Having purchased tickets well over a month in advance the day was finally upon us for my first ever Innovation Bristol experience.

Living in London I’d of course been to many Innovation events over the years at Fire, Kentish Town Forum, Great Suffolk Street & my personal favourite Proud2, but had no idea what to expect of the Inno vibe in another UK city. This was also billed at the ‘Official Innovation In The Sun Warm Up’ so there was no way we were missing out!

After a surprisingly picturesque journey down the M4 we arrived in Bristol just before 9pm. We parked up in the conveniently located multi story right next to the venue then hit a nearby pub as we had an hour to kill before doors opened.

After a couple of drinks we headed to the O2 Academy where a fair sized queue had formed since us passing merely an hour previously. Thankfully we didn’t have to queue too long, doors opens dead on 10pm and following a swift but stringent search we were in the club and headed straight for the dancefloor. Innovation’s resident selector DJ Ollie was warming up the sound system nicely with his usual selection of upfront dubs & crowd pleasing classics, just what was needed to get us bouncing. Having heard Ollie many times over the years I’m always surprised to hear him playing so early, definitely one to watch.

Innovation Bristol at O2 Academy

Next up was the G13 crew, Rowney & Propz, with MC’s Toddlah, Double O & Danja. It’s been a while since I last heard Rowney & Propz and I’ve got to say they didn’t disappoint they played a lot less mid range jump up than I expected, drawing instead for a more sub basslines, just my cup of tea.

As Pleasure & Traumatik stepped up we went exploring the venue. The house room downstairs was kind of sparse so we continued up the stairs to the Major Bass arena located high above the main room. It was much easier to get served at the bar upstairs and the DJ’s were playing a similar selection to what was happening down in the main room so we were happy.

After yet more drinks we ventured to the balcony overlooking the main room to catch the intro to Phantasy, Harry Shotta & Skibadee, the dancefloor below was going nuts! The anthem for the night had to be the new remix of Ready Or Not, I’m not sure who’s behind this remix (and to be frank I’m not a huge fan) but almost every DJ played it and the crowd went mental each time. Grooverider, Eksman & Grima kept the vibes rolling, followed by Jaydan, another artist I’d not caught for a while.

Unfortunately we couldn’t stay until the very end as our driver for the night wanted to hit the road. Overall we had a great night down in Bristol with the Innovation family. It was nice to be in a club that wasn’t sweaty hot, and where you actually had room to skank out without fear of knocking someone’s drink out their hand (Fabric & Fire take note!). There was a real air of quality about the O2 Academy which I feel is missing from some of the London venues I frequent. It was great bumping into faces we’d met out at Inno In The Sun last summer as well as a few other familiar ravers who’d also traveled across from the other end of the M4. The vibes throughout the night were brilliant and the production, lights and crystal clear sound system were on point. I’d go as far as to say I preferred raving at Innovation Bristol than I ever have at recent Innovation parties in London, and will most definitely be making the trip back down for the next one.

I’m now overly excited for Innovation In The Sun… Consider me well & truly warmed up!


Review by Sally Webster
Pics by Sam Teale
Video by Jonathan Owen