The Saturday of Bubble starts like any Saturday should: on the beach. I arrive early in the afternoon and head down to Għajn Tuffieħa to enjoy the sea before heading into the relaxed, enthralling scenes above.
The sun sets and I make my way up where I’m greeted by Ian under the tower lit up by beautifully iridescent lighting crawling over its sandy walls. I enter to find a magnificent collection of paintings from local artists, and a ladder that can only be described as “questionably safe” leading to the roof. I put my life in my hands as I clutch a glass of warm wine and make my way up towards a view of the entire festival grounds.
Now I have my bearings. It’s time to get out there and experience the sesh that awaits. First stop? Centre Stage, of course. Drawn in by the alluring sounds of Soul Kontakt and his psy trance set, I couldn’t seem to draw myself away. How much time has passed? I’m not sure. Ian and I make our way towards the Gaia Stage where we hear The Egg is performing very soon.
We get distracted along the way by colourful orbs of light swinging in rhythmic circles – poi balls. We try them out. Ian is a natural, I hit myself in the face too many times. We continue on our adventure towards The Gaia Stage. HOUSEM8s are finishing up an extremely energetic set as we get to the packed stage.
The Egg are up. They inject a sweet mix of psychedelic and electronic sounds across the whole stage – the kind that reverberates through your whole body.
Their sound is crazy addictive. I spend most of their set completely lost in the music. The thirst hits me. Hard. I make my way towards the bar and order a drink. Ian is nowhere to be found, so I decide to go on a solo expedition around the festival for a while, until calling it a night.
Sunday begins, and I once again make my way north from Sliema. Rock the Bubble is taking place on the Gaia Stage, I’m in my element. I take some time to relax and explore the grounds for a while before getting balls deep into the music.
The whole festival really is a thing of beauty, the juxtaposition of the sea and the semi-arid landscape really is something – a nice break from the concrete jungle we all experience daily in Malta.
In the evening, I spend my time bouncing between Pon Di Corner’s lively performance and 215 Collective where Eddie and Yannick are putting on a seriously impressive act of hip-hop gold. Beesqueeze are up next with a melodic set of psychedelic rock. The word psychedelic is something that I’ve encountered a lot over the weekend.
The music, the vibrant colours everywhere and the people make it a truly captivating atmosphere that anyone can enjoy.
The final act for me for the evening is The Ranch. I saw them play briefly way back at Rock the South. Fortunately, this time, I have time to see them play a full set. What can I say? Listening to their hyperactive mix contemporary rock with smooth jazz is the perfect way to close off the night. I find my inner headbanger re-emerge as I really get immersed in the sound. The set ends and I no longer know what to do with myself.
I take in the sights, sounds and smells of The Bubble one last time before leaving for another year. What an experience. What a festival. I shall be back again next year for sure.
Words by: Shane McLáimh
Images Courtesy of: Matthew Brincat www.matthewbrincat.com