Music by VICE

The Film about Bloc Looks Like a Scrapbook to a Blighted but Beloved Festival

'Dancing on Carpets' is the perfect send-off to the decade old Bloc festival.

by Michael Scott Barron
Apr 8 2016, 2:10pm

Image courtesy of Bloc / Clouded Vision

Bloc is getting a doc. And from the trailer it looks like it will be a no-holds barred journey through the momentous ups and downs the two promoters behind the British festival institution have endured over the best part of a decade.

The last ever Bloc Weekender, the long-running festival held in a Butlins, happened a few weeks back. The organizers—Alex Benson and George Hull—decided it was time to call it quits and have turned their attention to the permanent venue space they've opened up in London.

As we wait to see what the next chapter holds for Bloc, now is as good as time as any to reflect on what was. Bloc's promoters and the documentary team Clouded Vision are due to release Dancing on Carpets, a film that captures the history of Bloc's festival years.

According to the Bloc site, its organizers were approached by the film crew six years ago about making a documentary that would capture, what is stated in the trailer, as "a homegrown festival known for its surprising line-ups, its surreal environment, and its hedonistic sense of humor that gained infamous recognition, but not always for the right reasons."

The trailer shows plenty of footage of energetic crowds and performers totally in their element, but alludes to some of the less sterling moments of the festival's past.

In 2012, Bloc achieved infamy when, in an attempt to move to a docking yard outside of London, it miscalculated the number of people attempting to get in, leaving thousands stranded for hours outside of the London Pleasure Garden festival grounds. Chaos ensued, with angry crowds forming a humungous human drum line, and performers told to stay in their hotels. The festival was immediately cancelled.

And this past year, Bloc founder George Hull wrote a scathing op-ed lamenting what he saw was the loss of the good old days of raves to a boring new generation. THUMP's Angus Harrison penned a rebuttal chiding Hall as a "bitter old man" who was "lining his pockets" with the money of the very people he saw as "dull hipsters."

If anything, these controversies have only fanned the flames to the festival's enduring popularity. Cheekily enough, the trailer ends with a guy demanding his money back. "This is the shittest festival I have ever been to in my life," he shouts at a stoned faced official.

Bloc was founded in 2007 when two club promoters from Norfolk set up a small festival at an off-season holiday park. Its line-up over the years has included vaunted acts such as Holly Herndon, Autechre, Mary Anne Hobbs, Juan Atkins and Thom Yorke.

Do to the nature of the crew documenting the club's history for past six years, the organizers have called Dancing on Carpets "a ravey 7UP" in reference to the documentary series that has followed one group of people from their childhood into old age. "Bloc have a history of supporting electronic music with heart," says an overdubbed voice during the trailer, "and nurturing an audience with innovation."

Watch the trailer below. A release date for the film has yet to be released.

Holly Herndon
Thom Yorke
mary anne hobbs
clouded vision