They did not dissapoint. The first thing that struck me about the site was how they had managed to capture the exact same chaotic festival atmosphere from Glastonbury and Boomtown but squished into a picturesque Georgian square in the centre of Bristol. There were lights and fire everywhere, the whole square was laid with rubber matting to protect the grass and combined with all the smoke and decor it was easy to forget you were outside and often seemed like being in a massive venue like the NEC or Wembley Arena.
The site layout was perfect arranged. With two whole sides of the square forming bars and a whole corner given up to endless rows of portaloos I never had to queue once for either throughout the whole night. Props Arcadia, that is something that so many people seem to fall down on yet you pulled it off flawlessly.
It was good to see that the recent move to using Bio fuel in their burners has not detracted from the impression they give, with the whole crowd erupting as bolts of fire shot up out of bristol and into the night sky. I was also impressed to see that they have added elements of their other popular show the lords of lightning into the spider spectacle, with cocooned people shooting lightning bolts in to the sky from their fingertips. All in all the show was incredible, and I urge anyone who hasnt experienced it to go soon. Its something you will tell your grandkids about.
After the show came to the climactic end, Leftfield were quick to start their predictable set. almost serving as background music while everyone got themselves a drink and readied themselves for the headliner of the night, Roni Size Reprazent.
Roni and the boys did not dissapoint. They have been doing the same set now for donkeys years, but all that means is that they have had time to refine and perfect it. I dont think hearing the string intro to 'Lucky Pressure' or the twang of the double bass as they bring in 'Brown Paper Bag' will ever get old, and seeing them in this setting made it that much more special. Dynamite MC and Onallee danced up and down the spiders limbs and did not miss a beat for the whole hour. Even when they were seperate sides of the spider to each other with neither in site their lyrics were perfectly in sync and snapped to every beat.
Big ups to Arcadia and everyone involved, they have created the most immersive festival atmosphere in the centre of a city that I have ever witnessed. Any shortcuts they had to take to make everything they do legal in the city centre were definately not obvious in the final product. Every time I see an Arcadia show it is bigger and better then the last. I look forwards to seeing what efforts they make to top this at next years festivals.