On April 20th, Scotland’s biggest one day electronic festival returned to the Royal Highland Centre’s warehouse complex, for an 11 hour party locked & loaded with pumping beats. The Edinburgh based spectacle only comes round twice a year, hosting events at Easter and Halloween, with enough action between them to keep the city and further afield talking about it all year round. Our first experience of Terminal V featured all we expected and more, with world class DJs, unforgettable production and a lively crowd of Scots.
The Royal Highland Centre plays host to Terminal V, with the venue’s large warehouse spaces making up the two main arenas named Terminal and Area V. Next to the warehouses is an open grass field which holds the Palms Tent, Equinox, The Green House, Wunderground’s Ambulance (yes, an actual ambulance for a stage) and 15,000 eager ravers.
An effective token system was used during the day, with £2.50 exchanging for one token. Drinks were priced at a fair and reasonable rate, considering the type of event.
Beer/Cider – £5
Spirit & Mixer – £5/£8 (Doubles)
Water – £2.50
Soft Drinks – £1.50
Nobody does it like the Scots. Full of energy, life and downright madness, the Scottish crowd made us feel part of the lively proceedings from the outset. Shout-out to Terminal V’s own marketing intern Shelby, who showed us the ropes during our first time at the festival.
This photo sums it up really. Staff mirrored the ravers; smiling, happy and quick on their feet to either get you through the door, or to the bar. A well-oiled-machine-like operation helped manage the flow of people between stages, whilst ensuring ravers were safe throughout.
A real highlight from the day (pun intended). Whilst some stages did look a little sparse for production during the day, by night the arenas truly came to life. Each room was kitted out with an unholy amount of lasers, strobes, beams and mesmerising visuals – you name it, they had it and it was shining right in your face. Our pick of the punch being the Area V stage, with three huge LED strips providing a hypnotic backdrop to the room.
Great in places, lacking in other. Area V’s system boomed through the space with two line arrays at the front and back of the room providing a 360 degree experience. The Terminal stage however would’ve benefitted from some additional speakers towards the back of the room.
A rare April scorcher in Edinburgh, which whilst is a treat, can also become uncomfortable if not controlled well. Once filled with thousands of ravers, the enclosed stages became unbearably hot at times. Some industrial sized fans and smaller merch hand fans would’ve helped to combat this – a definite consideration for future instalments.
Having been part of this scene for just shy of two decades now, it is safe to say that Maceo Plex is a master of his trade. Releases on huge labels such as Drumcode and Crosstown Rebels have only propelled him further into the limelight. Playing an early set at Terminal V, we were intrigued to see which direction he’d take us. Dipping in between house and techno, the performance was a perfect blend of energy and grooves, before out of the blue dropping a garage classic – Double 99’s “RIP Groove”, sending the unexpecting crowd wild.
Patrick Topping & Green Velvet
The Geordie sensation and green-haired industry mainstay who are quite simply unstoppable right now, were once again on top form for Terminal V. After attending university in Edinburgh, Patrick’s set felt like somewhat of a homecoming for what was once a former place of residence, which he even raved at himself during his uni days.
Patty T’s performance was full of unreleased belters due to be released on his brand new label “Trick” this summer. “Snide”, “Let Wa Gan” and “Real Dungeon Freak” all saw a road test at various points throughout his set – each getting the seal of approval from the eager crowd. After his performance stepped up Green Velvet with the room now at capacity to see the Relief records boss, before the two came side by side for a history making b2b.
Our top set of the day came from the relentless, unadulterated sounds of German DJ Helena Hauff. Varying from breakbeat, stripped back analogised techno and rolling electro, her 90 minute show pulled us from pillar to post, leaving the crowd in awe. The first female DJ to win Radio 1’s essential mix of the year had the room in the palm of her hand, playing through various genres effortlessly.
The throbbing bassline of “Me and my 808” by Exzakt came crashing through Area V’s sound system, before the breakbeat banger “Expliot” by Zeta Reticula switched up the vibe and sent us deeper into Helena’s electronic underworld.
Hats off to Terminal V team, who again curated a rare chance to see some of Europe’s highest regarded selectors including Richie Hawtin’s first performance in Edinburgh for 18 years. This combined with spellbinding production, a well managed operation and the welcoming Scottish crowd made for a thrilling experience. Improvements around sound quality and temperature control would be great to see in future, as Terminal V continues to make its mark on the scene. 8/10