Sunrise Festival: Another World 2013

Art & Culture

Sunrise returned in 2013 titled Another World, the Festival Micronation. This was my third time at the hyper-green festival and I found myself getting into the familiar Sunrise spirit pretty quickly. There is a unique vibe and energy that glows at this festival, from the relatively chilled campsite through the Customs Portal to an aberrant mixture of tents, stalls, music and the occasional nudist.

Driving down the M3 in the pouring rain was a little worrying as last year was a total washout by all accounts. Luckily I managed to skip last year but had heard some pretty wet and muddy tales. We arrived and managed to get the tent up in the rain, quickly heading out for a cider and some shelter. My worries about the weather quickly disappeared as the clouds made way for 4 days of glorious sunshine.

This years festival was at the new site ‘Thoulstone Park’, apparently a former golf course according to some of the locals. It was a beautiful site with a lake and large open fields and endless rolling hills dotted with lambs into the distance.

Sunrise 2013 felt more than ever a family festival. During the day there was a good mix of chilled areas, plenty of activities for the kids – including a post-apocalypse den building workshop (you never know!), lessons on starting fire with just two sticks of wood, facepainting and willow weaving. Meanwhile music plays out from the bars and tents, ranging from Mongolian folk music to beat-boxing-drum-and-bass to orchestras of violins and banjos.

One thing hasnt changed since its inception and thats the green living theme that runs throughout the festival. Even on day 2 the floor was almost entirely clear of litter despite there being just a couple of landfill bins. There are many recycling points throughout though, with at least 12 sub-bins in each – really made you think how much we could be recycling at home but don’t. The site runs at least partially on solar panels and tents are full recycled furniture. Its no surprise this has one of, if not the lowest carbon footprints of any festival.

The bars serve an excellent range of ales and the familiar Sunrise lager of choice Freedom Lager. The cider selection is surprisingly limited, I can only remember seeing the one (the name escapes me) and it wasn’t my cup of tea/cider.

As for the food, I dont think anything tops Sunrise for quality. Despite being primarily vegetarian and vegan focused (much like the crowd!) there was a great selection of food. The highlights for me were the Glastonbury wood-fired pizzas, the veggie curries and most of all the Gilcombe Farm Hog Roast. Gilcombe Farm was the previous site for Sunrise and I was slightly worried they wouldnt be on the new site this year but luckily they were and I managed to fit 3 (maybe 4) Hog Roast rolls in over the 4 days.

At night the festival sparkles with lights and music, some of which are powered off the solar power from the days sun. Huge glowing lights that look like tulips tower above the festival while fairy lights and lasers roll along the paths of the fields.

Slightly off path of the main site was an ominous looking devil’s mouth that formed a gateway to the Underworld, this was the main dance arena which peaked during the evening into the night (or 2am, when the last record ends). The music wasnt really up my street – a mixture of Psytrance, Breaks, the odd splash of jump-up DnB. However, being in the Sunrise spirit and the utterly great mood which comes with this I had no shame in getting down to some Breaks in the Ghetto-Funk tent for a good couple of hours before stumbling on to see Zetan-Spore blast out trance to a temple of bare-footed ravers. The decor in the Psytrance temple is mesmerizing, with a mixture of butterflies and mushrooms and lasers filling the ceiling. Finally off to the tent next door, Terminal-2, where we managed to catch a bit of Drum & Bass on the last night – actually quite refreshing after 3 days of Trance & Breaks!

The best acts of the festival for me were The Freestylers and Krafty Kuts, both back-to-basics sets with just a couple of turntables and incredible scratching and cutting skills. There was also some fun Dub/Ska music during the day at the main stage. Never did much planning on what to see but there was always something fun and different going on that you’d easily stumble into.

For me, Sunrise isn’t about the music though. It’s the amazing energy, the non-judgmental environment, and the many interesting people you meet and start conversation with. At Sunrise the inner-hippie in us all can be set free… you’ll find it impossible not to bring a little bit home with you.

Special Earlybird Tickets for Sunrise 2014 are on sale now at Bristol Ticket Shop