Reviewed: Noisily Festival 2022
Noisily is the enchanted forest, the mystical realm entered through towering trees. It invites you into a whimsical world, covered head to two in hues of pink and purple, bonfires glowing orange, and light projections mirroring the blues and greens of nature. Everywhere you turn is another gifted live artist, fairy-like light displays hidden in the branches, psychedelic stages, iridescent doorways leading to another stage and above all, the clear, well-orchestrated sound. Experiencing the enigma of noisily is to dive into a sensory experience; sounds, lights, artwork, and nature. Here you will find everything that creates one of the most magical places around.
The first night is mellow, you walk around the Mind, Body and Soul section, welcomed by warming hands. You can experience food from all over the world, whilst a life-size bus with light projections beams in the middle, playing some funky, disco, summery house. Through the trees, you can experience only a taste of the forest, with the rest hidden away for Friday’s reveal. In the small opening that you can access is a line of bespoke, hand-crafted items, and shops from around the UK, hosted by smiling faces. Further into the area is a bohemia of bell tents, flowers and a clan of dancers and musicians gathered around a fire pit. With the orange glows of the fire sparks in the sky, the top of the trees decorated with purple and red up-lighting set an incredible, otherworldly atmosphere. It is difficult not to get sucked into the trance of the music and feel the anticipation of the fellow creatures of Noisily. Without a doubt, one of the most eclectic, dreamlike starts to a festival…and it was only the beginning of the Noisily world.
The Friday started with blazing sunshine, the woodlands opened their flora-filled arms and we explored the inside of the magnificent Coney Woods. The woods were dripping head to toe in psychedelic mandalas lit up in the branches, performers filling the crowds with magic, stunts, poi and playful interactions, and sunlight hitting the disco balls – the artistry of the festival was immersive and arguably one of the most exciting, imaginative displays of art I have ever seen in a festival.
Friday held a playful atmosphere in the day, where you see actors playing cavemen, interacting with members of the public, and setting the earthly and organic scene. The was music coming from every corner of the woodlands, from soulful world music, to the capricious sounds of psytrance; no matter what mood you were in you would find a happy place. Walking into the depths of the woodlands you find the Liquid stage, where the platform was decorated with a DNA, Honeycomb-type frame, with ever-moving and changing mandala projections, hypnotizing you with the beats of the music. The noises of happy festival-goers were accompanied by trippy tunes from the surround sound speakers, flowing throughout the forest floors. Looking up, you would find slackliners as high as the tree tops, bouncing and moving with the shapes of nature, taking your breath away with the illusion of them in the clouds.
You could hear the sounds of cavemen as performers took to the crowds, playing with members of the public and staying in the character of the Neanderthals. These earthly people were an accessory to the beautiful sounds of Audley who created the ideal atmosphere during their set on the Liquid stage during the day, from tinkling delicate melodies, to bouncing trance, they showcased their musical finesse. Dancing in the summer heat to his set was the perfect start to our adventures, and this was only a taste of what was to come.
As night came on the first evening, we were drawn like a fly to the flame to Monrollers set at the Leisure Center. A smaller, more intimate stage hidden between two bridges hosted some of the naughtiest and booming Drum & Bass. Monrollers’ exciting style on the decks was enticing us in accompanied by the blue and green dancing lasers falling from the stage. His set was full of big booming basslines and exciting rollers.
Moving into Saturday, we were once again greeted with the heat of the sunshine, encouraging our journey into the shade of the woodlands. As we walked deeper into the woodlands we were greeted by the strong wooden structure of the Nook Stage. Taking your shoes off and dancing in the dust of the floor, with frozen (and affordable!) cocktails in hand was unbeatable. Moving in the shadows of the trees, and feeling sunbeams shining down on you is one of the few treats the forest offer to us. Lucid Stannard played a happy, funky set and it was pleasing to see a good representation of females on the lineup. Prancing around in the sun to her energetic beats was a beautiful way to start the day.
As the evening came, we were drawn towards a huge glistening disco ball hanging in the trees, marking the dance floor of the Noisily Stage with speckles of light. The sounds of Lampe’s cheeky, electronic sounds echoed around us, triangular lanterns seem to hang in thin air, accompanied by hands down the most inventive, creative and unforgettable laser displays I have ever seen in my life. The lasers travelled sideways, creating an ocean of lights above the audience in a holographic state. They moved like water and flowed with their own life and danced in the air above us, forming shapes and progressing with the music. It captured the essence of the festival as a whole, from ocean hues to floral themes, the lasers covered the sky in a magical exhibit of nature, light, and art. The lasers were framed by the huge pyramid structures which were also covered in trippy light projections caressing the crooks of the wood.
