Reviewed: Noisily Festival 2019
As Noisily enters its 8th year, the pressure is on. It’s no longer a gathering for 450 like-minded friends having it large over the weekend like it was back in 2012. It’s now a fully-fledged festival for 5,800 high flyers from all walks of life and around the world. They’re either coming to experience it for themselves after seeing and hearing so much great stuff about it or coming back to settle their voracious minds and appetites…and we’re all still having it large.
All the kinks expected at a festival in its infancy have long been ironed out. The festival is now in full dinner jacket mode and just needs a change of shirt to keep it fresh each year. The metamorphosis to butterfly has truly come to fruition. This was my 3rd year in a row at Noisily and let me tell you, the expectations were all there. How could it better than my 1st year here and 2nd year here? Haven’t I seen it all by now? How much shock value could there really be? What was new this year? Read on to find out more.
We kick off festivities with the Warm Up DJs who we love for their funky, progressive beats which swell up airpower for a magnificent journey take off. They always deliver varied and colourful sets, full of new discoveries and beloved classics, and their Friday daytime set at Noisily was no exception.
Arriving at the Noisily stage for the set felt like walking into a house filled with friends and family; a cosy, yet bright setting of natural wooden geometry, full of familiar smiles and faces. This 3-hour auditory expedition left us drenched in that gooey warm festival tingle from head to toe. It was a majestic spectacle to see Aidan Doherty, Jorge Martins and Gus Emmett connect and play in front of such a large and solidified crowd, who all knew each other from the Warm Up event series in London. A special mention from Aidan regarding the catchy arpeggiator progressive anthem he played, ‘Felina’ by Lexer.
In his own words: ‘It puts an uncontrollable smile on my face, and when I’m smiling, I’m happy. The uplifting chords really encourage feelings of joy and optimism’
Another ear-filtrating track highlighted by Jorge was ‘Warning’ by D-Nox & Beckers.
In his own words: ‘Just pure adrenaline and euphoria’ of which there was no shortage of on that sunny day!
Gus picked out the afro disco track ‘Ti Chuong’ (Musumeci Supernatural Remix) by Emmanuel Jal & Nyaruach as a favourite from his set.
In his own words: ‘Summer summed up in under 6 minutes. For me, this record has it all!’
It was a true blessing to see how music can unite and integrate a community which supports and represents one another, whether it be in the city or in the woods. This was literally the most cohesive and energy-packed segment of the festival and seeing the sticky magic the Warm Up crew was able to leave on the dance floor was pure bliss.
After ungluing ourselves from the Noisily stage we head back to basecamp to refuel and change into our evening attire. We then return to the Noisily stage to catch Extrawelt’s live set. The crowd is in full melt mode as they lay down gnarly tracks of theirs like ‘Pink Panzer’.
After an hour of technihilation, my festival crew decide that we need a breather to some slightly less intense music, so we head to Noisily’s newest stage addition, the Nook. I was really impressed with the use of this space this year. It’s intimate, providing a nice middle ground somewhere between The Leisure Centre and other stages and worked symbiotically with the shamanic tribal house grooves played throughout the weekend. My festival crew had some lush get down moments here and I really hope it becomes a permanent fixture. Timanti and Olaf Stuut took us on a 4-hour journey. Relive the moments with Timanti’s full recorded set here.
Can’t wait to catch Timanti’s next Tribelife event in London soon. Olaf ended the journey with one of my favourite chillout tracks ‘Les Fleurs’ by Minnie Ripperton. A perfect close to the Friday!
P.S. I got in touch with Olaf and his favourite track from the set was ‘King Crab’ by The Native Language, which has truly ambiguous origins if the YouTube description is anything to go by.
In his own words: ‘A deep, dark and groove-based tune’.
For Saturday, I had booked the Earth Mamma Essential Oils Lounge in the Mind, Body and Soul area for my other half as I know she’s really into that stuff. This year Noisily made the excellent decision to move this entire area into the woods and it worked a treat. Seeing the fountain as you entered was a true spectacle to behold and the fire pit was a great congregation point for all. The session was run by dōTERRA ambassador Paulina Hutchinson, a busy mother of three protecting her family with the most powerful and natural use of essential oils. She explained how essential oils are the immune system of plants and how to harness different plant oils to treat different symptoms we may suffer from, providing a much more natural route to recovery. My other half found the workshop incredibly informative, but most importantly supportive. She got to try all sorts of top quality, ethically sourced oil potions and even made her own, that she got to take home with her!
Re-united, we then headed down to the Bonobo Feast that I had also booked in advance. The last 2 years I’ve been, the feast was easily one of the highlights of the whole weekend and I couldn’t wait to indulge in it again, especially with my other half. Let me tell you, it doesn’t get better than an immersive fine dining experience in the woods! However, this was a major disappointment this year. Whilst sustainability is at the core of Noisily and imperative in the age we live in, we both paid £22 and ended up sitting in an open tent, which anyone could walk through, and got some conservationist telling us how when Bonobo monkeys have excess food they’ll share it with other Bonobo monkeys they don’t know to get a companion and gain social power. The talk was followed by those in attendance having to feed each other raw vegetables, hummus and chopped up Tesco’s basic chocolate. All I can say is move the sustainability talk to the Mind, Body and Soul area and bring back the luxurious feast for those that want to pimp out their food Noisily!
