Gig Review by Nathan Westley with Photography by Mike Burnell

With over a handful of music festivals happening each weekend over the summer; a festival has to do something pretty remarkable to separate itself from any other.

Arcadia 2018 pic by Mike Burnell-9560

Taking place within London’s iconic Olympic Park and designed to celebrate Arcadia’s tenth anniversary this two day, three staged festival offered an experience that can’t be found at any other. Arcadia has a trump card up its sleeve. Rather than sell itself on a long list of household names; the draw is in-fact something that you won’t be able to get at any other festival – a unique and attention grabbing stage that’s built to resemble a giant mechanized Spider that wouldn’t look out of place in the Terminator film franchise.

Arcadia 2018 pic by Mike Burnell-9154

Arcadia 2018 pic by Mike Burnell-9156

Predominantly known for its role as being one of the stages at legendary festival Glastonbury; it flips the festival experience on its head by being the main draw itself. Built up largely of military scrap metal and plane parts the imposing stage is one with the ability to leave a long lasting impression and is largely the reason why for many the music takes a backseat.

Arcadia pic by Mike Burnell-3468

With a DJ booth at the structures core; there’s a tendency for its purpose to be focused on dance music with names such as house DJ Norman Jay and Techno producer Max Cooper are the first two to take the helm. Whilst later would see DJ performances from both Groove Armada and Dusky to help entice the audience into an afternoon party spirit.

Arcadia 2018 pic by Mike Burnell-9139

Arcadia pic by Mike Burnell-3409

Yet for all the performances that may grace the DJ decks the main performance it’s always the one where The Spider is the centre of attention that will be the most visually exciting. There are two that are performed over the festival. The first involves the Whadjuk Noongar people of Western Australia who perform their ritual song and dance the Yallor Keeninyara around the giant structure. Given that this song was previously last performed in public back in 1901 it certainly leaves the impression that we have witnessed something both highly special and unique.

Arcadia 2018 pic by Mike Burnell-9079

It is the evening Metamorphosis show that really captures the imagination. It’s a show that sees the gigantic Spider become animated for a thirty minute duration. With massive flames often shooting out of its mechanised structure, its limbs move whilst acrobatic performers engage with the creature and deliver a performance that is high on visual thrills.

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Arcadia pic by Mike Burnell-3916

Away from the main draw there is also a tented second stage named The Reactor that offers a similarly futuristic and visually rewarding experience. Whilst it sees names such as techno producer and DJ Boys Noize and Eats Everything perform it’s largely the change over periods in-between that gain the audiences best response. Compromising of a futuristic light show and performers who deliver an often acrobatic and visually arresting performance, which adds further weight to Arcadia being an event that needs to be experienced.

Arcadia 2018 pic by Mike Burnell-9494

Arcadia 2018 pic by Mike Burnell-9449

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