All you needed to guarantee a good night out down the disco at one time was a pair of gold lame flares and a few glasses of Babycham. This summer, however, thousands of revellers will gather in a field at Glastonbury to enjoy what is being billed as the most hi-tech dance experience ever.
Making its festival debut this year will be a three-dimensional disco in which clubbers can enjoy an hour of sensory bombardment as they groove to some of their favourite tunes.
Three-dimensional glasses used to be handed out to cinema audiences in the hope they would cringing in terror at the Creature from the Black Lagoon or Jaws 3-D, though the promise was not always realised. Now organisers are making similar vows, but this time, they insist, the reality will live up to the hype.
Not least, they say, because the 3D event, which is expected to attract 2,000 clubbers, will combine an hour-long visual show with a silent disco, a popular hit at Glastonbury for the past three years where ravers wear radio headphones to listen to the music.
The Newcastle upon Tyne-based Novak collective, comprising five DJs, motion graphics and visual artists, hopes their novel entertainment format could take off this summer. The group has in the past worked with the electronic music duo Chemical Brothers and singer Calvin Harris, as well as building a reputation supplying graphics to dubstep group Magnetic Man.
The new show will be a full – if at times kitsch – audio-visual extravaganza, combining music, video, text and graphics on giant screens around the tent. "This is a technology which has come of age," said Novak's Nik Barrera. Among the images which will come flying out of the screens are retro cartoon characters, 1950s spacemen and spinning triangles. But unlike earlier cult 3D movies, this show, being generated on modern computers, can deliver the real deal, Mr Barrera insisted. "If you look at the first 3D films they didn't actually work very well. But these images just jump right out in your face. From the moment we started testing it, people couldn't believe it. Club land has never had anything like this before."
Lou Fitzpatrick, who is co-ordinating this year's Dance Village at Glastonbury, said he believed the disco would prove one of the festival's biggest crowd pullers. "This is one of the most exciting and innovative approaches to music visuals we've seen recently and we're hugely excited to host the festival world premiere of their show."
While it may be thought of as a peculiar feature of post-war American cinema, 3D was devised by the distinguished Victorian inventor Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1840. The method works by tricking the mind into seeing a depth of image by presenting each eye with a slightly different image. The first 3D films were produced in the 1880s but the golden period of the form was between 1952 and 1955 commencing with the technology's first colour feature, Bwana Devil, which attracted audiences with the tagline: "A lion in your lap! A lover in your arms!"