Review: MADE Birmingham 2015By Sj.Cliff
As you can probably tell from our coverage, TheStudentGuide.com team are a little in love with MADE Birmingham. There’s just something about seeing live music in a festival atmosphere and still being able to get a taxi home that called to the lazy person inside of all of us.
We had high hopes for this year's offering, but nothing could compare to the actual experience. 2015 has totally reshaped our expectations for what a city festival can put out there. Wondering why? Let Sam fill you in…
A changing space...
Despite the midlands’ usual penchant for grey skies and light drizzle, the sun was shining over the viaduct. Revellers were more than happy to make the most of it, the guns were out and shades were a staple.
I started my night where last years fun began, The Rainbow Courtyard, known this year as MADE Stage. Compared to last year, the space had been used a lot better. Portable toilets were tucked out the way within the viaducts alcoves, bars lined the far right and the centre space was free to revellers to make the most of.
In terms of set-up, the stage was equipped for the variety of acts that we’re performing (on this stage alone there were 10 – two of which were live performers!). Blonde were definitely a highlight as they smashed out their set, including a current office favourite “All Cried Out”. As if the music wasn’t rad enough, the stage effects, including smoke, confetti cannons and fire, made this inner city festival feel completely disconnected from the world- let alone The Bullring, just a 10 minute walk away.
Taking the party inside...
Straying away from the familiar, I decided to take a look at the indoor offerings that featured at this years MADE. Underground Wonderland and The Warehouse stages may just have been a small walk away but the atmosphere was totally different. Thumping basses vibrated the walls, (if you could reach them, it was bloody packed in there) strobes lit up the ceiling and drinks were flowing. It was this combination of traditional dance and underground rave vibes that took MADE back to where it’s music began.
While it wasn't a priority for a lot of people, I had to take a minute to admire how much effort had gone into the theming and decor of the rooms. The walls of The Warehouse were decked out in camo material and huge bugs to really blend the outdoor with the indoor. The room may have once seen The Prodigy tear up the place, but the attention to detail to incorporate each theme makes it clear that now is MADEs time.
Additional outdoor stages had also been put up for the weekend. The Block Party area bought a Jamaican influence to a street party theme.
Heavy Bass Champions (yes, it looked like an actual boxing ring!) brought together a variety of bass acts. The winner of MADEs DJ competition opened the stage and the calibre of acts only went up from there. I showed up just in time for the last act, Matrix and Futurebound – my favourite act of the night. The interesting 360° set-up isn’t something I’d seen before, either at a festival or a gig, so it was a refreshing take.
If I had one criticism of MADE Birmingham it would be the lack of cash machines. With re-entry upon leaving the festival not really being an option, the only way of getting through both the festival and their after-parties would be taking a lot of cash out with you. Cards were accepted on bars, but I have a bit of a thing about typing my pin number out when a bar is heaving. I guess in that respect, it’s just like any other festival – I should have prepared a little more.
I’ve always been a traditionalist when it comes to festivals – standing in the rain, getting covered in mud and ending the night in a tent. This year’s expansion to MADE Birmingham has flipped that on its head. If this is how good a city festival can be, then I hope everywhere can get on board!
Were you at MADE Birmingham this year? Let us know on our socials using #MB2015