After the ‘feast’ we then went to eat properly with our festival crew. Suitably satiated by curry, pakoras and wraps served up by Vegan Soul Food, we bee-line to the Noisily stage. We arrive just in time to catch the start of Audley’s set. As one of the founders of the festival, he ups the ante of the Funktion-One sound system, showcasing the full audible force it can deliver and lays down some of his own productions to a crowd who are absolutely ‘avin’ it. Doing a set surrounded by family, at a festival of your making, whilst the sun is setting. Does life get better than this? Holi powder is being thrown everywhere, bubbles filled with smoke float through the air and tribe performers are enticing the crowd. The show had BEGUN!
On a brief interlude, we decide to grab some cocktails. Me and my other half have tequila sunsets which have a spicy kick, are filled with delicious strawberries, covered in gold dust and finished off with sour sweets, hitting a deluxe gustatory home run. We take a moment to observe the beautiful and artistic surroundings whilst the woodland evolves during the transition from day to night.
Drinks in hand we head right back into the vortex that is the Noisily stage to enjoy the mesmerising set by Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy also known as System 7. A stand out in my mind is ‘XTC’ by DJ Koze.
After an hour of ambient electronica, me and my other half split off from our festival crew. We fancy a slightly different musical flavour and head down to the Parliament of Funk stage where Beating Heart presents Saronde is on. I have a chat with the co-founder of Beating Heart, Olly Wood, as I’m completely blown away by the tracks he’s playing and he tells me about his incredible project. They’re giving a whole new lease of life to tape recordings made by the renowned ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey. He made over 35,000 recordings, across 18 countries, of African folk music between the 1920’s and 1970’s and these are now being sampled and remixed by contemporary producers to make fresh sounds for a modern audience; Goldie, Kidnap Kid, Jimpster, Luke Vibert, Machinedrum, Dismantle, My Nu Leng, Applebottom, GotSome and Sailor & I to name just a few. Do your ears a favour and check out the project here.
We encounter a crew who are completely and utterly absorbed by my other half’s dancing and magical fans. She gives all 3 of them a go, but the smallest one shakes them like her life depends on it. I mean her body is shaking more than the fans. Is she cooling the fans down? It is pure joy to watch. To the FAN GURLSSS from Yorkshire…you were sick and made my other half’s night. The heat is on with the afro house licks being played. It starts raining and no shits are given. Rudimental really did ‘The Work’ by Saronde justice with this remix which was my favourite track from the set and find from the weekend. It went OFF!
Flame wings on, we head back to the Noisily stage and re-unite with our festival crew for the pinnacle of Noisily which is the Saturday night headline act, and what better treat this year than the dynamic duo Chris Williams and Ben Coda also known as Nanoplex. If anything was certain and refreshingly easy to coordinate, it was that all of our expansive Noisily family were going to be here. As we identified ourselves and assembled in the collective aggregate, we were catalysed to new auditory consciousness through Nanoplex’s deep and pulsating soundscapes which unlocked and propelled our harnessed will to celebrate the love and unity which had been beamingly growing and manifesting in our minds, bodies and souls in the days leading up to this climactic sonic showdown. The slow progressive build of the opening track ‘But It’s Inevitable’ from their ‘Broken Britain’ EP was the perfect kick starter track, setting the groove and anticipation of things to come.
Nanoplex delivered an ethereal and uplifting set full of resounding melodies, salivatory basslines and groovy progressive tech backbones, which will be forever engrained in our hearts.
The Sunday at Noisily is a much more chilled out affair as would be expected after the 2-day raveathon. Once we’ve all finally arisen and refreshed ourselves, we head down to the Nook to see Lucid Stannard. The music is slightly slower tempo tribal than on previous days, which is just what the doctor ordered for recovery. We spend a large chunk of time here jamming, sitting on hay stacks that surround the area, chatting to strangers and getting lost in the moment. This is all made easier to the soundtrack of trippy leftfield numbers like ‘Habanera’ by Shield & Robytek.
In her own words: ‘I loved playing this remix of that song in the opera Carmen simply because there is nowhere else I could have played it!’
We grab some cocktails before heading to the Noisily stage for Beth Lydi. She’s playing bassy filthy goodness and EVERYONE is loving it. We stay and dance for the whole set, which was easily my favourite on the Sunday. She closes with the Andreas Henneberg remix of ‘4eva Baby’ by Kolombo and the whole crowd wiles out!
In her own words: ‘It’s one of my absolute favourite tracks at the moment and has a very intense and fierce energy that I love, and of course, sick synths are one of my favourite components in a track’.
Me and my other half decide to end our Noisily journey with some indulgent rejuvenation. We head down to the Mind, Body and Soul area to do some meditation in the Hypnosis Lounge. John Vincent, the owner of Hypnosis Land, welcomes us warmly and offers us a menu. We opt for ‘Pure Relaxation’ and ‘Gratitude’, enter the tee-pee, lie flat on our backs on some dreamy bean bags and close our eyes. After 30 minutes, we’re both feeling more centred and decide to give the relaxation some welly by booking ourselves a SOAK hot tub dip. The sun is setting in the woods, the DJ is playing down tempo electronica, lasers are painting the trees in a 360-degree fashion and we lavish every moment whilst dissolving completely in the piping hot water.
And that was Noisily Festival 2019.
Noisily Festival continues to astound me year after year. The community, the music, the vibes, NO-ONE does it better. It’s like a game of chess you just can’t lose. Everyone has the same pieces to play with, but each person plays and wins in their own unique way. What you’ve read is just 1 strategy. Multiply that by 5,800 heads and you’re getting somewhere. This is why it’s one of the best festivals in the UK. Hope to see you next year peeps. Game on!
Do yourself a favour and buy 2020 tickets on your next payday. Your future self won’t regret it! Get tickets here
Additional text written by Michael Kuba, Antonia Campbell-Evans and Lucy Swann