Creating their own hymn
The best moment at ABGT250, Above & Beyond’s skyscraping open-air festival staged in front of 23,000 fans at our very own Gorge Amphitheatre? Ask the three men at the heart of it, you get three different answers.
Paavo Siljamäki: “One day I was having lunch on my own in the winery – I know, a winery! – next to The Gorge and heard these two couples chatting. They didn’t know each other beforehand, but as I sat there eavesdropping I realised I was listening to them becoming friends. They’d been drawn together by ABGT250. That was the essence of the weekend for me.”
Jono Grant: “I was in a car heading off the site with [singer] Zoë Johnston, and there was a long stream of fans leaving The Gorge. Zoë and I asked the driver to stop the car on a bridge that was above the flowing river of fans, and we got and waved goodbye to them as the walked through the tunnel. Everyone was screaming like crazy and it was a really fun moment. It never ceases to amaze me both how much love and dedication the fans have towards it all.”
Tony McGuinness: “Paavo was doing an 11am yoga set and I went with him. So, 2000 people in front of the yoga stage doing the downward dog, then a couple thousand more just enjoying the tunes he was playing, then a six-abreast stream of people in Anjunabeats and Above & Beyond t-shirts walking from the campsite – seeing all that for the first time, and seeing our family, if you like, in broad daylight and bright sunshine, brought home to me the enormity of our community. They were coming together in the spirit of openness and warmth and music. Let’s just say I was glad I was wearing sunglasses because, honestly, I was choking up.”
Three answers, one unifying theme: for their latest (ad)venture, hosted to mark their 250th Group Therapy radio show, Above & Beyond had crystallized something that lay at the heart of everything they’ve achieved over their 17 years together. From developing that groundbreaking radio show to touring the world’s best clubs and most illustrious venues; from establishing a thriving, multi-artist label to building a peerless catalog of artist albums; from creating iconic dance anthems to curating soulful acoustic reruns, one thing stands out.
That is: Above & Beyond have carved out a unique space in music and culture, one that reaches far beyond their electronic roots. In so doing, Jono, Paavo, and Tony have created something special: a common ground where all sorts of people and ideas can come together. Celebration, kinship, community – it’s the A&B way.