A selection of the Waveform Transmitter crew headed down the road to Malpas, Cholmondeley Castle Estate to be precise, for five days of fun at one Tribe Festival. Here is a collection of their thoughts.
Those of us at the Waveform office were particularly excited when August 3rd came around and it wasn’t pissing down. The reason being we were all headed off to One Tribe festival, on the Cholmondeley Castle Estate in Malpas, Cheshire, for five days of hilarity interspersed with a music programme to die for.
The event was all in aid of the Green Paws Project, a charity that works hard to ensure the welfare of mistreated animals in third-world countries. Such a deserving benefactor meant that even the most hardened meat eaters forewent their usual protein sources in favour of vegan alternatives.
As the following accounts will prove, we were not to be disappointed, as the festival gave us all we could ask for and more. Without further ado, take a look at what Ste Knight, Andy Weights, Rob Draper, Daniel James, Paddy Hooley, and Helen Wilson (who provided all this lovely pictorial coverage) thought of the event.
Arrival at festivals, in my experience, is always a convoluted experience. You arrive, you queue for three hours (normally while it is raining – thank you British summer) and then you eventually make it into the festival to pitch up and get partying.
Nothing like this at One Tribe. Oh no. We parked up, had our wristbands within 15 minutes and within another 30 we were ready to rock and roll, tents up and rum on the go. This serves as testament to the organisational skills of the people behind Audio Farm, as the accreditation tent never seemed to have an unreasonably long line in waiting.
Already we could hear that quintessential thudding of a distant kick drum, beckoning us to head down into the festival and take a look around. As we had arrived on the Thursday there was a limited program and several of the stages had not yet been opened to the public, however we were glad to be meandering around popping our heads into the various tents and getting our bearings as we were greeted with smiles from friendly faces all around. The atmosphere was already that of a close-knit community, which is perhaps reflected by the tribal element of the festival name.
You want to know what the music was like…right? Well, in my opinion, we were well and truly spoiled in terms of the music on offer. There were a number of stages which catered for everyone over the course of the festival, although most of my time was spent hopping between The Trip, Home of Drum, The Forest Stage, and Depth of Bass venues.
These were the locations that provided everything I needed to ensure my festival experience was one I would never forget. All manner of afferent sights and sounds entered my sensorium which remained sated throughout the whole festival, feeding off the energy not only supplied by the music and visuals, but also by the calming surroundings of the natural environment we were located in.
My first highlight has to be Liverpool’s own 303 boys, Stuart Hodson and Kenny Muir, delivering an outstanding set in the Home of Drum tent on the Friday of the festival. To say they blew the roof off would be a total understatement, as they went in hard right from the off. huge techno breakdowns emanated from the speakers as Muir and Hodson, decked out in more than suitable festival attire (AKA Muir‘s glitterball jacket and Hodson‘s retro ski jacket), brought the crowd to its collective knees.
It must be said that I have left the festival with a new found affinity for psy-trance. While I was in there, The Trip was hosted by Manchester’s IllumiNaughty collective, and it was these who offered some utterly euphoric speedball psy-trance which kept energy levels peaked before we headed over to catch Slam dropping a set peppered with industrial techno. Killer.
DJ Bone played an absolute blinder of a set on the Saturday night going into Sunday morning. Huge techno beats were billowing out of the Home of Drum stage as though Bone was forging them in some sort of sonic blast furnace. I said I was looking forward to seeing him and he certainly didn’t disappoint. What a selector.
One of the standout artists from Sunday afternoon has to be Sam Watson. The Freerotation DJ absolutely slayed the Forest crowd with a techno set that well and truly placed him in my top three acts of the weekend. Pulling out some really heavy bass and beats, the young DJ was an excellent example of why we shouldn’t ignore our homegrown talent. His set was full of dynamic, powerful techno that saw the entire crowd cutting spasmodic shapes that even Michael Jackson would struggle to choreograph. Nice one to fellow festival goers Marc and Beth who put us onto Sam.
By far the most outstanding artist at the festival, for me, was Juan Atkins. His set was nothing short of exemplary and served to illustrate exactly why he is considered one of the founding fathers of techno, and is the reason why he is my pick for our top five acts from One Tribe. I’ll explain more later on in the article, but safe to say, any artist that can keep me dancing for two hours straight on day four of a festival deserves the accolade of best act over the five days.
One final thing definitely worth a mention is the fact that, due to the small 2000 capacity on the festival, nothing ever felt horribly busy. There was always plenty of room to dance, and even when acts like DJ Bone and Juan Atkins were pulling crowds into the tent, there was still plenty of space to jack. Small, intimate festivals like this deserve a lot of support, especially when they’re pulling in the calibre of acts we saw over the five days. One thing is for sure, I know exactly who’ll be getting my vote for Best New Festival…
– Ste Knight, Editor.
