It’s 3am Saturday morning at Glastonbury and I sweatily grab my boyfriends face with both hands and shout ‘See!”. It was his first time at the festival, and we were dancing in it’s now infamous late-night corner Block9. Created by Gideon Berger and Stephen Gallagher, Block9 is the party everyone wants to get in to, some nights revellers queue up to three hours to even get entry. It’s a feast for the eyes and a party for the senses where you simultaneously lose everything and everyone but also maybe discover your true self.
The construction of these immersive, temporary realities is well known on the festival circuit. Genosys, the impending tower and electronic music arena and The NYC Downlow, the ultimate queer club space in a life size film set replica of a seedy New York bathhouse circa 1982. This year to meet demand Block9 took over two fields (which made the already confusing behemoth of an adult playground even more confusing but nonetheless fun to stumble around whilst trying to find your friends and a frozen strawberry daiquiri) and unleashed their brand-new stage IICON.
Taking the form of a 65ft video-mapped ‘anonymised head’ with a holding capacity of 15,000 people it felt like a Godlike figure representing humanity staring into a digital void – not that dissimilar to everyone, sunburnt and confused at the stone circle on Monday morning looking into their weeks ahead.
I herded my friends together and somehow managed to make our way for the opening Friday night AV-3D show, the monuments sound system pumping deep in our veins whilst also hammering home the terrifying new realities emerging in our digital, post-truth age – but made cute and danceable, just how I like to swallow hard truths.
IICON embarks on a global tour in major cities internationally from 2020, with the addition of an immersive interior show. Part gig, part club, part art installation, part theatre it’s a totally new way to engage with music and if dancing in a muddy field at Glastonbury is definitely not your thing now is your chance to check out just a slice.