On September 11th, 2021, in the heart of Belfast, Northern Ireland,
UK PlanetLove took place and delivered the sounds that dominate the UK scene. Out from 18 months of no events, PlanetLove not only came back post Covid, it came out from close to a decade long hiatus. The brand has always been known for bringing some of the hardest styles to dominate the north as well as the 90s sounds that made everyone fall. PlanetLove did not disappoint with nine hours of nothing short but just amazing music. This was the event to be at.
Being my first time to PlanetLove, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The stage layout was unique where four stages were set up back to back in circle surrounded with 360 degrees of attractions, food trucks, bar ques, bathrooms and partiers; and tucked in the back was the VIP section. I have never seen such a unique stage design.
Early in the day, it was easy to walk around catching multiple set. Clockwise, the first stage was the ClubLand stage which was a throw backstage. To the left of that was my favorite stage for the night, the Subculture stage. Then there was the main stage called Love, and the hard stage called Goodgreef Xtra. The VIPs were treated to a fifth stage.
I got there early to see both Robbie Smith and Pete Delete both open their respected stages. Entry was rather easy and the verification process for vaccination was a breeze. On the spot testing was also available for patrons. The layout was really easy to find everything. Robbie threw down a great opening set wishing I could have seen it all, but I had to make my way to the VIP area where Pete was playing. The VIP area was definitely different from what I am used to back home in the U.S. A secluded area with picnic tables, bathrooms, its own bar area provided relief if you wanted to sit or eat because there was nowhere to sit outside this area.
I wandered off for the next few hours catching a little of Liam Melly, Maria Healy, Danny + Fergie, Jeff Scott, and Death Punch set. Everyone was killing it, but the energy at the Goodgreef stage was insane. They were going ham out the gate. Once the middle of the afternoon came, the conflicts got real. Especially when it came to Kutski, Eddie Halliwell and Paul Denton. I tried and succeed to see all three but spent most of my time seeing the legend Eddie Halliwell who did not disappoint at all. The crowd was definitely starting to feel in at this point then I proceeded to make my way to the Subculture stage and stayed put for the rest of the night.
It is definitely no secret that John O’Callaghan is my favorite DJ and his label Subculture is my favorite. I have become friends with so many people associated with this branch and the Music First Agency. It was a really special treat to see their faces after so many months away. It was honestly the draw that got me to go to this event. I caught the full sets of Sneijder who absolutely slayed the dance floor. I missed that dirty tech trance. It was banging. He dropped a couple of IDs that I am definitely looking forward to being released.
After Sneijder, JOC came on and I was beside myself. He played Big Sky, Lose Yourself, and countless other tracks but the highlight of the set had to be the last track I Love You with his lifelong best friend Bryan Kearney. Bryan joined him on stage as he was to follow this set and the two embraced. Showing the world their friendship on a very raw level, it is very nice to see how friends can become successful together versus competing. A reminder that we all can make it working together.
After that emotional charged set, I ran over to the Love stage to the last 20 minutes of Ferry Cortsen’s set. I went to the front and was surprised to see the lovely Lisa Lashes dancing away to Ferry. A memory I will cherish forever as we both danced together. After’s Ferry set, I ran back to catch Bryan’s set, and OMG! What a set! I was exhausted by this point but had to stay to watch at least part of Billy Gillies set; the hometown hero closing out the stage was simply amazing and the energy was insane.
We made a conscious decision to head out a little early in hopes to beat traffic and find a cab. Out planning definitely payed off as we found a cab quickly and headed back to our hotel. Feet tired, body aching, ears ringing, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
It is no secret that trance has a stronger backing in Europe. And it is no secret that the UK and Ireland have a lock on trance that is dated back to the Second Summer of Love. The trance scene in this area is just different. And the further north you head, the harder the trance gets and the harder the fans go. You hear nay-sayers say trance is a bunch of old folks living in the past and that could be true in some areas, but that is not the case in Belfast. Belfast has the secret to the youth. They show up big and they go big.
PlanetLove did a great job catering to all audiences, and against all odds in a pandemic, they threw a great show.
I hope they are back to stay and looking forward to attending many more events in the future.