Donington Park, perhaps best known by music fans as the host of Download Festival, added another feather to its bow this year – The Drum and Bass Awards. The 7000 capacity Donington Exhibition Centre made the Awards their largest iteration yet. It wasn’t just the scale of the event that was improved over previous years, there was an all star line-up to boot. Fans could catch acts such as Chase & Status and Subfocus across two stages until 6 in the morning. It goes without saying that this was the definitive night for fans of the genre.
What about the awards? World-class MCs and DJs received recognition across 20 categories. The hosts, founder MC Magika and breakthrough artist DJ Voltage, moved proceedings on smoothly. A number of the winners who couldn’t make it to Donington on the night had their acceptances delivered by video, something that did prove a touch anti-climatic, but the excitement of the winners taking to the stage to thank fans in person more than made up for it. The message that was repeated time and time again was one of hard work, of incremental successes that one by one earned them widespread acclaim – something that for many has taken a decade or more. The future and past of the genre were brought together under one roof; Toddlah and Mollie Collins took home ‘Best Breakthrough MC’ and ‘Best Breakthrough DJ’ respectively, whilst Jumping Jack Frost received the coveted lifetime achievement award. Artists aside, London’s Fabric was perhaps unsurprisingly given the award for ‘Best Club Night’ and Hospitality in the Park won ‘Best Festival’.
The good news is that you can catch a bunch of the winners in May at the Official Award Winners Party in Birmingham. Topping the bill is 2017’s ‘Best DJ’ Hazard, who is also incidentally a brummie himself. There will also be a performance from producer Total Recall with MC Magika. The standout is likely to be a Raveology Spotlight; two MCs face in a 3 minute freestyling without any music to accompany them. The Drum and Bass Awards was a cracking night and there’s no reason why this should be any different.