A legend in his own right, this week we bring legendary purveyor of sound, mister Groove Garden himself, Franc Gooding to the table as he talks through his Standon memories!
I was first invited to DJ at Standon Calling in 2010, and was given the closing set on Sunday night in the Cowshed which was phenomenal. I’d come from running a small dance music festival of my own called Bloom that ran between 2006 – 2008, so Alex and I were kindred spirits right from the start.
After having such a great weekend we started chatting about the addition of a new fringe dance music stage the following year, and in 2011 the Groove Garden made its first appearance on the festival map, nestled in by the swimming pool in 2011. I absolutely loved that spot, as it was a perfect hangout for daytime chilling with a laid back sunshine soundtrack.
The music was programmed to gradually build throughout the day, moving from downtempo soulful sounds, to booty shaking disco as the sun went down over the swimming pool with a really balearic feel. Then when nightime took hold, the space transformed into a rowdy late night party spot that quickly outgrew the space!
My favourite personal memory was taking to the main stage to play a warm-up DJ slot right before Hip Hop legends De La Soul’s headline show in 2013. As a huge De La fan growing up, this was a real DJ highlight, and a privilege I will always be thankful to Alex for. That same year we also had DJ Maseo from De La Soul come and play in the Groove Garden, which was another wow moment! Maseo also nicked my Ortofon carts from the turntables, but that’s another story!
Thursday is looking strong and am looking forward to my boys Cuban Brothers (as always) and The Human League for some major 80s vibes. Groove Armada and DJ Paulette will be choice sets to see on Electric Willows. And then with a focus on the Groove Garden, we have some really great DJs with the main pick being Darius Syrossian who is one of the biggest UK house music producers right now. Darius and I started our DJs together at the same night back in 1995, and it will be great to be reunited with him this year, and an amazing opportunity to see him in an intimate setting like the Groove Garden which I expect to heaving for his set!
For the first few years the Groove Garden was operated as a kind of independent area within the festival. We were allocated the space we could use, and given access to power and the rest was up to us. My role included sourcing and managing the installation of the sound system, lights, tent, decor as well as programming the music and DJs. Some of these responsibilities have now been absorbed into the overarching festival production, and as such the space has grown and improved in the same way the festival has. The Groove Garden will be in it’s 12th year as part of Standon Calling this summer, and has cemented it’s little corner of the festival as the go-to place for all things soul/funk/disco/house.