As soon as I arrived after 8 hours in a taxi…the last two on dust filled tracks in the dark…I went straight to the bar and drank two gin and tonics before I did anything else. That was one hell of a journey!!! BUT I was back at Mareh!!!
Now my passion for this small but perfectly formed festival is already well known and documented. I have played there many times, released on their labels and have so many friends there now I consider myself part of the Mareh family.
In fact, it is one of the truly unique things about the festival that you see the same faces and friends each time, which really creates a wonderful, familiar vibe. It’s similar to Electric Elephant and Love International out in Croatia, and what our friends Sancho Panza are now building with Campo Sancho. The intimate festival experience I suppose you could call it. Check out this view from our pousada!
There are a number of other key elements that make Mareh very special – the remoteness of the locations, the spectacular attention to detail and artistic effect in the production, and last but not least the key importance of quality sound systems and excellent musical programming. Their sound and music really is always out of this world! Look at this for a set up for New Year’s Eve…amazing!
The remoteness means a long journey for those of us travelling from Europe and beyond. I caught the train to London from Manchester while nursing a hangover from the End Of Year Riot party that I almost certainly deserved. At Heathrow I hooked up with my compadre for the trip Ray Mang and we toasted what was about to come with a couple of Bloody Marys.
Then we were off on a more than 30 hour journey that involved a couple of plane journeys, lunch on Ipanema Beach in Rio, and finally that 8 hour journey in a taxi at high speeds on dark roads until FINALLY we arrived at Cucurumaxatiba where the festival was based…PHEW!!! It would still take a few days before I could manage to say it however…
The setting was beautiful with a long and wild beach stretching along the coast and with quaint pousadas dotted all along it nestling in the trees just behind the sands.
On the first day we had the Disco Deviance boat party, which as usual was one hell of a party, and without a doubt 5 or 6 of the best hours of my life. What a day! What a crowd! And what lot of gin and tonic…Let’s just say the canoe ride back into shore after the party was…interesting. But thanks to everyone who made it such a special day! And Ray Mang did eventually make it safely onto dry land.
Over the next few days I heard impressive sets by Lexx, Jex, Joakim and Marcio Vermelho amongst others and heard that my good amigos Selvagem rocked it again on their boat party, which unfortunately I missed this year. Basically I thoroughly enjoyed the festival vibes to the full. Enough said.
On the last night I was part of the Grand Finale down at the Beach Stage. Luke from Horse Meat Disco, who I spent much of my time with during my stay and who is a lovely, interesting chap, got things moving with a classy disco set. Then I took over, did my thing and enjoyed every minute of it. It was so great to play to so many faces I know from all the parties and over all the years. And of course I had to play that Secret Squirrel track that has become a bit of a Mareh anthem. It was met with the standard ‘Everybody’s Feeling’ sing-a-long. One for the memoirs that was…
Then as is normal practice at Mareh now Eric Duncan aka Dr Dunks stepped up to take over after me and finish things off. And yes he played yet another stunning set. He always mixes it up, but I will never forget the way he slipped it down a notch a few hours in and started playing a load of disco love songs to a now adoring crowd. It was mighty fine to see such a love vibe ruling the place in a world that seems at the moment to be so focused on division and hate. When Dr Dunks dropped an edit of this one the whole thing was complete…he has a habit of knowing the perfect track for the right moment like any great DJ. What a moment!
And that was that.
If you can ever make it to this little piece of perfection fighting against a sea of mediocrity…then PLEASE do. I know however it isn’t possible for many people…and I feel very honoured to be part of the family.
But at least I can offer a mix I did for the festival to try and capture the Mareh vibe.
ENJOY THE MUSIC!!!!