Introducing Shack, a pop up stage that belongs in the festival forests.
In the midst of an over commercialised festival industry, a brand new pop up stage named Shack has been taking things back to basics.
Ibiza Voice stumbled across the stage in the Ambient Forest of Bestival and discovered a graffiti-drenched installation that features cabinets stacked with TVs, old videos, computers and trippy second hand artefacts. The impressive 'museum' of design relics surrounds the DJ booth in a 'U' shape. The Technics 1200 turntables are grounded into a custom-made wooden DJ booth and expert selectors play extended eclectic sets, occasionally keeping the pace up for over 15 hours.
To find out more, we speak to the Shack's creator Arlen Figgis about what to expect from a stage we're tipping to be one of the hottest pop ups of 2018.
Ibiza Voice: Can you tell us what the main concept behind the Shack is?
Arlen Figgis: The shack has a day time mode that means people can chill inside it and look at the museum, rest their coffee on the DJ booth and take it easy listening to tunes. When night comes around I switch the projector on and the visuals beam onto a custom made screen, which are compiled of random clips I have collected over the years, a bit like records. As well as the screens there are video monitors in the DJ booth, in the cabinets and on the walls.
Being that a festival is generally quite a young crowd, a lot of them haven't heard some of the music we play. I love nothing more than seeing people experience absolute classic tunes for the first time, which is mostly stuff made before they were born. That said, a lot of the time our DJs are playing the newest exclusives as well. It's not a nostalgia trip all of the time, it's all about old versus new.
WE ARE SHACK from arlen figgis on Vimeo.
Any memorable moments from past Shack parties?
Oh boy, have you got all day? It genuinely seems that every party we do gets more bonkers. People just seem to lose their minds once they find us in the forest! I love the fact that there is no pre conception of how to act in the Shack and all barriers are broken down...we're a chilled bunch so anything goes really.
Trust me some mad stuff has gone down but we cant print that! There was a lovely couple of hours on Saturday morning this last Bestival. Mikus was playing a reggae set and this guy walked past and came over to chat and have a coffee. He asked if we had a mic and it turns out he's a Reggae MC called Ramon Judah. It started to really rain and loads of people crowded in. We played the instrumental version of one of his tunes, and he dropped a wicked freestyle on the spot, on top of his own tune. Rain pouring down and everyone snug inside the shack. It was a beautiful moment I won't forget.
How did the Shack start?
It's the culmination of going to raves, a love of technology, art, music, DJ'ing, graffiti and culture. Back in the 90s me and my friends went to parties like Raindance, World Dance, Dance 91, Orange club, Jungle Fever and Exodus.
In 2011 I built a small Shack for for Latitude Festival with David Shillinglaw, which was just big enough for some decks and a few people. There is no genre listing at Shack.
As a DJ, my first love is jungle or early 90s UK hardcore but we touch upon anything that is good and will rock a crowd. That said, there is no musical genre we wont touch on. Day time is amazing for film sound tracks, jazz. But when night falls...
What's different about Shack?
It's evolved into what it is now organically and I wouldn't want it to get much bigger as I think what people love, is its intimacy. There's no bullshit VIP area, you can be right next to the DJ if you want and in amongst the art. I still see people wondering if they are allowed to get close as they are so used to needing a backstage pass to get near the DJ. There's none of that here!
Where are your favourite record shops?
Back in the day I used to DJ on Kool FM around 1992 when it first started so at 15 year old I'd be in Black Market, Zoom, Unity, Quaff, Bluebird, Section 5, Passion, all weekend buying records all the time. So I have ripped all those records and even though it's coming off a laptop, the sonic patina and feel of vinyl is still there.
Qhat was the firs one you bought and what record stays in the bag most?
Most of them! As I use Serato its not a big deal to take all my music with me. It's really liberating (after years of carrying vinyl and dubplates about and knackering my back) to be able to switch at any moment as you have thousands of tunes on the laptop.
The first tunes I can remember buying is 'Pass the Duchie' by Musical Youth and Nu Shooz 'I Cant Wait' I still play them now. I'm really feeling artists like Quantic, Lost Midas and Pezzner now as well as Breakage and Wrong Tom.
The Shack is as underground as things get; what do you think about the rise in VIP dance music?
I personally don't like VIP areas. I find it attracts people that are less into music, more into a 'scene' or being seen, but if paying over the odds for a beer is your thing, fair play! The Shack is a great filter, it attracts the kind of crowd we like, VIP bods wouldn't like the mud so they move on to something else!
What have you got planned now festival season has finished?
That's a hard one as we only really build the shack in the woods. It feels naturally at home there. I have been approached to do it at venues but i'm not quite sure how it would work. In a forest there is an instant vibe and beautiful surroundings, and it's open to the elements. Partying under the stars is something special.