Udy & Kat's Hi:Fi 2006

Hi:Fi Festival Day 1
Images: © 2006 Kat Gibson/Hi:Fi Gallery
Words by Udy

Car parked... tent up... wristbands obtained. We’ve arrived well before the festival gates are open and we're looking forward to a top weekend of music. The idea of a camping festival, with the emphasis on dance music, excites us and although a lot of it veers toward 'cheese', there are plenty of names we're well up for seeing. Once we're in it’s time to make contact with the guys at the Punch Funk stage.

Punchfunk Stage

Hailing from Portsmouth, Punch Funk have been given this unique opportunity to showcase local talent all weekend and for their most prolific face, Chris Vaux, it's a dream come true. He is clearly ready to go all out - and his grin is even wider than usual. “I think we are really doing something different here with today being all about the DJs and tomorrow showcasing four of Pompey’s top bands,” he tells me, before running off to schmooze with more proud locals. A quick flick through the programme leads us over to the Breaks Arena, hosted on Saturday by the Air label. Adam Freeland is playing and is entertaining the crowd with a mixture of party beats and his own classic cut up remixes of rock tunes, pretty much as expected but enjoyable nevertheless.

One half of Tiefschwarz plays a groovy set in the Electric Arena. The only reason we know it's happening at all is by advance email; sadly, the line-up for this tent has been omitted from the weekend's programme. As a result, the crowd for Dave Clarke is pathetic and he's clearly angry. Despite this, he plays an absolutely awesome techno set, the best we've seen so far.

We pop our heads into the Live Arena and check out a few tunes by Super Furry Animals, all of which please and amuse. They're a great band and have a massive audience completely enthralled with their 'surf's-up' harmonies. There's a point where the necks of three guitars are raised in the air together, in an almost surreal Ghostbusters moment. The night is rounded up with Geushky’s overlord Ian Void, smashing out a set with Vortechtral at the Punch Funk stage. Afterwards Ian tells me, “the sound was good, the vibe was ace... we could have continued for ages.”

“It doesn’t seem to have sunk in that we are playing (at Hi:Fi) yet”. We're up early to catch the band's arrival from Portsmouth and George, bassist with The Exits, is in high spirits. To my right the Wiservice lot are playing football and members of The Aviators and Rolling Dog are milling around. Once everything kicks off we are blessed with enough sunshine to see the bands through.


Wiservice open the day with enough energy to considerably raise the mood and The Aviators have a few sing-a-longs under their belts. Rolling Dog display the jolting craziness we’ve come to expect and The Exits are, simply, spot on and completely right for this festival.

The Exits

From this point onwards the highlight has to be Layo & Bushwacka, in the utterly amazing Radio Soulwax tent. From breaks and house, to funky techno, these guys are veteran masters - and it shows.

Soulwax Stage

It’s not long before we realise that 'King Monkey' is about to take to the Live Arena, so it’s an exit, stage left, for a drink. Ian Brown comes on stage to the Stone Roses' classic “I Wanna Be Adored” And he doesn’t really need to ask. The crowd absolutely love him and even though the geezer simply cannot sing, it doesn’t matter. His tunes are amazing and the band are even better. Moving onwards and, before we know it, we're faced with the best set of the weekend. Soulwax waste no time in living up to the fact that this dance tent is their own. Four men, three synths, one bass guitar and one drum kit have never sounded so unbelievably fat. Mainly sticking to tracks from their most recent album, we're thrashing around like rockers addicted to techno, just the way they want us to.

Soulwax are followed by the great Erol Alkan who continues the madness, before two members of the band return to the stage in their Too Many DJs guise.

And, so, Hi:Fi ends perhaps the way it intended to: a tent rammed to the gills with electro-rock, riffs crunching over electro, hip-hop and techno beats complimented with a smattering of Madonna, Bloc Party and of course... Michael Jackson. The weekend is complete.