...Impromptu chalet rig
sets lasted just long enough
before security
came round

“Bang Face Hard Crew, make some fucking noise!” 

With these words, the balloons were released, the Amen beats started rolling and the 3,000-strong Bang Face faithful got on it for this year’s instalment of the glowstick-waving, inflatable-dolphin-bouncing, mash-pit diving, sleep-defying, fancy-dress rocking weekend of rave carnage that is Bang Face Weekender. 

The theme this year was Horror (‘The Amen’), so Pontins was also home to a giant inflatable rat, a 20ft Frankenstein (bearing the slogan “talk to Frankenstein!”) and a pair of extremely freaky disembodied purple hands.  Added to this were thousands of beach balls and balloons being bounced around all weekend, both at the pool party and on the dancefloor, as well as a bouncy castle and inflataland (yes, Pontins did let the ravers use the kiddies’ play room!), not to mention the eye-watering numbers of interesting balloons doing the rounds...  It truly was a squishee weekend.

Now in its fourth year, Bang Face Weekender has become a must-do on the festival calendar for anyone who likes their beats hard, fast or just plain fucked up.  Bang Face main man St Acid managed once again to silence any critics who thought Bang Face was “just a breakcore club” by attracting some of the most interesting, influential and cutting edge acts in the business. With a line-up including Luke Vibert, Jeff Mills and Chris Clark, another festival could easily have degenerated into a chin-stroke fest, but never, ever Bang Face Weekender. 

As well as serving up the Demi-Gods of Techno for our delectation, St Acid made sure there was a huge dollop of filth (Squire of Gothos, Reso), a whole heap of wrongness (Bez, Wrong Music, Ceephax) and a side order of utter, unadulterated chaos (Atari Teenage Riot, Limewax, Otto Von Schirach). My personal highlight of the week was waking up on the Saturday and staggering into the Bang room to hear 0=0 playing a set of subtly atmospheric and complex 7/4 breaks, wearing a giant inflatable rubber ring-come-gimp-mask.

Gino Ginelli, the mystery guest DJ, managed to keep up the mystique by playing in complete and utter darkness. Whoever he was, though, he turned out an absolute blinder of a set of house and techno classics, which trod the line between trainspotter and filth-merchant with considerable aplomb.  Dropping Plastic Dreams by Jaydee was an inspired move and an ideal warm-up for the Acid Junkies’ 303 workout in the main room afterwards.

At times, the main ‘Bang’ room seemed a little lacking in bodies on the dance floor, which could have been down to the not-quite-selling-out of the event, as in previous years.  I suspect, however, the main reason was that too many people were having too much fun in their chalets.  This year saw more chalet rigs on the go than ever before, with loads of artists making impromptu performances round and about the site, their sets lasting just long enough before the security came round and everyone scooted off to find another rig. 

If the party wasn’t happening in your chalet, there was still entertainment laid on in the form of Bang Face TV. It was a joy to behold as ever, with your own personal mong-fest being beamed to channel 1 of your chalet 24/7. If, like me, you tuned in on Sunday afternoon, you would have seen Ravetalk’s very own Dave Skywalker rinsing out the set of his life. The BFTV policy of ‘we read out every text we get, no matter how crude, rude or gut churning’ meant that Sunday morning telly involved a marathon 4-hour DnB set from Normski interspersed with shout-outs to the Sussex Police and jokes about Madeleine McCann...  You didn’t get that on Dance Energy House Party!

Sunday also saw an absolute corker of a set from people’s champion Ceephax, who DJ’d 2 hours of glorious Disco and Electro-funk (and dropped the Grandstand Theme tune), before treating us to an hour of his own mashtastic material.  By all accounts, St Acid’s closing set was one of the best of the fest, but I was safely tucked up with cocoa by that point, saying goodbye to Bang Face Weekender for another year.

Everyone I spoke to agreed that this was the greatest Weekender to date (and everyone I spoke to had done at least three!). In terms of the quality and range of acts booked, the effort put in by James and the Bang Face team and the forecast-defying sunshine, it truly was the best Weekender yet. 

Atari Teenage Riot’s superlative headline slot is one that will remain emblazoned on the minds of many, not least Alec Empire himself, who Tweeted “T H A N K. Y O U. B A N G. F A C E!!!!!! BEST SHOW OF MY FUCKING LIFE!!!!”

Recommendations don’t come much higher than that.  

© 2011 Kerry Smallman and Ravetalk.

In the first review of Bang Face Weekender 2009, Kimberley Gibbons tells a tale of dolphins, daftness and debauchery.

Every year since 2008, Bang Face Weekender has transformed a faded British holiday camp into Neo-Rave Armageddon. Kerry Smallman recovers from her Bang Face filth pint to explain why she thought the fourth was the best one yet.
Amen to a filthy break by the seaside