Truck Festival is a one of our firm favourites on the festival calander and this years did not disappoint at all. Located on Hill Farm in Oxfordshire the festival offered a huge line up with some of the hottest bands around. Headlining the weekend was The Wombats, Two Door Cinema Club, Alt-J and Royal Blood. Every band who performed put on a cracking performance and put all their energy into their sets. The festival had plenty to offer including food and drink stalls, kids activities, gameshows, yoga, karaoke and more. Unfortunately the weather was a typical British type for a festival. Saturday was a downpour which made the site into a slippery mud bath but that did not dampen any ones spirits.
Our photographer Kane Howie was at the festival to document the weekend. You can see a selection of his images below.
2024 tickets are on sale now and are selling fast! We will definitely be returning for next year!
Due to excessive traffic issues and poor time management, we are entering BST Hyde Park much later than planned this fine sunny Sunday afternoon. Luckily we grab our wristbands and a drink just in time to get a good spot in front of the Great Oak stage for my 90’s manic-pixie-dream-girl crush Gwen Stefani (pretty sure she was everyone’s 90’s celeb crush actually).
Were you even a 90’s kid if you didn’t have that one No Doubt centre-magazine poster on your wall? You know which one I mean. It just occurred to me that kids now probably don’t buy physical magazines… what are they decorating their rooms with…
Anyway, Gwen bounces onto the stage resplendent in a disco ball inspired outfit for opener ‘The Sweet Escape’ right into No Doubt classic ‘Sunday Morning’, like there hasn’t been a single minute between the day she wrote it and now. Yelling “I don’t think you guys understand the love I have for London Town… let me pinch myself, THIS IS MY LIFE!” before busting out another classic – ‘It’s My Life’ (Talk Talk cover).
In a curious revelation about the inner workings of her mind, she blurts out “I was thinking about my life. Most of the time when I’m singing the songs, I’m thinking – what am I gonna have to eat later? Thank you for listening to my music all this time” which comes across a little odd, a little nonchalant, given her previous emphatic affectations about her work.
Nevertheless, ‘Underneath It All’ brings the groove back, admittedly with a small side of cringe these days – the ska/reggae overlap has always been part of Stefani’s music but it is one of those things that we’ve gradually distanced ourselves from since the early noughties. It would be remiss of me to write about Gwen Stefani without joining the chequered commentary about cultural appropriation vs. appreciation over her recording history, and the inclusion of controversial ‘Harajuku Girls’ and iconic ‘Rich Girl’ give me awkward pause for thought. Bringing on stage rapper Eve for a duet/cover of her song ‘Let Me Blow Ya Mind’ was extremely welcome though, being immediately transported back to 2001 in the opening notes.
After what looks like a slight bra malfunction, Gwen returns in yet another skirt/trouser combo that also smacks of very firmly Y2K vibes, but that ska checkerboard pattern will never not appeal to me – even the dancers are rocking matching jumpsuits. Oh and she’s being wheeled around on a giant throne, also fun.
‘Don’t Speak’ is where this set truly comes alive for me again, from there it’s a hit parade of core memory songs, with ‘Wind It Up’, and ‘What You Waiting For’ into ‘Spiderwebs’ which I screamed at the top of my extremely limited vocal range for.
‘Just A Girl’ is everything I want, remember and enjoy about Gwen Stefani. Her unique vocal sound seems unchanged by time, and it feels like such a treat for teenage-me to finally end up here, hearing it the way I did dancing with my friends in the living room to MTV. To cap it off, the slightly ridiculous ‘Hollaback Girl’ features dancers wielding giant bananas while she gads about in a sparkly cape – big Gwen energy.
There’s a pretty decent time gap before tonight’s main act, due in part to the absolutely insane stage set up being hastily squashed into view, so we have a little reprieve to check out some of the food options here at BST. For a relatively small festival footprint, you can pretty much find cuisine from most corners of the earth – but still settle for basic bitch buffalo loaded fries if you want to (and I did) but you better believe I’ll be sampling my way through as many outlets as possible over the coming weeks of BST gigs. They were delicious anyway. Though I didn’t make it around the rest of the site today due to time constraints, it’s nice to note that the site has lost none of its vibrancy from last year – there is colour, decoration and things to pique your interest everywhere you look. More exploration required.
