Michael Oakes

REVIEW: XXIII Shindig Festival – 23rd Anniversary at Spillers Wharf

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The iconic clubbing event celebrated its 23rd birthday this year and this time around Shindiggers were treated to not one but two full days of electronic music from some of Europe’s best DJ’s at Hoults yard in Newcastle.

This was my first time at a Shindig event so I had no idea what to expect. However, as I began the long trek along the Quayside the bass began to get louder as i approached Spillers Wharf. This made me know it was set to be an experience I would never forget. The city’s iconic bridges and incredible architecture served as the perfect backdrop to Shindig festival.

Durham native Ian Blevins was entertaining the masses at the central stage when I arrived and already the atmosphere was electric. It was clear to see that everyone was here to have a good time.

Hannah Wants took to the east stage and made sure the crowd’s spirits weren’t dampened as the rain began to pour. You had no excuse not to dance along, as we would all probably have frozen to death if we stopped moving. Of course we were all eagerly awaiting her massive hit ‘Rhymes’ and when she delivered somehow the atmosphere became even more phenomenal.

My next port of call saw me at the west stage for the legend that is Pete Tong, who teamed up with Andrea Oliva for their back-to-back evening set. I had high expectations for the duo and they definitely didn’t disappoint. Midway through, Tong insisted that the whole crowd crouch down so he could take a picture to show his Twitter followers how great the vibe in Newcastle was and of course the crowd duly obliged.

It was late evening when I was welcomed back to the East stage by the sounds of German producer Oliver Dollar who was keeping the crowd going by encouraging us to keep on dancing and thanked us all for coming out to see him.

The East stage is where I wanted to be as darkness fell upon Hoults yard. The lights of Duke Dumont’s backdrop lit up the now somewhat tired and very cold crowd. As soon as ‘Need U’ started to play the crowd got their second wind and were singing back the words to Dumont.

In a sea of snazzy coloured ponchos I eagerly awaited the arrival of the sensational Annie Mac. “It’s been awhile since I’ve been in your town; it’s so good to be here, thank you for having me” came a voice from the shadows. The Dubliner was here and ready to provide us all with the final tunes of the night. We were treated once again to Disclosures latest offering ‘Bang That’, which seemed to be the anthem of the weekend as it slipped nicely into nearly all of the DJ’s set list.

Sunday was off to a bad start for Shindig as the whole of Hoults Yard was under water due to disastrous weather conditions over night. Of course all hands were on deck by the festival organisers and they weren’t prepared to give up that easily. As the water was pumped from the yard and a revised and remastered schedule appeared online for all to see, we were ready to dance our Sunday away.

There was no need for the rain gear today as the sun shone brightly upon the East stage and helped Hot Since 82 warm up the crowd nicely.

One half of Gorgon City rounded up the weekend in superb fashion pumping out hits such as ‘Imagination’ and ‘Go All Night’.



At some point over the weekend Shindiggers needed to give their dancing feet a rest and ÜGOT happily provided their customers with beanbags for a quick chill out so they could enjoy their fresh juices and salads in comfort. Fat Hippo and Longhorns were on hand to provide the meat lovers with delicious burgers and fries before they ventured on to see the next DJ play.

After my first weekend at a Shindig event it is clear to see why this iconic festival has gone from strength to strength over the years and draws in world class DJ’s in the process. I loved every minute of it and I know it won’t be the last time I’ll find myself at Shindig on a May bank holiday weekend.

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