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The Exodus collective festival

August bank holiday, 1999

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I arrived in London intending to meet up with Paj at 7.00pm, ready to make our way out to darkest Luton for the festy on Friday night. Well, for various "complicated social reasons", we ended up waiting in a dark squat in North London 'till 1.00am, well we did what needed to be done, but it wasted Friday night. The remains of the night were rescued by going to Techtronic in the Pleasure rooms in Tottenham though, so at 6.00am we fell out of the club and went back to Enfield to have a chill and get the bags.

So it was wide eyed but limp tailed that we arrived at the Exodus farm around midday on Saturday, noticed it was well busy, put the tent up and crashed out till about 6.00pm.

First some food and there was a lot to choose from, then on to the party. Now I'm used to parties, I've been to a few, but they've all started around midnight or later. I'm not used to starting early evening, but that's what happened.

The site was originally a part of a much larger farm which was bordered by the London - Edinburgh main rail line, then a few years back they built the M1 motorway, cutting off this triangle from the rest of the land and this is now the Exodus collective's community farm.

The first field is quite large and drops away sharpish from the gate at the top of the hill. The view from the top was quite something, a mass of tents and fires and the distant sound of musical drums.

In the big field was the Exodus tent (the red and white one on the left) a huge structure with a lovely sound system, this was packed and manic all night. Nearby was another large tent (the blue and yellow one) which was playing dub when I checked it out. All around were cafes and smaller rigs and bars and fires, techno, D&B and live bands.

The Exodus military vehicles are worth a note - there were several lorries, APC's and the like, even a small tank like thing. This one's being used by the Djs.

Through another gate was the second field, a long thin triangle of land with a street lined with systems from all over the place. Now here, for me, was heaven and it has to be said, this is where I spent the vast majority of the time.

Systems worth noting (in my opinion, to be fair) were Citricity, Coexistence, Junktion 14, HEADFUK, section 63 (I think) and one from France called Malfaiteurs. J14 also had a big rig playing jungle, but thats not really my cup of tea although it was crowded most of the time.

There were many other rigs as well, most of which I simply didn't have time to check out and on the other side of the street was the railway line, every now and then Intercity 225 trains rushed past at over 100 mph - YEAH!!!! they were well good.

At the end of this street of systems, a large tent blocked the path with a nice rig whos name I didn't get. Presumably, beyond this the M1 met the rail line in a mass of twisted steel and tarmac, or else came to some arrangement involving bridges or something.

I didn't have time to check all the systems out, even though the party started 5 hours earlier than normal and carried on 'till I hit the floor of the tent around 2.00pm the next day and then happened again the next night. Still not enough time though.

The reason for this was mostly due to Coexistence, I spent a lot of time in there, they were playing just the right sort of techno to get me going, so why move?

What really made things pick up though was meeting up with some people I know from the squat scene in London, these guys know how to party, believe me!

Squat raver Ian Squat raver Palo Squat raver Alisa

As with all free party systems which depend on gennies though, we had blackouts. So it was when I turned up at the HEADFUK tent for my Sunday morning fix of gabba (I like gabba in the early morning), all was silent and dark. Things get sorted out though and everything came back to life once the "technical problem" was sorted out. Thats was the good thing of having so many systems, not everyone broke down (or run out of petrol) at the same time!

The gods smiled on us it has to be said. Not only were there no blue meanies anywhere to be seen but the sun shone all day and it was hot, even at night. This happened in England, most strange.

Me and Paj packed up the tent slowly and not at all enthusiastically around 4.00pm on what we discovered was Monday and somehow made our way back to London, then I slept all the way back to Norwich, thanks to Anglia railways.

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Exodus festival 1999

System coexistence
Dancing in System Coexistence

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Exodus festival

Exodus festival

Steve

HEADFUK

HEADFUK

Exodus festival

Exodus festival