Last Saturday we headed over to the historic site of Temple Newsam for the 7th installment of Cocoon in The Park for what promised to be one of the biggest parties Leeds has to offer this summer. The Cocoon bosses had really pulled out all the stops this time delivering one of their biggest line-ups to date.
After arriving early in the afternoon, we headed down the hill towards the stage were Dixon was already in full flow delivering his unique style of techno to the masses. He tailored his set well to the early billing and what stood out was the quality of the sound system, blasting out the lows and highs alike through a full Funktion One, allowing the crowd to get straight into the festival spirit.
Being one of the biggest labels in the industry, Cocoon have never been the sort to hold back on their line ups, and this year was no different. The special guest at this years CITP was none other than British DJ icon Carl Cox, an industry heavy weight and possibly one of the best DJs in the world. Cox brought his unique blend of techno and tech-house to the Yorkshire countryside for the first time. His set did not disappoint, picking up from where the Innervisions boss had left off, he took the tempo right up to a pulsating climax before handing over to Cocoon regular Ricardo Villalobos, for what many had anticipated to be the perfect transition from Cox to Väth.
Being placed on a bill in-between the two headliners is always going to be a difficult task, no matter your level of experience. The set delivered by Villalobos has been THE talking point of the festival ever since.
Arguably one of the most important minimal tech DJ’s around, Villalobos has been playing his trade all over the world for well over 15 years now, and is another legend in his own right. However, right from the start, his set felt somewhat flat. The pulsing climax to Cox’s set had been replaced with a more experimental sound. Something that didn't go un-noticed by everyone in attendance with the vibe in the crowd deteriorating once it became apparent this was not going to be a set full of 4/4 rhythms and hard baselines. Unfortunately for Ricardo, along with this change in mood came the rain. Rain at any festival puts a slight dampener on the mood and you need spirits to remain high in order to keep the crowd engaged and on their feet. The crowd became vocally disgruntled with what appeared to be, not necessarily a bad set, but the wrong set played before papa Sven took to the decks. Wrong decision, but perhaps an excusable one.
Interestingly, since the festival a video has surfaced online filmed backstage by LUCA DEA , which seems to show the DJ pouring more drinks and chatting to VIP’s then crate digging and mixing. An experimental set is something that DJ’s should of course, be allowed to try out from time to time in an attempt to keep things fresh, but a lazy one where a DJ appears to be paying more attention to a bottle of liquor than the crowd? Not so much. There has been a lot of response from fans, with many pretty upset at this revelation, quite rightly believing that if people have paid good money to come and watch their favourite artists play they should really be giving it their all.
One of the upsides to Villalobos’ ‘questionable' set, was that when the bossman Sven Väth eventually took to the turntables he received an even bigger reception than he otherwise would have. Instantly reverting to the 4/4 slammers, dropping tracks such as Leon Vynehall’s ‘It’s Just (House of Dupree)’ early on to ensure the atmosphere returned in abundance. Playing for 3 hours whilst the sun set, papa Sven really delivered and with expert track selection and production to match, really saw the party out in style. He made sure CITP’s 7th year would be one to really remember for the right reasons.