With the sun beginning to dip over Hyde Park, it’s time to settle into our spots for tonight’s headliner, the incomparable wonder woman that is P!NK. Every single person I’ve met who has been to one of her shows assures me that she is incredible and possibly superhuman, so I’ve got a lot of hype and anticipation for this one – and it seems I am not alone. It’s a huge crowd tonight (and yes, a good percentage of that is potentially people who did not get Glasto tickets this weekend but we won’t dwell on that) but it is also a very female centric crowd too with a wide and enviable age range. I think if you’re the kind of performer who can appeal to three generations of women at the same time – you’ve kind of hit the jackpot, and that’s what I’m seeing here.
So when the stage screens light up with Pink’s AI avatar to introduce her Summer Carnival, I am understandably already enthralled to see the bottom of her sparkly silver boots hiding away up in the canopy of the stage, behind a giant Rocky Horror style mouth. The mouth opens to reveal Pink herself wearing a gemstone-encrusted leotard, who then plummets to the stage on a bungee cord before styling it out into something between circus and x-games. I have no desire to do such a thing personally, but I truly could watch her do an entire set up there, she is SO FUN.
Obviously the opening line is “I’m coming out” from ‘Get The Party Started’ because that is quite literally the perfect point to hurtle towards the audience with the sheer glee of someone with seemingly zero inhibitions or fear. Iconic.
‘Raise Your Glass’ will forever hit the spot with lyrics that celebrate the ‘underdog’, I think this is why the entire crowd tonight bar absolutely no-one, is singing along with wild abandon. It’s true that P!NK sits apart from other artists of her time, unlike the polished teen aesthetic of Britney and Christina, Pink had tattoos and short hair, swore and leaned into a grittier rock vocal sound. The genre-straddling appeal teamed with often inspirational and introspective lyrical content, has firmly rooted Pink in a place where we are appreciating her work throughout her career instead of just waiting for those early-days hits.
Oh and her wardrobe is beyond enviable honestly. I would 1000% try and steal that studded and glittery leather jacket if I saw it in a dressing room, watch out Alecia. Taking a quick pause to chat to those in the front rows Golden Circle area, she addresses a young fan “Happy birthday you’re 10, double digits, you’re gonna save the world… can’t wait!” and jokes “So many kids here.. oh god I’m such a mom now” before busting out classic ‘Who Knew’.
During ‘Just Like A Pill’ Pink is presented with an unenviably awkward situation, that I really feel she handles with incredible grace. Over the last few months we have witnessed Harry Styles being asked to do gender reveals on stage, Elton John’s farewell Glasto set the same night had cameras diverted to a couple getting engaged in the crowd… all sorts of interesting fan interactions. This though, feels like an absolute violation.
As Pink takes a small mid-song reprieve and walks down the runway, she is showered with gifts like flowers and soft-toys – cute right? Less cute is the Ziploc bag of ashes that is next to be hurled into her path. “Wait, is this your mom? I don’t know how I feel about this…” a clearly stunned Pink exclaims whilst gingerly picking it up and placing it carefully by one of the speakers. She then returns to singing but there’s an obvious wobble in her voice for those first few notes, and upon ending she quips “Well… that was a first” whilst looking uncomfortable. I get the sentiment of wanting to symbolically take your loved and missed person to something important to you, but truly this is intrusively unhinged behaviour, to actually throw human remains onto a stage. This moment will undoubtedly be filed in the same zone as Ozzy-biting-the-head-off-a-bat in rock’n’roll history I’m sure, but it speaks to the ever closing space celebrities are able to hold between themselves, and what fans think they’re entitled to.
Consummate performer that she is, Pink returns in a sparkly checked shirt and joined by a beautiful male duo dance performance for ‘What About Us’, followed by an aerial performance of her own – but not without a technical hitch. “Stop. Can we re-set? It’s too low. We just need six inches…” has the entire crowd giggling. “I’ll just do an Interpretive dance if this doesn’t work, I’ll tell jokes! Ok, go back into the sexy serious thing we were trying to do…” before performing ‘Turbulence’ whilst spinning around on a rope swing. I have no clue how she is managing to sound this good, doing that.
Back on solid ground once more, Pink heads to the piano saying “There are so many songs I wish I wrote… oh look at the sunset! I wish I wrote ‘Spiderwebs’… ‘Just A Girl’… ‘Don’t Speak’. My absolute She-ro Gwen Stefani is over there, you don’t get cooler than that” pointing stage side where Gwen is watching the show. “I also wish I wrote Baby Shark. I could buy everyone here a yacht” she laughs before performing a gorgeous cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’.
