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:
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.
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.
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.