From the top to the bottom, One Tribe festival shook us, it stirred us and it rekindled forgotten fires in our souls, it showed us not only a different side to ourselves but to others as well. It not only made me dance ‘till my legs and feet felt like they belonged to a weary camel, but soothed and healed me with an age-old understanding of community, sharing and the importance of having fun!
The festival was a five-day marathon From the 3rd August until 7Th August 2017 In the historic grounds of Cholmondeley Castle Estate in Cheshire. Electronic music spewed from sound systems like The tripper in the Home of Drum stage which was witness to many fantastic sets from an array of DJs from exciting new talent to the established elite.
The Forest stage looked amazing with the DJ box resembling a speaker cone made from wood that dared you to dream a tree had fallen exposing the sonic roots that tapped straight into our psyches. The music was drenched in joy and expression with nostalgic reimagining of classics from the likes of Darren 808, alongside fresh slabs of new groove, that got everyone feeling good and up dancing.
Neon and disco lights bathed the Trip tent which consistently provided healthy crowds with a good range of Psy-trance to bend our minds and wave around to, creating ninja shapes of expression.
On the Sunday Tom Metcalfe gave an assured acoustic set that saw accomplished guitar playing permeated with the electronic sounds of loops and effects, Is there any better way to bring the two realities of cities and industry together with nature and synchronicity than combining the force of natural resonance with the manipulation and mutation of digital effect.
Alongside traditional festival arts such as circus performers, fantasy stilt walkers, acrobats, fire dancers and jugglers, there were a host of fresh entertainers out to wow and satisfy the hungry festival goers appetite for a joyous spectacle at any time of the day or night. Particularly a bloke with an ultra-modern LED light sticks caught my attention as did a massive fire display with two atom volcanoes on the end of chains made the fire stage look like it was raining fire.
Workshops invited us to learn new skills, as speakers spoke with no microphones to ears that needed no parade, some spoke of hypno-birthing, yoga or applications of fabric, talks such as acoustic archaeology (the history of sound in caves and rocks!) sounding just right for a chilled Sunday afternoon.
Healing tents spun with strange new energies, providing love and care to the weary and worse for wear. Providing rejuvenation, advice and nourishment for the mind, body and soul. – Andy Weights
One Tribe Festival really did feel like a miniature Alice in Wonderland adventure, with rich and vibrant areas all with their own unique style to facilitate everyone’s magical mystery tour. It was clear that a lot of effort and pride had been put into every detail, one of the many benefits of the smaller festival experience.
The crowd were lucky to have so much vast choice both in terms of music and atmosphere, without ever feeling claustrophobic. Whether you wanted to go and lose yourself (and go partially deaf) at the front of the Home of the Drum Stage, or gather you thoughts with a solitary sit down rest in the Ambient Tent, it was liberating to be able to so in a matter of minutes without having to push through any crowds.
A full day of music and dancing felt quite surreal due to the contrast between the various music and surroundings. At the early stages of the day you could be dancing to uplifting house music whilst in the circular Forest Stage surrounded by beautiful trees, glistening beams of sunlight and fellow music lovers dressed in colourful costumes. Fast forward 12 hours and the techno kings are piercing through to the dark aspects of your soul whilst the sky slowly reappears in an awesome tint of red.
The in between moments of the festival made for the icing on the cake, where you could go and connect with others whilst glaring into an epic bonfire or receive a Beat Massage to the rhythm of your own favourite tune. That’s after hearing the story of how the masseuse discovered that he could only use this musical technique due to the wiring of his brain (did we mention the festival felt surreal?) – Daniel James
Think back to March; The days are becoming longer and the gin & tonics are starting to frequent the pub gardens of the opening days of Spring. Music enthusiasts across the country are faced with difficult decisions and contrary conversations as to which music events to attend in the approaching festival season.
The desires to be part of a festival that provides a unique and creative experience, with an incredible line up, staging and atmosphere, that is reasonably priced, and also meets the demands of your friends can often lead to disappointment or the feeling of financial regret when the Monday blues kick in.
One Tribe Festival, is a new addition to the calendar, organised by Audio Farm a not-for-profit events company with incredible vision of how things should be done. Set in the picturesque grounds of Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire the festival showcased a well designed and incredibly talented line up of musicians from Klezmer Bands such as Turbin to Drum and Bass MCs and body-music workshops.
The Friday saw Scottish techno titans, Slam, put the foot through the floor on 303 Liverpool’s Home of Drum stage, with tracks such as MATRIXXMAN & Setaoc Mass’s latest collaboration Vortex and finishing on the timeless classic Age of Love – Age of Love.
As the music drew to a close at 6 am each morning in time for sunrise, the crowds reunited and were encouraged to take a seat by the bonfire or at the 24-hour ambient tent, The Nest, which hosted live acts and gong baths and DJs such as Pete Roberts who took Saturday night celebrations stylishly into Sunday afternoon, with a mammoth six hour, finishing just after 12.
