Gig Review: The 30 Pack: The World's Fastest Festival @ Hide Club, Christchurch - 08/11/2019
"From the people that usually bring you really good ideas, comes an idea so bad, it might even be good" went the tagline for the ambitious World’s Fastest Festival. A combined venture between Momentum Promotions, Brand+New, and Notion Touring, Hide played host to 20 drum & bass selectas downstairs and 10 DJ’s upstairs offering a range of 4/4 genres.
While the idea may have been cooked up on a late night whim, it’s clear that a lot of effort went into compiling The 30 Pack. That many performers packed into a 6-hour period could have been a train wreck of epic proportions - instead, a capacity crowd was treated to a flurry of double drops and hyped-up DJ's eager to deliver signature moments in their 15-30 minute slots. Of course, it’s hard to create a flow with such a wide variety of performers and short set times, so at times the momentum of the evening suffered, but what it lacked in cohesion it made up for in excitement and sheer audacity.
The following, cribbed from hastily-scribbled notes and focused mainly on the DnB artists, is an attempt to capture the insanity as it unfolded.
9.30-10pm: Free shots from Jumping Goat Liquor for the first 50 in the door, so already a buzz before the event had kicked off proper. A few early DJ's laid down some liquid vibes to prep the night and already I counted about 6 people crammed in the booth.
10pm - Harry King: A high-energy set to kick things off, the growing crowd already amped. Rumour has it this was Harry’s first time using CDJs, and a promoter was spotted adjusting the jog wheels a few times, but with only 15 minutes he did well to find his groove...
10.15pm - DJ Terminal: This veteran selected deep, minimal, bleeding-edge tracks combined with dexterous chopping and exciting blends. My notes read: “First DJ to play Mr Robot, won’t be the last”... (Spoiler: he was the last. Get on the Sofa Sound train peeps!)
10.30pm - Rez: This popular young DJ had a retinue of excited girls vying to grab his attention and a selfie or three. Hide was filling up fast as each DJ’s posse and fans began crowding in.
10.45pm - Chisel aka Zac Porter: Smoko break and a nostalgic chat with DJ Terminal about old Ministry gigs. Co-host of the Broadcast RDU 98.5 FM show, the place didn’t empty out so I’m assuming he played a good set!
11.00pm - Broadcast aka Gerrit van Asch: A fixture in the local scene for a while now, co-hosts the aforementioned Broadcast RDU show (clever DJ name confirmed). Seemingly freed up from playing liquid, Gerrit took things dark and heavy as the dance-floor continued to grow.
11.15pm - ARJ aka Aidan Reese-Jones: With punters flowing in thick and fast, the bangers started coming at a similar pace. Pulled off a spectacular double drop of Ben Snow’s instantly iconic Out In The Streets remix with Bassbrothers’ cheeky Off My Way.
11.30pm - Alto: As the intoxication level of both punters and reviewers grew, it got harder to keep track so apologies to Alto as I was checking out the ‘Notion Zone’ upstairs (a beautiful VIP lounge atmosphere that was full of happy vibes and energetic techno/house beats) and discussing the intricacies of vinyl vs. digital with DJ Terminal.
11.45pm - RYDR: Hide’s Head Honcho stepped up to give his sound system a proper workout, with the volume swelling and classics like Morning Light mixed in with other unidentified gnarliness. A delighted dance-floor and a smoko area packed like sardines.
12.00am - Azifm: Kept the party vibe going strong with some unique selections including the familiar strains of Misirlou (Jade’s ‘Pulp Friction’ mix?). By now word had come through that there was a line of 100 people waiting to get in.
12.15am - CSM: A set full of party pleasers such as X-Ray by Sub Focus, the DJ booth heaving as much as the dance-floor.
12.30am - Everyone expecting the Crown Remix was not disappointed as the one like Acen had the crowd going nuts with his viral hits, smash cuts into big tunes like Original Nuttah (Chase & Status Remix), and even John Farnham’s You’re The Voice!
12.45am - Osiris: Things were hectic at this stage as sweat-soaked bass addicts raved away, also during this set 3 cops showed up, punters happily grabbed selfies and cracked jokes about the bass being too loud. Missed the obvious joke of playing Police In Helicopter.
1:00am - Manik: Began with a moody intro to reset the vibe but soon enough was throwing down what my notes describe as “absolute frothers”...
1:15am - Rothman Reds: My notes started going downhill here but one of the 15 versions of Police in Helicopter was definitely played (too late for comedic value, but still went off)...
1:30am - Hollistic: Another great set, despite finding myself deep in conversation with DJ Terminal.
1:45am - Dyer aka Matt Dyer: With the evening having peaked, Dyer wisely played a fairly minimal set, highlighted by a nice combo of If We Ever (Unglued Remix) into Critical Impact’s Pitch Black.
2:00am - Tweed, Recluse, Rust-E, Reegz: The final hour was a bit of a blur but I could tell by the satisfied faces of weary punters and happy staff that the evening had been a raging success.
Overall, the promoters certainly delivered on their promise of the world’s “fastest festival”, although it highlighted why festivals tend to be spread over multiple days: despite the fun to be had cramming in as many tracks and tricks into 15 minutes, sheer volume doesn’t necessarily translate to a satisfying musical experience. Some DJ’s, such as Terminal and Broadcast, embraced the challenge by focusing less on speed and more on vibes and track selections, while a number of the younger performers opted to go for flashier theatrics and guaranteed dancefloor hits (whether they necessarily blended well together or not). But despite my reservations, the effort put in by all was clear to see.
Word has it that The 30 Pack might become an annual fixture on the calendar so keep an eye out if you’d like to experience the mayhem and majesty for yourself....smokin!