Xstatic in the Park 2015 Festival Review

On Saturday 25th July, the Xstatic in the Park festival was held at Singleton Park, the first festival of it’s kind in Swansea since Escape in the Park in 2011. A year after the enjoyable but ultimately unsuccessful Together Festival in Carmarthen, we attended the festival hoping for a good time but also looking for signs that lessons had been learned.

Here’s the TranceFixxed verdict:

Location

With a maximum capacity of 5,000 attendees, Xstatic in the Park was much smaller than the previous Escape in the Park festivals, as one would expect. Subsequently, the organisers located the festival in a corner of the park rather than using the big fields. This was a smart decision as the trees which circled the majority of the perimeter helped give the feeling on being enclosed in a smaller space rather than out in the open. The space allocated was just about right as it felt busy for the duration but never felt overly cramped. The location also added to the security of the festival as there were limited entry points, compared to an open field.

The Together Festival in 2014 was held at the Carmarthen showground and despite having a 5,000 attendee capacity, was spread over a larger area so felt quieter in comparison. The Together Festival had a much larger, more visible and probably more costly security presence on site, partly because it needed it for how the site had been arranged. The Xstatic in the Park festival didn’t feel any less secure and we haven’t heard of any incidents which happened on the day.

Arenas

The Xstatic in the Park festival had 7 ‘arenas’: the main outdoor stage, 3 decent sized tents, 2 smaller tents and a VIP area. The outdoor stage hosted a number of the headline, more commercially known acts while there was 1 tent each dedicated to House, Trance and Hard House music respectively. The other tents hosted slightly lesser well known artists performing a variety of different types of electronic music.

The Together Festival had offered arenas catering to similar musical tastes plus had the ‘Bionic’ hardstyle stage. One area where I think that Xstatic in the Park was significantly better than the Together Festival was the addition of the main outdoor stage. It was modest in size compared to some of the major national festivals but was appropriate for this festival and looked suitably impressive in it’s location.

The drawback to the smaller festival site was that it meant smaller tents were used and some suffered with a ‘bleeding’ of sound from nearby tents. A few of the tents also overflowed as people gathered to hear the headline acts. But these were minor drawbacks, areas for improvement for next year and didn’t significantly detract from the experience.

Crowd at Xstatic in the Park 2015

Facilities

There was a large bar area in one of the tents and a small private bar in the VIP area. Queues were manageable and service fairly quick with your standard limited range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available. All drinks were only purchasable with non-refundable drink tokens which you could purchase on the day. The bars closed early, by 10:30pm, due to licensing restrictions which caught many people by surprise and left some people with tokens left over that they couldn’t use.

Hot food outlets were open for the duration and there were a few stalls offering typical festival accessories such as sunglasses and face painting, although there were no fun-fare rides.

Toilets were an adequate quantity of basic portaloos , comparable to most other festivals.

The separate VIP area had a small tent with a private bar, indoor seating and live music. There was also a small outdoor seating area and private portaloo toilets.

The facilities at Xstatic in the Park were comparable to the Together Festival although the Together Festival had more stalls and had a few fun-fare rides as it was situated on a larger site.

Xstatic in the Park didn’t offer camping facilities and given the problems the Together Festival had with their camping facilities, this was probably a good thing for a first time festival.

Line-Up

The line-up for the festival was strong with big name artists performing in all the main arenas. With music from artists such as Eddie Halliwell, EDX, Mark Knight, Lange, Andy Moor and the Tidy Boys, there was plenty of quality electronic music to keep fans entertained from start to finish.

We spent time in all of the arenas but the Trancecoda and Delusion arena was the pick of the bunch. It has been commented by a number of people who attended that the more local resident DJs were properly “up for it” and performed with an energy and enthusiasm which more than matched some of the more well known artists. Our personal favourite performance of the night was Alex M.O.R.P.H.’s delicious mix of Trance melodies but was closely followed by a storming set from Rhys Thomas and Callan Christie which bristled with power and passion.

Xstatic In The Park 2015 Line-up

Value for Money

The majority of the advance tickets were available at either £29.99 or £34.99 with an entry price on the day of £50.00, which were comparable prices to the Together Festival the previous year and £5.00 cheaper than the advance tickets for the Xstatic Summer Festival last month. The general consensus of attendees seemed to be that the ticket prices were low enough to attract people to this new festival and we haven’t heard any notable complaints since the festival from anyone not happy about getting their money’s worth, which is very positive.

VIP tickets were from £69.99, as per the Xstatic Summer Festival, and while their perks were worth having, we’re not so sure that they were worth paying approximately twice the price of a standard ticket.

Food, drinks and lanyards were all priced at reasonable festival rates, comparable to other festivals this summer.

Verdict

Before the festival, the organisers said that they “hoped the 5,000 capacity festival can grow for many years to come” partly thanks to “sustainable and fair pricing” and that they had been keen to “strike a balance between the old and the new, and local and national talent.”

We think that they succeeded in their aim to lay down a marker with a solid first festival, something to build on for the future. It wasn’t overly extravagant and was generally well executed.

Feedback from the attendees has been overwhelmingly positive with an expressed hope that this won’t have been just a one off event, and that the festival returns again in 2016.

It’s too early to know if the finances of the 2015 festival makes sense for the organisers to return for more in 2016. Margins are tight when organising events on this scale, as demonstrated by 2015 probably being the last year the Xstatic Summer festival will be held, despite it’s successes. Nothing can be taken for granted but it’s encouraging that the signs are that a number of the financial mistakes of the Together Festival in 2014 have been avoided.

We had a great time at the 2015 Xstatic in the Park festival, and sincerely hope that there will be an even bigger and better Xstatic in the Park festival in Swansea in 2016.

Flames at Xstatic in the Park 2015
Stage at Xstatic in the Park 2015
2017-01-21T12:04:40+00:00

2 Comments

  1. Ian 28 July 2015 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    I think Xstatic In The Park was a good enough festival to have been reviewed on it’s merits rather than compared like this to score points. An absolutely shocking way of doing a review

  2. Rebecca 29 July 2015 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    Fair write up and on point this time. Thanks for kind words re: Delusion & Trancecoda Arena. A lot of hard work from Delusion Team, friends & beyond went it to making the arena and festival what is was. Have also heard glowing reports for our friends at Dirtbox who also hosted an arena

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