In another big moment, someone in the front decides to propose to their partner during this, which she notices “Did someone just pass out or propose? Was it a yes? Wooo! The first 20 years are the hardest” before going into the beautifully soulful ‘Just Give Me A Reason’.
‘F**kin’ Perfect’ sees Pink in yet another extremely steal-able studded biker jacket, this time in eponymous baby pink, before she changes into the early noughties revival outfit that we are now seeing on ASOS (RIP my youth). More rip-than-material crystal studded jeans and a leopard print corset were the lifeblood of Y2K teens. Add a diamante-butterfly backed g-string and you’ve hit peak Paris and Nicole.
With barely a break, we head into the third stage of this this epic show, with an acoustic ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’ and bringing her daughter Willow on stage to join her for the adorable ‘Cover Me in Sunshine’ in front of a glowing sun stage set, mirrored by the setting sun behind us.
“You know them right, First Aid Kit? These beautiful sisters… they were nice enough to write me this song” Pink leads in for ‘Kids In Love’ which is unmistakably First Aid Kit in composition. It’s a deliciously sweet twilight song, the kind you’d use as a backing track for a campfire scene, it’s going on my summer playlist.
The phone torch lights are out in force for ‘When I Get There’, she signs stuff for front row fans during ‘I Am Here’ before diving into protest anthem ‘Irrelevant’ “When I sing this song, you all have permission to lose your last marble”. In a post-Roe world we need more voices, and yelling “girls just wanna have rights” everywhere she goes is positive platform action.
“Yall ready to dance?” she yells, as the dancers whip off their velco trousers to reveal classic 80’s bodysuit-and-legwarmers gym wear, as she arrives back on stage in a silver bomber jacket doing fitness-video moves for ‘Runaway’.
Album namesake ‘Trustfall’ is highlighted by an amazing stairs/trampoline show where acrobats fell and popped back up in time to the music, before ‘Blow Me One Last Kiss’ in contrast featured dancers dressed in kinda creepy lips costumes and we dance our socks off to ‘Never Gonna Not Dance Again’. Finally, yelling “I’m coming to see you guys at the back” we get to see what the four giant cranes flanking the stadium are there for, as Pink is hoisted up into the air over the crowd during ‘So What’. I don’t know how she sings like she does while flying around above thousands of people but it truly cements her line “I’m still a rockstar” for me. What a bloody legend, please come back soon.
A new kind of festival experience is fast approaching when Common Ground Presents: We Belong Here expands to two days from the 25th to the 26th of February 2023. This boutique gathering at Miami’s stunning Virginia Key Beach Park today announces headliners Korolova, Themba, Kaskade Redux (3 Hour Set), Lane 8 (3 Hour Sunset Set), James Hype (Sunset Set), Gioli & Assia, Calussa b2b Malone, Francis Mercier, Chapter & Verse, Yotto, Luke Alexander, Bryan Softwell and Lucky Rose with more to come. Tickets start at $159 for full weekend VIP Admission and are available here.
Not only is the breathtaking location one of the stars of the cultured and classy Common Ground Presents: We Belong Here, but so too is the sophisticated production and attention to detail across the site. There is a unique circular stage known as the first ever 360 Experience which puts you right in the heart of the musical action, surrounded by sound and up close and personal with like-minded music lovers. As well as that, there are lux amenities for all, lounge seating, trailer style restrooms and expansive wetlands and sweeping views of the bay and the Atlantic which add extra atmosphere and beauty to the whole festival.
We Belong Here is all about radiating positive, uplifting and feel-good vibes and that is reflected in the line-up which is genre diverse yet melody focused across the house and techno spectrum. Themba, the South African king of Afro house and a master of spine tingling house lines up to represent the genre he has taken onto the world stage, while artful Italian pair Gioli & Assia make a debut Miami performance having become viral sensations with over 1 million YouTube followers.
Deep Root Records’ founder Francis Mercier will be returning to the main stage after a year of massive records, there will be a special b2b set from Miami’s own Calussa and Malone, who are both founders of one of the hottest Afro-House labels in the world – Hurry Up Slowly. James Hype has just been picked as the Beatport artist of the year so will be giving fans a treat with his unique skills behind the decks while Kaskade plays a special 3-hour Redux set which will see him explore everything from future to classic to deep house. Lane 8 will play a sure-to-be stunning 3-hour sunset set with more from Chapter & Verse, Yotto, Luke Alexander, Bryan Softwell and Lucky Rose. As well as the return of the ever popular beach stage, there is also the addition of a brand new, third stage with over 40 more artists are still to be announced.
