Gottwood Festival Reviewed


You heard it here first. I lost my Gottwood virginity this year to Chapter Four of the Welsh escapade and boy was it good. 

The fun started early Thursday morning with a short hike to the train station for our marathon of a train journey that would take us 6 hours across the country to the Isle of Angelsey and the Carreglwyd Forest. On arrival, it felt like youd just fallen into a fairy tale. At night the forest canopy was lit up with various coloured flood lights and patterned spotlights dancing off the leaves. The music on Thursday night only took place over two of the festival’s 5 stages but the party still went off, setting high standards for the rest of the weekend. The night was an eclectic mix of garage, house and techno with TCTS and Jigsaw at the Boxford Caravan taking the party on till the wee hours of the morning. 

Waking up on Friday (afternoon) to glorious sunshine was a blessing. The forecast had predicted rain all weekend but for once the weathermen were wrong and it didnt rain on the seas of glittered up ravers until late that night. Friday saw the coming of a majority of the crowds and the festival was a lot livelier that night with 4 of the 5 stages being opened. Zoo Look and Detroit Swindle knew how to get the crowd early on in the evening at the Apogee stage but Extrawelt really drew in the rain embracing crowds that night at The Wild Things stage with the crowd even spilling up onto the 10ft hay bales that enclosed the area. Venturing into the RFID dome on Friday to catch the end of Crazy P was a deeply immersive experience where their disco and soul infused sounds were kindly complimented by the shimmering, psychedelic visuals that graced the roof of the Walled Garden stage. 

Saturday brought with it yet more sunshine and upon waking up at lunchtime once more I ventured down to the arena to get some food. Despite the size of the festival there was something for everyone, be it curried goat, and extravagant bagel or a simple toastie. That afternoon East London reggae stars General Roots graced the High and Dry stage next to the extremely inviting lake and got the lazy crowd up on their feet for some afternoon boogie time.

As the night drew in the music shifted from chilling in the sun vibes to party time. With Strategy hosting The Barn you knew it was going to be a good party and with a line up of garage, drum and bass and dubstep from the like of Chimpo and Marcus Intalex it was a refreshing change from the house and techno for those that wanted to get their skank on. Over at the Wild Things stage however, the music had also taken a more funky turn and Eton Messy had produced a line-up of very high standards with Pedestrian and Maribou State taking to the turntables to keep the woodland party going on into the early hours.

Unlike a lot of festivals there was never a sense of urgency throughout the weekend. You could buy a programme for 1 if you wanted but to be honest there wasnt a lot of point, as you were more encouraged to explore the forest and smaller underground bookings that Gottwood is famed for. But dont take smaller bookings as a bad thing. All of the artists across the weekend had something to bring to the decks and all put down well alongside the various headliners that graced the welsh woodland. 

For me, Sunday was an extremely relaxed day spent avoiding the wind and rain that had finally made it across from Ireland, however from what Ive heard the Nixwax boys put on quite a show down at the lake that day. A two hour set from Bicep that night was an extremely fitting (and good) close to what Id call the UKs best kept secret, hidden away from all the trendy kids and space stealing shufflers. Lets just hope they dont get wind of this years hype and stay put in their London daytime festivals for next year too. 

Below are some more pictures for those that enjoy that kind of thing!