Four Days at Earth Garden 2018

Four Days at Earth Garden 2018…

What a ride. Earth Garden festival held in Ta’ Qali national park was considered a grand success by the general public that attended. This libertine Maltese festival shakes the tree every year with fresh, non-mainstream music and for the first time, Underground Sound’s team gets down and dusty for four days. Now that all has settled, relive what was seen, heard and felt in this little festive grove.

A dirt path leads to the Enchanted Forest stage. Word is that Bass Culture runs the location for the evening, filling the shaded area with that tasty dub. A chilled performance by Earthrocker & Lion Black, pump out a melodic mixture of dub and reggae beats. For those who don’t know, the sound system they are using is handmade by Earthrocker himself. How many other artists can say the same?

The Roots Stage follows. The first act of the night, John Fairhurst showcases a diverse mix of acoustic blues mixed with powerful psychedelic rock. This guy is good, really good. Brikkuni throws down an eclectic mix of sounds. For those that stick around, ManaTapu’s performance kicks up the dust. The level of energy they bring to this place is extraordinary. The rest is a blur.

Friday June 1, 2018

The sound of a didgeridoo can be heard from the Enchanted Forest. It reverberates through the whole campsite – quite the wake-up call.

The drum and bass clan, MIB Crew, has reportedly taken control over Strawberry Hill for the day. After Mist’s performance, the Electronic Sphere is the name of the game. An impressive crowd has congregated around We Love Acid, the promoters mixing techno, acid and tech-house. Spend time right up front to be completely enthralled by the music and trippy videos.

Darkness descends, Strawberry Hill is up next, with people showing up in droves to get hit by heavy drum & bass tunes. The crowd is revved up, bodies are flailing in all directions.

Flashing lights, high knees and an explosive amount of energy. This is the Roots Stage for Gentleman’s Dub Club. Near vision is rendered useless by the blinding stage lights turned on the crowd. Impossible to move anywhere but up, the crowd is entranced by the light and sound coming from the stage. To say the lead singer is high energy is misleading – he is bursting at the seams with commanding strength and is a true performer by nature. His white shirt is totally soaked. FIRE he screams. All approve of this well-dressed group of wild men lunging onstage with the lows, highs and crescendos. Gentleman’s Dub Club play the crowd’s emotions like a violin and are real fire starters.

Saturday June 2, 2018

The Maltese promoters, Disorder, are running the Electronic Sphere today, the scenery dark and intimidating. For those with techno hearts it is the most welcoming community of all. There is only one way to feel the music and that is right in the front. Walls of people face a multicolored stage emitting a purple fog. Through the mist are flags, waved as if part of a political march. Forget the fanfare, this is no demonstration – this is a techno nation.

A member of this nation mimics the waving flags with one of her own: a crutch-turned-flagpole brandishing some lad’s t-shirt. Perhaps she was healed by techno.

Manthrax from Malta is playing with a fiery backdrop. Billowing pink clouds and pulsating bodies. Images of a raging wildfire behind the DJ slowly turn and shift, giving the feeling of Armageddon. If it’s the end of the world, at least we have the right soundtrack for it.

Sunday June 3, 2018

In the late afternoon is BLANK’s presentation of electronic music. Byron the Aquarius plays what initially starts as a chilled out set. People sway gently to the rhythm – a much slower pace than the previous days. There is a collective feeling of exhaustion. However such ailments can easily be counterbalanced by the sound of a fantastic set with a backdrop such as Strawberry Hill. Live instrumentals are what is needed next.

On the thin rugs surrounding the jamming area held by Music Playground – an open area for people to come and create music together. Instruments include guitar, cajón, bass, drum set and harmonica. A handful of strangers let their hearts out. It’s the blues, a sort of chicken soup after the last three days. The guitar licks are slow and smooth. Before long two MCs take the mic and spit freely over a rock and roll riff that picks up speed. The mix of rock and rap is generally loved. People are no longer sitting. The two MCs are bouncing verses off each other. One of the guys slows it down again – “guys I just want to say this festival is amazing. One thing I gotta say… there’s not enough weed!” Before long, a dance party takes off, dedicated to the green.

Closing thoughts

The jam lasted until the early hours of Monday morning – an energy that is truly hard to leave behind for the daily grind. Throughout the wide span of musical styles this energy perpetuated and left a humming afterglow felt several days after. Until next year Earth Garden.

Article courtesy of:

Shane McLaimh & Luc John Claude of Underground Sound