With We Belong Here 2023 coinciding on the same weekend as the prestigious South Beach Food and Wine Festival, We Belong Here is expecting to be the hot spot afterparty of the culinary world’s A-list. As such Smorgasburg will be launching a first of its kind festival pop-up with a 15+ vendor immersive food experience right on the beach and you can also look forward to the world’s largest outdoor food market. It has a prestigious reputation for the highest quality and most creative eats and having started in New York, it’s grown to a few major cities including Wynwood, Miami – where its recent popularity has skyrocketed.
Accommodation options are vast and varied with hotels, villas and even yacht charters all available via a partnership with Miami-based travel-tech company CrewFare.
Common Ground Presents: We Belong Here is now fast approaching so make sure you get your tickets before they sell out.
The proudly independent team behind We Belong Here has, in the past and with various brands, promoted events in leading clubs around New York City, The Hamptons and Miami. They live by the motto “by the people for the people” and launched We Belong Here in Halloween 2021 with a takeover of the first-ever New York Stock Exchange (now Cipriani Wall Street) headlined by MEDUZA. The 2022 single-day festival was a massive success featuring the likes of Nora En Pure, Purple Disco Machine and Don Diablo, leading to a 2023 expansion in partnership with Common Ground Presents.
JBM Music is delighted to announce the return of ‘Garage Nation’ to the iconic Manchester Albert Hall this winter, bringing a stacked lineup of garage heavyweights to the venue from 21:00-03:00 on Saturday 3rd December 2022.
‘Garage Nation’ will welcome garage lovers for a night of floor filling performances from some of the genres finest acts, including garage royalty DJ Luck & MC Neat, the duo behind the UKG anthem ‘A Little Bit Of Luck’, and Sweet Female Attitude, creators of the noughties classic and UK #2 hit ‘Flowers’.
Heading to Manchester’s beloved Albert Hall for another instalment of the renowned ‘Garage Nation’, this all-star lineup looks set to bring yet another phenomenal night to a capacity crowd of party people in the northern capital. With performances from DJ sets from Matt Jam Lamon, 24 Hour Garage Girls Ft Shosh,Girl’s Don’t Sync & a special live performances from Lisa Mafia & Romero from So Solid Crew! Further support comes from UKG favourites Kele Le Roc & Nay Nay
With Garage Nation returning for 2022 to join the abundance of widely popular events by UK brand JBM Music, the long-standing company continues to deliver a diverse range of events to party goers across the nation. Raising the industry standard within the UK dance scene throughout the years, JBM Music have quickly become a formidable force renowned for bringing big names with the venues and production to match on every occasion, with Garage Nation continuing this trend for its winter return at the Albert Hall. With tickets already on-sale and available here, garage ravers should grab their passes ASAP for what will undoubtedly prove to be another sold-out Albert Hall special.
A critical understanding of electronic music heritage, combined with his continued experiences in clubs around the world, means NHOAH is able to construct tracks that are informed by his lineage, while also offering a glimpse into the future. The delicate balance in his music creates moments of exhilaration, harmony and pure, undiluted dance floor energy.
Although he’s already got a few years under his belt, the new album will feature music that can and will determine future nuances in club music in 2022. A bold statement perhaps, but indicative of his prophetic approach, ‘flashbacks to the future’ as he calls it.
The nights might be drawing in but Club Chinois continues to burn bright with a new run of parties announced on top of some extra closing events. Between now and a special Halloween Performance by La Troya on October 21st, new events including Moon Harbour with Matthias Tanzmann and Davide Squillace, Trip with Rhadoo, Eclud and Tucillo, La Troya Closing, Ethereal with SIS and more and Una Mas all come next to final gatherings for season residencies from Ida Engberg, Satori and Pablo Fierro and an overall Club Chinois Closing Party.
Club Chinois had a historic debut season. The club brought all new musical and decorative style to the White Isle with innovative bookings from across the house, Afro and techno spectrum. In what was formerly known as Heart Ibiza, this meticulously designed club offered warm lighting for knowledgeable music lovers who wanted something more intimate.