The attending crowd was a credit to the festival’s organiser, reflected in the enthusiasm to create and share experiences with one another. Highlight of the weekend, Dave The Drummer, joined in with crowd revelations as he launched an inflatable duck back into the crowd, to land in time with drop of Dense & Pika’s Planet E remix, amidst a fast, old school acid techno assault to a packed forest, dancing in the dawn twilight.
All profits raised by Audio Farm are donated to charity, and volunteers were encouraged to stay in the days to follow to aid the clear up effort, the food stalls stocked a wide variety of vegan cuisine and people were encouraged to look out for anyone in need of help and direct them to the welfare areas; values like these are what is missing in the large commercial festivals of today, and really sets One Tribe Festival apart from any festival I’ve visited recently. Definitely one for next year’s calendar! – Paddy Hooley
Arriving at the festival on the Friday was a bit of a bind for me. A complete lack of phone signal for the other members of the team meant that I was wandering around for approximately four hours before locating the gaffer, clad in Waveform t-shirt and a pair of delightful patterned leggings, on the periphery of the Home of Drum stage. Once I had located everyone, however, all was well and I was able to get to enjoying the fantastic One Tribe Festival (having immediately been proffered a nice big rum by the editor).
There were plenty of highlights, but 9 pm on the Saturday saw the aptly named Drum Machine, who hail from Hebden Bridge, hit the Home of Drum stage. With a dress code straight from a post-apocalyptic Mad Max video and with a hypnotic swaying they played seriously loud. With samba-induced beats, this 20-plus piece drum ensemble pulverized the erratic audience on a aural level not heard since the late, great, Lemmy last turned his Marshall amp to 11.
Akaram took to the decks late on the Sunday night at the Home of Drum tent and immediately gave the baying crowd a masterclass in techno with his unique blend of heavy machine driven techno, electro and acid. Akaram certainly delivered the goods, as the bpms rose this GOLIATH of techno certainly left some of the audience not knowing horizontal from vertical.
This was a titanic set of mammoth proportions and the sheer skill Mark displays behind the decks was easy for anybody to see. Myself and I’m sure 100% of the audience awaits with bated breath for a chance to see the Eastern Bloc resident lay waste to our audio receptors once again.
Sunday afternoon saw a huddled full house escape the rain as Barry Gammon and the Midday Incident dished out some seriously funky mustard. The Gammons, a Mancunian four-piece, enthralled the jubilant crowd with some extreme disco licks and grooves intertwined with a throbbing techno-esque electronic swagger. What a festival this was! – Rob Draper
TOP 6 ARTISTS AT ONE TRIBE 2017
No festival review is complete without picking the top artists from the entire festival experience. Here, our intrepid explorers pick a performance each that really stood out for them. In no particular order, our top 6 artists from One Tribe 2017…
Juan Atkins is my choice for performance of the festival. As I said earlier, he kept me dancing for two hours, without pausing for breath, at the very point where my legs should, by all rights, have been dropping off. One of the original Belleville Three alongside Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, Atkins showed all present why he is considered one of the genres originators. Plus he played The Bells which is guaranteed to send me into orbit. Magical stuff. (Ste Knight)
Aside from being the smiliest DJ at the festival (no mean feat considering he was responsible for goings-on behind the scenes), Cy Humphreys threw down a set that had the whole audience in the Forest in the palm of his hands, wringing every ounce of energy out of them. His ability to cut and chop between tracks genuinely puts full on funk into his dynamic sets, which is exactly why he was performer of the festival for me. (Helen Wilson)
Radioactive Man proved to be my favourite due to the continuous crisp funky acid baselines that had people dancing like lunatics whilst staring out at the lit up multi coloured trees in Forest Stage at night. One of the Two Lone Swordsmen, Radioactive Man kept the energy peaked in the One Tribe wooded area. (Daniel James)
Hebden Bridge’s Drum Machine are real innovators of the use of live drum sounds to create something truly electric from some thing completely acoustic, which is why they are my performance of the festival. Their ability to produce techno classics, live, from such a tight ensemble was something really out of the ordinary for me and I look forward to catching them again. (Rob Draper)
DARREN – 808 STATE
My act of the festival has to go to Darren 808. One half of the original rave posse, 808 State, Darren brought some proper old school rave classics to the Forest stage that had people raising their arms, either in euphoria or supplication (or both). A truly authentic rave experience from one of the masters of the scene. (Andy Weights)
D.A.V.E THE DRUMMER
My act of the festival has to be D.A.V.E The Drummer. His set closing out the Forest stage was nothing short of phenomenal, and he well and truly schooled us in how to do acid techno properly. To keep everyone going a the very tail end of a festival is a tough task, but he took up the mantle and saw us all off with a cataclysmic bang.