Relentless Energy Drink NASS festival 2011

Posted on Thursday 14th July, 2011 Times Viewed: 6115
If you’d ventured deep in the Somerset countryside this weekend (July 8th-10th), you would’ve found thousands of revellers in the midst of an immense extreme sports festival – the Relentless Energy Drink NASS festival.

From the moment you entered the Bath & Somerset Showground, you were immersed in a new world of skateboarding, BMX, extreme sports competitions and some of the greatest tunes known to man, in an epic weekend that many won't forget in hurry.

Words: Kaz Willmer
Photos: Colin Slade
Having been to Relentless Boardmasters and Freeze several times before, it was awesome to see a festival which not only utilised what worked at those other festival, but kept to the needs of the core festival audience. And in the case of NASS, it was the dedication to the skate, inline, scooter and BMX crowds who had travelled from all over the country to compete, play, practice, mingle or learn, as well as pick up tips from the pros, and watch some immense riders busting it out in World Cup competitions.

What impressed us most was the layouts of the parks. The whole festival was set up around barns and warehouses, with the pro parks taking over each of the buildings. The pro park was an immense set up, taking over a whole warehouse with some incredible features for the riders. Another warehouse was dedicated to a scooter park, as well as a public park where kids young and old could play on features suitable for skate, inline, scooters and BMX – whether you were a complete beginner or more advanced rider. The talent from some of the British kids was awesome to see.

Kelvin Hoefler sent the adrenaline flowing with best skate trick prize on the Relentless Energy Drink Street Spots and first place at the World Cup Street Skate final, while Mark Webb stole the BMX final in the pro park and Lacey Baker won the Girls' skate comp.

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But if the comps weren't enough to keep you pumping, then the music lineup provided a playlist to remember – with the only difficulty deciding where to turn next. There were three stages – an outdoor tent for the main stage, a small warehouse to house the Kerrang stage and, the ultimate feature of them all, the UKF Drum & Bass Arena.

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The main stage saw the likes of Sub Focus, Nero and Labrinth (among many more!) who dropped some hard beats on the transfixed crowds, and Ms Dynamite treating her fans to some old school garage. But the headliner act on Saturday night was none other than Tinie Tempah, who flirted with the crowds through his entire set, and left us all gagging for more. With flames roaring, crowds blazing, and Mr T putting all his energy into his performance, it was a hot and steamy affair – but it was the sing-alongs which won the crowds over, not only with Written in the Stars and Invincible, but through teaching the words to new tracks too. With more flames blasting from the stage and Pass Out finishing his set, girls were literally passing out, having been treated to a set which Tinie T seemed to enjoy as much as the thousands at his feet.

Unfortunately, however, the most of the stoked up crowds had nowhere to go once the Saturday headliner had finished, leaving thousands of teenagers pushing to get into the Drum & Bass arena. With DJ Hype and DJ Fresh seeing the night away, it was the only way to go, and near-riots started as people tried to get inside to squeeze out the last drops of an immense festival.

As fencing started to be pushed down and people tried any way to get inside, the gates were shut, and once police and security managed to get the crowds under control, those lucky enough to be inside were treated to a night to remember. We were one of the unlucky ones, and could only hear the massive drops and reverberating bass through the walls as we had to head back to the campsite. But having seen DJ Hype before, we knew that those 3000 people inside were some of the luckiest people in the county that night.

Even though we didn't make it inside on the last night, the UKF Drum & Bass arena was a venue not to be missed over the weekend, with some of the most skank-inducing tracks keeping anyone inside dancing from morning til the next. With massive build-ups and epic drops, sick mixing and top MCs, you couldn't help but move as soon as you stepped inside the warehouse. Flux Pavilion, Dirty Phonics, Netsky and Joker were among the top sets, but even the early sets from the likes of Premise, Submental, Crisis MC and Benny MC shook the roof and stoked up some smile-inducing tracks.

On the Kerrang stage Millencolin, Cancer Bats and We Are the Ocean headlined by night, while early on you could find some MC workshops which were fun to get involved with. Morphs recruited for the silent disco, while those outside could watch the Relentless Energy Drink Street Spots, the BMX tracks, get involved with laser quest and fairground rides, or hit up the stores in the retail village, with freebies, discounts and prizes making us part with our pounds.

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The Relentless Energy Drink NASS festival was one to remember. It was a mix of young and old, with the very young freely learning tricks on their new boards while their parents chilled with a few beverages in the campsite. You then had older teens out for a good time, enjoying their first taste of a festival atmosphere in a controlled area with proper toilets, very little mud, and plenty of security to keep them under some kind of wrap. Then you had riders, amateur and pro, who took advantage of some immense park setups, competitions, and the chance to ride with other riders, old and new.

There have been shouts online about things that could have been done differently, particularly over the DnB Arena on Saturday night, but the police and security did what they had to do very quickly to stop more people getting hurt or crushed that night, and to maintain the weekend's friendly atmosphere which the festival should be proud of. It was great to be at a festival so different from other festivals, with such a dedication to the sports and the music, and there's no doubt people are already stoked for next year, as well as for Relentless Energy drink festivals, Boardmasters and Freeze, before then too.

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