Searching for a break from the non-stop dancing we had found ourselves in we followed the Oo’s and Aa’s of a not-so-distant crowd, where we came across a darker version of Alice in Wonderland – fire performers dressed in all the characters, with Cheshire cats in hoops, and mad hatters with fire sticks flying through their arms. The faces of the crowd were lit up by the bellowing fire blown from the circus performers, playing with fire like it was a dancing partner.
I couldn’t miss the breakbeat trickling from the Treehouse Stage, as we watched the incredible sounds of Fixate followed by Skeptical. As expected, both of the sets were filled with the tastiest jungle, blinding breakbeats and techy Drum & Bass. The Treehouse stage had lights illuminating from the middle, which was a wooden build with lights in arrows projecting off of the center, drawing eyes in and making the faces of the crowd glow. Even at night, you could see the insane forms of the décor and my hat goes to the stage builders for the whole festival, they were intricate and inventive use of nature’s materials and light. Their flawless sets were nothing short of all the breaky goodness you need on an excitable Saturday night – It felt impossible to leave the area for either of their sets and was a huge highlight of the festival for the Drum & Bass scene. You couldn’t help but join in the cheers of appreciation coming from the other dimly lit smiles of the crowd.
Finally, on our way back to the camp we couldn’t help by swing by for the funky sounds of Adop+ who was shelling it out until the early hours of the morning from inside of an intimate and cheerful tent of the Parliament of Funk stage.
Sunday, once again the sun greeted us in the early hours, encouraging us to make the most of the day at Noisily. We fell to the spell of the forests once again, exploring every nook and cranny that Coney Woods had to offer. The atmosphere of the beautiful festival was not only down to the staging and the music, but it was without a doubt one of the friendliest, safest experiences of a festival. From the security, to the festival goers, there was a huge feeling of unity and openness, no judgement was made, no shoes were worn, and nothing but warm smiles all around.
Exploring the art, watching the magic performers and devouring the delicious food was a highlight of the Sunday daytime, but as it fell into Twilight, and the woods began to irradiate hues of the rainbow into the trees, we found ourselves firmly set into the hypnosis of the trance playing from the Liquid stage. Altered State drew us into the sunset with his alluring beats and sent us into our own altered state. Wondering around the woodlands and making the most of all the stages, we travelled to the Noisily stage where John Digweed formed a seamless set full of euphoric house and dreamlike trance. The music floated with the stunning light display, with each laser hitting the disco ball in the middle creating stars around the woods and on our faces, another example of the exquisite detail in the festival’s art décor. DJ Storm’s signature style soon came to the speakers towards the night at the Treehouse stage, drawing us in for another faultless set. Her old skool, heavy tune selection has reigned over the Drum & Bass world for years and it comes as no surprise – you can taste her expertise through the vibrations of the speakers. From heavy rollers to the old skool Metalheadz sound, Storm came by name and by nature – another highlight for the Drum & Bass at the festival. Following suit was next up Ed Rush who closed the stage in style. His fierce tune selection pumped up the audience for one final blowout in the woods, hitting harder drums and dancing to heavier beats felt like the appropriate send-off not only for this 2022 year but for the final year of Coney Woods.
Drawing the festival to a close, we gathered up to the fire bit – as we began, so we ended – where you were welcomed to sit close to the fire, gathered in a tribe of dawn dwellers, with dancing artists and musicians coming together with their drums and guitars. We were taken through chants of an ancient culture and welcomed to join in the songs and play the instruments around us – even if that was a twig and a teacup. The moments around the fire encompassed all that the festival was about – people coming together, in peace, without judgement, to be here now.
An immense and enormous thank you to all those behind Noisily for having us, for giving us that experience and letting us enter that Noisily world – and a huge thank you and goodbye to Coney Woods, for letting us dance and keeping all our festival secrets!
Noisily have released a limited number of Early-Bird tickets and a special 10 Part Deposit Scheme ticket which will allow you to secure your Noisily 2023 ticket for only £20 and pay off the remaining amount with 10 equal monthly payments.
Purchase Tickets here >> https://go.kaboodle.co.uk/Noisily-Festival-2023