Events kick off with Satori who closes down his season on the 6th with SORA, Guy Laliberté and Clint Lee, then Pablo Fierro hosts We’re Here on the 7th with Megablast, Eribertho Cruz, Santiago Garcia and Bruz.
The Trip party is set to line up three times – first on the 8th October with minimal techno innovators Rhadoo and Eclud and local hero Tuccillo, then again on the 22nd with line-ups come and on the 29th October with Tania Vulcano, Tuccillo, Cesar Vicent, Isbel and Eclud.
As well as hosting the Halloween party on October 31st, La Troya have one last dance on the 10th with Oscar Colorado, Lunnas, Franco Moiraghi, Felix da Funk and Manuel Frias and 11th October sees Ethereal take over for the first time with world class house and techno from Sis, Eduardo Marvaso, Maricha and Iban Mendoza,
The rest of the month has Boho by Camilo Franco on the 13th October and a day after on the 14th is the closing of Pablo Fierro’s sublime season with Francis Mercier, Mounters and Juan Fierro. On 16th October some of the season’s favourite DJs return for the Club Chinois closing with Luciano and Ida Engberg joined by house talents Clint Lee, Sara Araujo and Manu Gonzalez adding their own unique sounds. Una Mas then return on the 18th October with Cici and more.
06.10.22 SATORI CLOSING PARTY LINE-UP: Satori SORA Guy Laliberté Clint Lee
07.10.22 WE’RE HERE – PABLO FIERRO LINE-UP: Pablo Fierro Megablast Eribertho Cruz Santiago Garcia Bruz
08.10.22 TRIP LINE-UP: Rhadoo Eclud Tuccillo
10.10.22 LA TROYA CLOSING PARTY LINE-UP: Oscar Colorado Lunnas Franco Moiraghi Felix da Funk Manuel Frias
13.10.22 BOHO BY CAMILO FRANCO LINE-UP: Camilo Franco TBA
14.10.22 WE’RE HERE CLOSING PARTY – PABLO FIERRO LINE-UP: Pablo Fierro FRANCIS MERCIER MOUN JUAN FIERRO
16.10.22 CLUB CHINOIS CLOSING PARTY LINE-UP: IDA ENGBERG LUCIANO CLINT LEE MANU GONZALEZ SARA ARAUJO
18.10.22 UNA MÁS LINE-UP: CICI TBA
22.10.22 TRIP LINE-UP: TBA
29.10.22 TRIP LINE-UP: Tania Vulcano Tuccillo Cesar Vicent Isbel Eclud
31.10.22 HALLOWEEN PERFORMANCE BY LA TROYA LINE-UP: TBA
About Club Chinois:
In Summer 2022, the team behind Park Chinois, London’s most iconic and luxurious Asian restaurant, launched their new high-octane and immersive nightspot Club Chinois. Ibiza’s newest destination concept is housed in the Ibiza Gran Hotel, enticing global music talent and hedonistic souls, where late nights come alive with escapism and adventure.
Radiating in richness, colour and energy, Club Chinois is comprised of golden sculpted columns, opulent textiles, elaborate wall art and sensory surprises around every corner. The sophisticated setting hosts up to 1000 revellers and offers an innovative cocktail list, five-star hospitality and superb service.
Utrecht based duo Micha Heyboer and Jordi van Achthoven have been crafting their computerized soul together since 2013. And even during those early days they were no rookies, having individually honed their skills as part of world renowned drum ‘n bass act Black Sun Empire (Heyboer) and as producer, songwriter and music editor for many artists (Van Achthoven).
All this previous experience showed from day one, resulting in an impressive string of highly mature and deeply emotive tracks. Ever since they began working together they’ve quickly become a household name in the
world of electronic dance music with releases on labels such as Anjunadeep, mau5trap and Armada.
Jordi and Micha’s productions like their song ‘Because You Move Me’ or dancefloor anthems ‘Lost’ and ‘Less Than A Minute’ have racked up millions of streams. Their reworks of Robert Miles, deadmau5, James Zabiela and Reflekt’s iconic ’Need To Feel Loved’ together with their collabs with Ben Böhmer, Lane 8 and Helsloot have become indispensable ingredients for the world’s biggest radio and DJ shows.
Tinlicker will kickstart 2023 with a tour of their brand new LIVE set in Manchester on Feb 3rd 2023.
