RIP Keith Flint: Reliving Prodigy at Snowbombing 2011
Like most of you, I saw the news about Keith Flint's death at the age of 49 on Twitter this morning. For many of us Flint and The Prodigy will have provided a soundtrack to numerous moments across our youth - both good, bad and hazy memories are often set to the thumping soundtrack of some of their best-known songs.
For me, the news of Flint's passing took me back to the single greatest gig I have ever attended. The year was 2011 and the location - possibly unusually - was 783m above sea level at Westendorf, near Kitzbühel in Austria. More specifically, a woodland clearing, up a mountain a short walk from the village of Westendorf.
I was attending Snowbombing 2011, an annual festival of skiing, music and parties which I heartily recommend if you are interested in any or all of those pastimes. The days are spent on the ski slopes, the evenings in the bars and the nights at a range of gigs which, on that occasion, included Fatboy Slim (which I missed - long story), Professor Green and The Prodigy.
Getting into the Prodigy gig was an experience. The clearing was fenced off and the queue had degenerated into a swarm of people - my friends and I among them - who had turned up at the last minute. Some enterprising chap - who may or may not have been an official employee, I'm not sure - opened up a second entrance in the fence just up from the main gate and we all filed in, climbing across a stubborn bit of fence which would not be moved. In hindsight, we may have snuck in. Sorry Snowbombing.
Either way, once inside we joined a throng of wolf mask-wearing, ski gear-clad ravers whose excitement was at fever pitch long before the lights and beats dropped.
My photos from the night, as you can see, are a blurry mess at best. It remains, in my humble opinion, the best sign of a good night.
What was truly incredible was that, from the moment they took the stage, Flint and the rest of The Prodigy rode the wave of audience enthusiasm and kept it at such a fever pitch that it felt like the towering mountains and trees around us were thundering with the sounds of their tunes.
I can't really describe much of what happened that evening. The sights and sounds are a blur, but there is a real buzz of excitement and thrill each time I remember it. I am - subconsciously - tapping my foot to an imagined tune as I write this.
As anyone who knows me will attest, I am not a hardcore - or event moderate - raver, but that night was one of the best I have had and an experience I will never, ever forget.
RIP Keith Flint, thanks for the memories.
Photo of Keith Flint courtesy of The Prodigy on Twitter
Video credit to Snowbombing