Reviewed: One Out Festival 2022
With a love of dance music stretching over 10 years, it will come as no surprise that my DJ hopes and dreams had focused solely on attaining the lofty heights of superstardom that any aspiring artist so desperately craves. As others around me began to ascend the ladder of musical success, my career hadn’t quite lived up to my lofty ambitions. Slowly I began to resign myself to the fact that my DJ skills would forever be confined to empty rooms, dodgy ABBA remixes at weddings and 2-year-old birthday parties (yes I actually did this!)
As the initial shock of lockdown passed and the realisation that this virus was going to indefinitely confine us to the walls of our homes, I decided to use the time as an opportunity to lay the foundations of a hopefully more fruitful DJ career. After landing on a name (Sir Francis if you want to check me out), setting up all my various social accounts and joining the Data Transmission course community, it was time to hit the studio. Long nights plugging away at Ableton finally resulted in some half-decent tunes that I was able to get signed onto some small and mid-tier labels. As lockdown eased and events started to fill the calendar once again it was time to go on the hunt for gigs!
Having created a bucket list of DJ achievements, one of the big stand-out tick boxes for me was “Book A Festival Slot.” First, I compiled a list of all the festivals whose line-up’s matched my style and sound before hopping over to LinkedIn to find out who was running these events and, more importantly, who was booking the artists. As outreach began, imposter syndrome began to set in and my brain kept telling me “No one knows who you are, you will never get booked.” Despite this, I persevered and after a series of ignored and rejected emails, the seemingly impossible yes finally landed in the inbox, simply saying “Happy to look at something for the opening slot on the main stage if you’re up for that?”
The festival in question was One Out Festival in Walton-On-Thames. With a line-up packed full of dance music heavy hitters, my stage would be playing host to the likes of Eats Everything, Sam Divine, Prospa and many more. With the technicalities squared away with the promoter and rider order placed, to say I was bloody excited would be the understatement of the century!
As the 18th June rolled around I grabbed my headphones and drove down to Apps Court Farm for a day filled with four-on-the-floor goodness. The festival had 2 stages with the main stage being in an open-air setting, located towards the back of the site. We walked through the backstage entrance and into the artist tent where we were greeted by the super friendly team before heading up to the stage. Being the first set of the day I was playing to an empty field, but as the gates opened and crowds began to trickle in I was able to draw in a small crowd who seemed to be enjoying my set of disco and vocal house. Getting the chance to play on a main stage level sound system alongside awesome production really was a dream come true. You envision these sorts of moments standing in your bedroom waving your hands in the air but to actually be doing it for real was a rush like no other!
As the next DJ took over I headed backstage to hang out in the artist area to do some networking and struck up a conversation with AmyElle. She had played an unreleased tune of mine a few months back on Kiss FM after sending it to her promo email. We spoke about her rise to fame, and how she utilised social media for her career and gave me some tips on where to go next as an artist. Throughout the day I made a point of going up and chatting to every DJ I knew and quizzing them about their careers and the steps they took to get to where they are today. In a world where everything is going digital, as an up-and-coming DJ, these personal interactions are still so invaluable. With numbers and emails exchanged I made sure to follow up with everyone and now have a link to some of the biggest names in the game.
No festival would be complete without watching some live music, so we headed over to watch the professionals do what they do best. A personal highlight from the day was Latmun, who played one of the grooviest tech house sets I have heard in while, all layered with infectious vocals that really had the crowd moving. Prospa also deserve a special mention, with their anthemic hands-in-the-air catalogue of music it’s easy to see how this duo has risen to the top so quickly.
As the sun disappeared the rain began to set in but this could not dampen the spirits of the crowd as headliner Eats Everything stepped up to close the main stage with a blending of house, old school rave and disco. For a final surprise, Easts headed over to stage 2 for an unscheduled B2B with a blurry-eyed Skream, giving the crowd something unexpected and providing the perfect end to the festival.
One Out was truly special and massive thanks goes out to the team for giving me a chance to come down and play, hopefully in a few year’s time I will be topping the bill! If this sounds like your kind of thing tickets are on sale now for 2023 so grab your today and I will see you on the dancefloor.
One Out Festival 2023 ticket sign up can be found here!