Electric Ibiza, Jonathan Cowan Productions and the Sagamore Hotel once again collaborate to bring you an unparalleled 5-day pool party series during this year’s influential cultural gathering Art Basel in Miami. Expect carefully curated lineups of the world’s most sought after DJs. They will be performing on a festival style main stage, with full production and special fx, cutting edge audio and visual technology, food outlets, elevated bottle service and enhanced VIP options including pre reserved Tables, Private Cabanas and Beds all serviced by our tentative hospitality team.
All this happens during the iconic Art Basel, a leading global platform connecting collectors, galleries, and artists with an annual event on Miami Beach. It is all about helping grow and develop local and global culture but in a new and contemporary way that transcends the concept of the classic exhibition with a much more open-plan approach and of course some world-class parties.
The always unforgettable events go down at The Sagamore Hotel, an art deco architectural celebration and the centrepiece of Miami beach with a glistening pool and this time even more space to dance, lounge in comfort and soak up the winter sun rays.
Tickets for all parties are now on sale, choose a 5-day pass with re-entry permitted and come and go as you please or a single-day ticket.
While we were travelling there, the festival app warned those already there that heavy rain was expected in the night to Friday. By the time we got there, things had dried up a bit and it was fairly warm, but it was still very cloudy, and the threat of rain was ever present.
The rap group Neonschwarz opened the Blue Stage with a mix of hip-hip, rap and pop. The lead trio had great chemistry on stage with a general vibe of leaving behind responsibilities and chilling in the sun. Not saying I felt seen, but I did feel seen.
Juju took to the stage next with her high energy rap set. At one point the mosh pit opening up cleared most of the space in front of the stage and Juju invited anyone who could do the splits to come demonstrate. Later, during Hi Babe she came down into the pit for high fives. Her song Bling Bling featured a sample from Linkin ParksNumband she performed a medley of her songs which normally have features, said features being played from recordings.
Unfortunately, half the sound was missing for Sondaschule at the start of their set on the Green Stage, the only thing we could hear in the front right was the trombone. They kind of fixed it during the first song, but it still cut out occasionally. The band wore matching black polo shirts with the band logo. Considering that crowd surfing is technically banned at the festival there was a lot of non-band-encouraged crowd surfing, possibly the same guy over and over again. It was great ska set, perfect for dancing and singing along.
Austrian band Wanda all came dressed for different events, one with clear 70s vibes in patterned waistcoat, ripped jeans and tinted glasses, one in a blank tank top and trousers and the lead singer in leather jacket, white shirt and jeans. The lead singer had a very chill yet passionate vibe about him; walking to the side of the stage to get his cigarette lit by a roadie at one point then throwing beers into the crowd and jumping in after at another. The last song seemed to include all crowd activities throughout: a mosh pit opened up near the beginning (promptly leading to the demise of some lost sunglasses), then later half the crowd sat down calmly while a circle pit raged over in one corner.
The sun was setting, and it was impossible not to move during Electric Callboy’s electro/metal fusion set. With pyro, lasers and mosh pits all the way to the back it definitely re-energised everyone for the rest of the night.
Bring me the Horizon followed on the Green stage with a fantastic set picking up the energy where Electric Callboy left off. The stage had a several levels made of screens and several songs were accompanied by two dancers in various costumes including hazmat suits for Parasite Eve and cybermen cheerleaders for Happy Song. Lead singer Oli Sykes came on wearing a skin tight long sleeve shirt and what looked like suit trousers and did a fantastic job hyping up the crowd, inviting people to come crowd surf over for a hug, leading to absolute chaos and a little crowd forming in the pit. The set ended 15 min early, which was a shame as the crowd definitely had more to give. The guy next to me caught a drumstick and was celebrated accordingly by the group around him.
In the interval before the Friday headliners, Kraftklub, the securities distributed water into the crowd, refilling bottles and cups that were passed forwards and back. Kraftklub came on in long black coats over their usual white shirts with red braces, as if to challenge the skies. The skies won, it was tipping it down by the end of the set. Not that that deterred anyone in the crowd. The band bought several new songs, but felt the need to play an old song in exchange for every new song because they didn’t know how the new songs would be received. They really did not have anything to worry about, the fans were with them all the way. Later in the set a fan was invited on stage to spin a wheel to decide between an old song, a new song of a three-minute cigarette break, a task that I would find far too stressful. The old song won but after enough crowd vocalising, they played another new song too. While encouraging mosh pits, frontman, Felix, also made sure everyone was ok and back up as well as specifically decrying people using mosh pits as an opportunity to molest people and called for anyone doing so to be reported to the securities.
