The Mint Club & Warehouse are well known establishments in Leeds for attracting some of the biggest dance acts from around the world to the delightful West Yorkshire. Setting the standard with their well-known reputation, the Mint team decided to go one better.
The Mint Festival was born on Saturday 29th September, starting on Saturday at 12pm and finishing on Sunday at 1am, giving 13 hours of dance heaven. Based in picturesque Lotherton Hall near Garforth, Leeds, Mint festival offers a diverse array of the biggest DJ’s and live acts in House, Techno, Drum & Bass, Dubstep, Disco and Mainstream Dance. It combines the best of all local club nights that Leeds has to offer in one 10,000 person capacity venue, with five covered arenas, one for each club night. These nights were a combination of all the following:
System, Black Light, Jungle Jam, Bitch, Flux, Bigger Than Barry & Asylum
With the setting and backdrop of an Edwardian manor house, the entrance walk to the festival was given a surreal level of excitement and anticipation before you even entered the main arena. An army of clubbers from far and wide arrived on organised shuttle buses from Leeds centre, making it easy to get to and from the festival. Admission onto this service was free with a purchase of one standard day ticket. Everyone was dressed to the nines, whilst amusingly donning the correct waterproof footwear just in case the worst happened… however I’m happy to report that the weather held out throughout the day, adding a very positive vibe to the overall festival atmosphere.
On arriving at the main arena we made our way straight over to the beer token tent where cash was exchanged for tickets of the same value (apart from in the Distrikt VIP section). Beer tokens were a form of currency that the bars in the 5 separate big tops would accept as payment – no cash or cards. This meant you had to test the water with the amount of currency you had to exchange at one time. The system made a refreshing change of short waits at all the bars even at their busiest. Drink and food prices where reasonable just with the usual bar/clubbing mark-up made them more than acceptable.
After the preliminary drinks were out the way we were ready to go and see what was on offer, first entering the Aslylum tent. Asylum club night is based around quality underground house, and the arena did not let you down. My understanding of this collation of Dj’s was “if it sounds good, play it”. On separate occasions through the day/night we returned to this arena, to encounter Greg Wilson, The Revenge and PBR Streetgang on top form.
Bitch & Loco Disco were situated in the same tent at the far end of the arena; this was probably at its busiest at the beginning of the day and remained so throughout the event. A unique and powerful sound of fast paced electronic beats ensured the crowd were kept happy and dancing throughout, with all resident DJ’s setting a high standard to follow by experimenting with different sounds, such as mixing Chilli-peppers and a couple of dance classics, making everyone smile. The highlight for me was, as always, listening to Eddie Halliwell headlining. A special mention would also have to be made to Radio 1’s Danny Howard who was certainly entertaining and exceeded my expectations.
At a mainly house festival, it was great to see Jungle Jam VS Bigger than Barry stationed in the centre of the arena. With a special place for Drum and Bass, Jungle and Dubstep in my heart it was a refreshing break to hear fun heavy baselines with an altogether uplifting atmosphere. You had no choice but to “Get your bass face on!” There were lots of highlights throughout the whole set list that played, including a personal favourite from all the years past – Hype! He never lets you down. From Angry Teens to 40+ ravers, everyone one knew what they wanted and this tent definitely delivered!
As we made our way to the corner of the festival we found the Black Light tent – If you like minimal tech – this is the place to be! With Adam Beyer headlining you got what you wanted. Dirty minimal beats could be heard resonating from this dark corner of the festival, almost enough to put a permanent smile on your face. Speedy J and Sandwell District, as well as the whole line up, entertained until last orders at the bar!
Accessing the VIP area was definitely worth it, with a big thanks to Distrikt for providing a chilled out atmosphere and a bar area that was definitely worth taking advantage of. Also, the plus side of having private toilets, made upgrading your ticket an excellent choice. You could even spend real cash in this area and cards were accepted. It gave you the opportunity to take a break and get ready for the next dance offensive. Additionally, this area gave private access to the best tent of the day, SYSTEM & FLUX.
Within the VIP area we were also treated to one of the best line ups I had the pleasure of experiencing. With Wolf + Lamb and Soul Clap rocking the crowds earlier on in the day, to Reboot giving a truly entertaining set. Subsequently allowing both Seth Troxler and Jamie Jones to knock the crowd dead with melodic but fast paced Tech beats, aimed at constantly building up everyone who had the pleasure of watching, before dropping some huge breakdowns. One to remember was experiencing the last two DJ’s of the day by standing behind them in the private area. However, seeing everyone absolutely going for it in the masses made me remember that being in the pit is where you can most definitely take in the atmosphere of this well scripted and organised event.
Mint Festival offers the most seasoned dance fan a taste of all that they could possibly want, whilst also providing anyone who is only just finding their feet a chance to understand what Leeds clubbing has to offer at the top of its game.
With the people and the general happy vibe it reminded me of what Creamfields and Global Gathering used to be like.
It was a massive 100% success, so let us only hope that there is a repeat performance next year.
Take a bow Mint – you have set a new standard!