scotland was playing, I had caught them before when they had supported the Skatalites in Edinburgh, so like the Rootical Sound System and Mr Whippy this lot has a wonderful mysterious collection of amazing reggae sounds old and new that brought me nicely to the end of the night and some campsite craic before getting some shut eye.
Sunday 29th May
This was a toughie getting up early for my final shift from 8 am till 2 pm, well at least I would be finished before the music schedule for the day started. The shift was basically a repeat of yesterday guarding the same area and there was still plenty of beats pumping out of the car park area to keep me going. When the shift ended I spent some quality time catching up with my buddies and eating a good dinner.
Neutronyx Stage – Man with No Name 18.00 pm – 19.30 pm
Myself, Gav and loads of others gathered to check out this guy, he definitely had that psy trance touch of stop start style, when he started again in would be absolutely ape and full on, a trick quite a lot of psy trance artists play with. Dick Trevor followed and carried on in a similar buzz leaving it hard for me sometimes to work out who the hell is on, especially come night time.
Neutronyx Stage – Juno Reactor 8.30 pm – 9.30 pm
Caught some of this guys set which had an amazing energy, there was a good crowd who were well pumped up and ready for the action and Juno Reactor delivered in spades. One of the things truly momentous about this was the addition of the Gemini Project. In walks this stormtrooper looking bloke into the middle of Juno Reactors crowd and flicks a switch in his suit and he lights up like the Daft Punk triangle, in fact he looked like he had stumbled out of the Daft Punk 2007 show.
Around 10.30 we headed for the Lake stage to catch Sip a Cup, reggae DJs and toasters rapping along to the sounds, good dubby trancey reggae to work off and bounce the mad energy of the Neutronyx stage.
Neutronyx Stage – Squee 00.00 am
The last live music of the festival I caught was a bit of Squee, who whetted the appetite of psy trance fans in fast furious beats, by then though I had no energy really so I was just standing nodding my head. But Squee delivered and so brought an end to the main stages for Life festival.
Chill Out Tent – 2 maybe 3 am.
Now I have not mentioned this tent as yet but realised I had visited this a few times during the weekend. This was run by some Spanish people who had the place adorned in cool projections and art and bean bags, cushions everywhere so you could just flop down. The music was mighty too, beautiful ambient soundscapes with luscious beats, a nice way to float out the night with your mates. Back to the campsite for the last few cans and some banter and a bow out to Life Festival 2011. A bit wet at times but amazing fun.