We woke up to the continued patter of rain on the tent and several mysterious wet spots. Was it us flopping soaked into the tent last night? Is the tent leaking? Who is to say. It’s been so long I’d forgotten this part of festivals. Luckily the drizzle was light enough we could still have cereal and make coffee.
Marching band Moop Mama played the Blue Stage dressed all in red. The front mad thanked everyone for being here so early in the morning. It was 13:30. However the vibe was one of drowsy, content dancing in the mud across the field. There was a range of footwear choices on show, we had your classic wellies, trainers and bougie shoe covers. But we also had some who opted for barefoot or complicated contraptions of duct tape and binbags. As everyone woke up a bit more things heated up a bit with a big circle pit in the middle. And a two-man circle pit next to me. It was a great, energising way to start the day.
100 Kilo Herz were playing over on the Green Stage with the ever present “punk with trumpets genre” which we know and love. The first 10 minutes of the set were spent sound checking themselves, taking turns to sing and everyone who could hear them raised their hands. Once everything worked, they were off, playing a great set full off heart. During the show, the lead singer explained that he was invited to go to the last Highfield festival with a friend but was struggling too much with depression and financially to bring himself to buy tickets and go. But he wanted to say something cool, so he said he’ll go when he’s playing there. Luckily that worked out and it fantastic to see them perform together. Considering Giant Rooks cancelled for mental health reasons, I think it’s good that people are talking about these kinds of things and will take time out to look after themselves.
Provinz had a whole recording of a song playing before they came on stage. A simple set up, just the band and a banner with their name as backdrop. They still drew a large, enthusiastic crowd though, singing along to pretty much all choruses. Next to me, two girls banded together to lift a dude onto their shoulders for a song.
Donots were filling in for Bad Religion, funnily enough the same as they were in 2018. When frontman Ingo was orchestrating the biggest circle pit™ from within the crowd he chose a woman to lead it because she was wearing a bad religion shirt and was covered in confetti. Turns out she was also the circle pit leader in 2018. Antilopen Gang joined on the stage while Ingo was making his way back over the crowd. They managed to bring the sun back, even though it took up their whole production budget as they claimed. Huge energy and always welcome to fill in for any band.
Kraftklubs front man performed his last festival gig as his solo project Kummer on the Blue Stage. His previous show had to be cancelled during the 2nd song due to extreme weather so it was a good thing Donots stopped the rain in time. The general lighting for his songs was the blue of the album cover, for the Kraftklub songs he performed the stage changed to red and for Alles Wird Gut the stage was bathed in yellow. Provinz’s frontman came to sing on the latter. It’s a shame the project is over, but I’m very glad to get the chance to see it live after waiting since 2020 to do so.
Annenmaykantereit were the second to last act on the Green Stage, and while very very popular, you could argue that it’s a little low energy for a sub-headliner slot. As the masses moved over from Kummer they could hear the Annenmaykantereit set starting and got frustrated at the speed at which they could leave the crowd, luckily, they vented some of that frustration by singing along. It was a beautiful set that had people swaying together arm in arm with their neighbours. There were tearful hugs and long kisses in the crowd, it was very emotional. At the end, the crowd threw flowers into the crowd, some of which were gifted back to the security guards who stuck them in their hats. Immaculate vibes all round.
I’d seen Deichkind from further back in the crowd at a previous festival, so knew it was worth getting there early for a good spot. I was not disappointed. The absolutely chaotic energy of the show defies description. It started off with the band behind a white sheet, lit from behind as the beat built up gradually and sporadically. Several choreographed dance routines later things descended into (amongst other things too weird to put into words) office chair races, mini trampoline intervals and a giant barrel filled with the band being pushed through the crowd before the front row got a generous amount of alcohol via several tubes. It was a spectacle that I would recommend to anyone if they get the chance. The set also included a new song that had been teased in trailers on the stage screens throughout the intervals of the festival, which was cool, it was more of a lyrics than beat based song, still very good though. A chance to slow down for a bit. There was a kid next to me in the crowd and it was great to see that the securities made sure he and his parents knew how to get their attention if the crowd got a bit rowdier. The securities in general were fantastic during the show, cheering the crowd on and singing along themselves.
