MADE Festival review 2019

by Ethan Newton-Cook
MADE Festival main stage

After a week of soaring temperatures and sunshine across the UK, in true British style, we arrived at MADE festival to be greeted with grey skies and a heavy downpour that had us wet through before we’d collected our wristbands.

We’d aimed to get there just as it opened at 11 o’clock and we were pleased to find that an Uber from Birmingham city centre to Perry Park would only cost £7. Split between three people you can’t complain and following a 10-minute journey we found ourselves on-site, being directed around the park by helpful stewards who were clearly not made up with the fact they’d be stood out in the rain all day, but put on a brave face nevertheless.

MADE Festival gate steward volunteer

We got into the festival with no queues and it was clear that a lot of people had decided to turn up later than usual due to the rain, but this gave us a good opportunity to explore and work out where we’d need to go to see our favourite artists.

The site itself is quite small which is ideal for a day festival as you’re never lost and can easily dip in and out of the music tents to discover new DJ’s and take shelter from the weather, the stages are literally all right next to each other.

MADE Festival girl bucket hat
Image credit: Daisy Denham

We used the Woov app to plan out our day, which is a new app that allows you to look through the schedules for loads of major UK festivals and provides a community page where you can create forums and talk to people also going to the event.

It gives you the official festival map and even sends you notifications for when your favourite artists are about to perform. I’d highly recommend downloading it if you’re going to a festival this year, it’s great to have all the information you need in one place.

MADE Festival field tent tree
Image credit: Daisy Denham

It was clear that the ground would eventually become a mudbath as more and more people started to turn up and the rain was becoming heavier by the minute – if there’s one thing rain brings to a festival its that you’re going to need more alcohol, so with this in mind… we hit the bar.

MADE Festival Rum Shack Bar

MADE uses a token system for all of its bars which is something I’ve never come across before, where no drinks can be purchased unless you’ve exchanged your cash for cardboard drinks tokens. The token points were dotted around the festival and on average you were looking at a 20-minute queue each time you wanted to buy some. You’d hand over £30 and be given 30 tokens to spend exclusively on alcohol.

Deep down I knew I’d be back in the same queue later buying more but I just couldn’t face taking that much cash out in one go! A pint was about 6 tokens (£6) and a double vodka Redbull was 9 – standard festival prices and it’s to be expected really.

The token system meant there were no queues at any of the bars as serving times were so fast, however, having to plan ahead how many drinks you’ll want is a bit annoying and I ended up taking some home at the end, as they can’t be exchanged back.

MADE Festival girl glasses sat down

We kicked off our day with Vibe Guys, an up and coming collective from Birmingham whose hour-long set was bursting with some much-needed energy. A great opening act to warm everyone up as the tent was becoming more and more full and everyone was starting to get into the festival spirit.

Vibe Guys MADE Festival
Image credit: Benjamin Kettle

Birmingham pride was at an all-time high as chants of 0121 were being used to hype up the crowd throughout the set. They were even joined on stage by a plastic baby who apparently was attending his first-ever rave, he may have been launched into the crowd a few times but it’s good to see them starting so young, one for the future I’m sure. Follow Rave Baby Carl on Instagram to stay updated.

MADE Festival daytime main stage

This was the first time I’d ever been to MADE and I was genuinely excited by the calibre of their lineup, there really is something for everyone.

With tickets starting from £35 it really feels like the bargain of the century to be seeing the likes of Ocean Wisdom, Lethal Bizzle, My Nu Leng, Andy C and Chase and Status (dj set) all on the same day.

Whether you’re into Techno, Drum and Bass, Bassline, Hip Hop or dance music you’re bound to be able to fill your day with artists you know and love.

Lethal Bizzle MADE Festival

The mosh pits at Lethal Bizzle were brutal but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. You’ll be elbowed in the face and knocked to the ground to the soundtrack of your year 8 playlist but you’re creating memories and who cares if you lose your friends? You can easily make new ones, everyone we spoke to was up for a good time and now I’ve got 10 more people on Snapchat and Instagram that I can’t remember and will never speak to ever again.

We were making friends from Bristol and Manchester and I can honestly say that if I didn’t live in Birmingham, I’d be making the journey as well.

Chase & Status MADE Festival

I seem to have seen Chase and Status 400 times over the years, at festivals and at their own shows and they’re just one of those acts that can be put into almost any festival line up and draw a crowd.

It’s safe to say that they absolutely destroyed their main stage set at MADE this year, and proved why they deserved to be at the top of the poster despite only being a DJ set and not their full live performance.

They still deliver the classics that you’d go and see them for, and the use of pyrotechnics added to what can only be described as an hour of pure drum and bass madness.

Flames shooting across the stage to the drop in No Problem was not something I’ll forget in a hurry. Although it’s lucky I recorded it as we’d had quite a few by this time.

I’m so glad that MADE wasn’t the warehouse rave in a field that I’d imagined it to be, but a coming together of people that were prepared to push through a freezing cold day of torrential rain to bounce around to some truly exceptional DJ’s. The weather really does unite a crowd and I actually think it added to the overall experience.

I’ve been to a few day festivals of a similar kind and they’ve felt like you’re being crammed into a lifeless field with a big blue tent and some porta-loos, but MADE felt like it had real character and I’m so happy that it’s local.

MADE Festival girl dancing green
Image credit: Daisy Denham

The music finishes at about 11 as it’s in the middle of a residential area but buses were being provided to take you directly to the official after-party at Lab 11 in Digbeth. The after-party would’ve set you back £20 but it didn’t finish until 6 o clock in the morning so at least you wouldn’t have needed to Uber home afterwards.

If anyone managed to arrive at MADE at 11 when it started and didn’t leave the after-party until 6 o clock in the morning then they’re an absolute hero, my endurance isn’t what it used to be since I’ve hit 20 and I’m ashamed to say I was back home for 12.

MADE Festival field tree funfair ride
Image credit: Daisy Denham

MADE has become an event that I hope to attend every year, it finally cured my NASS blues and I’m forever grateful. The perfect stepping stone between NASS and Boomtown.

MADE, you MADE my day and I’ll see you next year.

Main image credit: AlexNPhoto

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