Copy from this article is taken from DJ Mag July 1998. Words by Steve Satterthwaite and photos by Sam Lanyon Jones
Legendary rave promoters Dreamscape threw their first gathering at the iconic Milton Keynes venue Sanctuary in 1991 and spent the '90s feeding the UK's insatiable appetite for happy hardcore and its fluoro-friendly kin. By 1998, they were reflecting new trends and tastes in UK dance music. Taking place in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, the 29th edition of Dreamscape saw smiley rave heroes DJ Sy and Slipmatt take the reigns alongside drum & bass icon LTJ Bukem, UK garage powerhouse the Dream Teem, and a whole host of others. DJCoin dusts off the whistles, glowsticks and white gloves of Dreamscape's July 1998 edition in this report from the DJ Mag archives
It has to be said that I've always missed the mark when it comes to happy hardcore and its associated condiments. This is my first Dreamscape and where the other 28 had disappeared to I'll put down to a mild case of amnesia in the early 1990s. As we approach the agricultural showground that is the Bath and West in Shepton Mallet, Somerset you can easily make out the euphoric rise of whistles and horns over the bass haze. Over 8000 enthused ravers are packed into six arenas with at least 50 DJs to build their night.
In the massive main hall Vibes is pushing it to around 200+ bpm, there's certainly no sign of a warm-up and the sweat riddled masses love it. This is Dreamscape without a doubt. Even when the likes of LTJ Bukem takes control in the Logical Progression shed or when the Dreem Team are on DJ mag's excellent bubblin' under UK garage stage it doesn't quite compare with the energy that seeps from the old skool, techno and hardcore areas.
It's a young crowd and they're definitely here to party. Wide-eyed grins and cramped jaws are in full effect as we sneak a look at the thrill rides before settling for the last half of Bukem's three-hour set. The man's on form as usual, spinning perfect dreamy drum & bass, the kind which eats time faultlessly.
Danny Foster brings even more soul to a chilled garage hall which still smells a little of its daytime use (a cattle shed). Fighting past the busy Dreamscape merchandise stalls to the main arena where Vinylgroover has caused 1000s of whistling white-gloved ravers to throw their arms in the air it seems clear that the vibe is pretty much universal. There's no label elitism, instead you get a collective vibe throughout created by the attitude, the fashion and of course the music. The rave massive are donning their branded Dreamscape gloves, flouro-gear and accessories without any embarrassment and making as much noiiiiisee as possible.
Rave veterans Sy and Slipmatt take care of the old skool and you're sure that this 'Decade in Dance' will certainly not be forgotten. After a couple of 'car park cigarettes', it's off into the Somerset dawn leaving a steady haze of glowsticks and youthful exuberance. It's easy to mock Dreamscape for its cheesy demeanour but there's thousands who couldn't give a toss about such condescension. You know the score by now.
Want more? Revisit the floats, sets and hedonism of the 2000 Leeds Love Parade in this vintage piece, also from the DJ Mag archives
Get a handle on the rich, multi-layered and messy dance music history of East Anglia in this DJ Mag feature and find out how Fantazia brought UK rave to the masses in this interview with co-founder James Perkins
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