The sensible thing would have been to go to bed when we finally got back to the tent after 2am. HOWever. We could hear the Beach Stage playing absolute bangers from our tent. So that was the obvious choice. Also, sand is great for removing mud from shoes, right?
Sunday morning was the first time it felt safe to put clothes up to dry and the ground was solid enough to walk on barefoot. We could hear Casper and Broilers sound checking in the distance which only increased the anticipation for the day.
I headed over to Kaffkiez who were filling in for Montreal who were filling in for Turbostaat. The band was one of my recent spotify discoveries and were well worth the effort of heading over a little early. The crowd was a consistent mosh pit and it was a fantastic way to start the day.
Afterwards we headed to the beach for a swim as the sun was clearly trying to make up for something. Vaguely refreshed we headed back to see Montreal who played the last Highfield in 2019. Their set included a few covers, including one from an album they had recorded over lockdown, celebrating bands that don’t exist anymore. Madsen’s drummer joined for one song, while their own drummer went and had the front row’s beer.
For a bit of lighter sunshine dancing, Joris was the perfect choice on the Blue Stage. The singer songwriter was accompanied by a large band and performed a song on only instruments made out of drinking glasses or bottles.
Back to a little more chaos, Die Orsons filled in for You and Me at Six. One of the four at the front had a fish on his belt, which I don’t think was ever explained. They share the stage with an inflatable winged shrimpy-seahorse creature which flailed wildly for some songs. There was wild waving of whatever-you-had-on-you and asking everyone to put on their mobile phone light in broad daylight.
Leoniden were surprisingly rowdy on stage for their music. Kicking over cymbals and wildly swinging guitars, the energy rubbed off on the crowd as the set went on. The percussion stand was taken into the crowd at one point, who made room for the drummer to come in, but he did have to crowd surf back, clasping it between his legs for dear life. The band covered Watershed by Giant Rooks as a tribute since they could not make it due to mental health reasons which was a lovely gesture.
Clueso’s set was stopped after a few songs due to an approaching storm when he last played at Highfield in 2017. This year he thankfully managed to get through the whole set. He was accompanied by a band including a brass trio which gave all the songs a funk spin. Great for dancing. The set span Clueso’s catalogue, with a wonderful rendition of Cello, the intro ironically played on trumpet. There was the usual everyone-sitting-down crowd antics, but this time everyone got up in a wave, back to front. That was a new one to me and genuinely felt link when you’re in the sea and a wave builds up towards you. As one of the mosh pits opened, a girl, having misunderstood the assignment, sat down in the middle to start rowing. Luckily her friend pulled her up just in time for the mosh pit to collide. The group I was standing with managed to reunite a gentleman with his wallet as he dropped it while walking past, so our good deed for the weekend was also ticked off.
Casper followed Clueso on the Blue stage and the crowd stayed pretty full between the acts, normally things did empty out a bit more. Casper appears to have lightened up a little since his last album where the general vibe was barbed wire, angst and nihilism. Instead, the new album has a more flowery, hopeful feel. The stage was covered by a pink curtain before the show and opened to reveal a meadow of flowers across the front. I loved the way the way the spotlight shone through the colourful petals. The set was divided into three acts, each being introduced on the screens with a single word and a dictionary definition. The acts were “doubt”, “rage” and “hope the songs that followed shared those themes. There was a beautiful crowd chorus at the end of Hinterland, with Casper directing the two sides of the crowd, playing them off against each other to see who could be the loudest. Clearly our side won.
Broilers were stepping into the headliner slot for Limp Bizkit who couldn’t make it. The stage was covered with a black banner proclaiming “Nobody left behind” while If the kids are united by Sham 69 was playing. The excitement was building. Then the banner dropped, and we were off. 90 minutes of punk bliss followed. Continuous mosh and circle pits. Crowd surfing. It was fantastic. The crowd etiquette was on point, people protecting anyone when needed to bend down to tie shoes or look for something. Helping each other up before falling over together. It was a wonderful way to end the weekend and definitely a much need catharsis after three years of abstinence.
We started our drive home after the headliners, being directed out onto the road by security guards with glow sticks. It was incredibly smooth and well managed, and we were out in no time. Every rest stop we stopped at for the next 4 hours had a gentle trickle of tired, happy people with Highfield shirts and wristband trickled in for supplies and toilet breaks.
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend at a much-missed festival. The organisation was great, the bands were clearly having a great time being back and the crowds welcomed them with enthusiasm. I can say with, with considerable confidence: Same time next year?