Hi:Fi 2006

From Creamfields to Homelands, and We Love Homelands to Hi:Fi, Matterley Bowl near Winchester is now well-renowned for hosting a constantly evolving music festival every May. Dance music is one of the fastest moving, widest reaching genres of music out there and Angel music (Godskitchen/Global Gathering) reckon they know the next move on the festival map - integration. Hi:Fi's aim was to appeal to the "iPod generation" and fuse indie rock with dance, during two massive events - one in the North of England, one in the South.

Many of the artists played both festivals, with the likes of cheery media-lover Ian Brown being flown from one end of the country to the other. Festival promoter, James Algate, said: “It was an ambitious undertaking to launch a new two day rock n’ dance weekender with camping to replace the old Homelands format so it is highly rewarding to have been given the thumbs up by the crowds. To reach 75% capacity in year one is a great result and we are already looking to build on everything positive for next year’s event.”.

The organisers proudly announced they had raised a total of £15,000 for charity, in the South alone. The money raised is to be split equally between Upper Itchen Valley Society and Naomi House.

So. You've heard the background, you've seen it bigged up by their own promotion team (because they're never biased, are they?) and we know they raise money for good causes - but what's gonna make you get off your arse and buy a ticket in 2007? Did Hi:Fi cut it as a music festival? Did the integration work? Well, while Hi:Fi North's journos were all busy holding down tents and trying to stop stages blowing away, Wizard of Oz styley, TFW's guys were finding out what Hi:Fi South really had on offer.

As much as we wanted to be everywhere all at the same time, it was impossible. So Udy & Kat, dance scene lovies and organisers of Portsmouth's Under Your Nose events, covered one end of the festival site, while Stu, upcoming rock photographer and all-round indie kid, covered the other. When they met in the middle they both agreed that Ian Brown couldn't sing. Now what were the chances of that happening?

Read Udy & Kat's account of the dance arenas here, or click here to read Stu's version of more rock-orientated events.