PREVIEW – GOTTWOOD FESTIVAL

Words: ROB SYME
June 10, 2013

Nowadays, there is no shortage of festivals boasting lineup’s dedicated to alternative electronic music. But only a few are able to boast of dramatic site locations, and most of them are on the Adriatic coast. Outlook, Dimensions, Unknown et al are all sure to provide intense, memorable occasions for those involved, but Gottwood is a […]


Nowadays, there is no shortage of festivals boasting lineup’s dedicated to alternative electronic music. But only a few are able to boast of dramatic site locations, and most of them are on the Adriatic coast. Outlook, Dimensions, Unknown et al are all sure to provide intense, memorable occasions for those involved, but Gottwood is a parallel option much closer to home. A creative, dance utopia, just down the road.

Gottwood’s site is a heartbeat to the trees of Carreglwyd forest on the island of Anglesey, just off the coast of North Wales. The location might be described as remote by some, and to the urbanites of Field Day in London or Parklife in Manchester, you will find the experience to be a wholly different one. But despite its rural location, the village of Llanfaethlu – that the festival calls home – is just under 2 hours drive from Liverpool and though it lacks a train station, Holyhead is only a fifteen minute drive, with taxi’s readily available from the station, which takes around 2 1/2 hours to reach from Liverpool Lime Street. Those choosing to drive won’t find it a painstaking creep along a bland stretch of motorway – the A55 which takes you to within 10 minutes of the site skirts around the beautiful Snowdonia National Park, while the festival site is itself located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

gw5

Though most stages feature at least one big name each day, the majority of the acts who play will be unknown to the average attendee, creating an atmosphere of open-eared exploration and the promise of new discovery. It is interesting to note last year’s lineup featured the likes of Disclosure and Bondax, who have both seen their stock skyrocket since playing Gottwood 12 months ago.

Thursday’s programming doesn’t kick off until the late afternoon, with a host of rising producers taking to The Cool Kid Sound stage. Programmed and featuring Jigsaw, their speakers will also blare the eclectic stylings of Werkha and TCTS, alongside the multi-layered, melodic productions of Toyboy & Robin; sure to hook in new listeners.

On the Friday, things go up a notch. House will be strongly represented with Ejeca, Detroit Swingle and Cera Alba all stepping up. Meanwhile, the Traum & Wigflex stage sees live performances from Extrawelt and Ryan Davis, for the deep, cosmic-techno enthusiasts: imagine hearing that on a crystal-clear system, in an illuminated nighttime forrest…

gw3

Looming large on the bill as a potential highlight is Hessle Audio head honcho, Ben UFO. An obsessive collector of vinyl possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of all reaches of dance music, he is a must-see at this year’s festival. Comfortable running marathon DJ sets and playing everything from obscure folk to classic grime cuts. Expect him to thrill the crowd and cover all bases while doing so.

A massive draw for many of the younger crowd, are the people behind the popular and influential Youtube channel Eton Messy (they recently hosted Duke Dumont at our warehouse venue, HAUS) who will programme a stage on Saturday, featuring a headline set from Maribou State. Elsewhere, Hypercolour have cemented their reputation as one of the UK underground’s forefront labels and those unfamiliar, get to know – their boat-party at Dimensions sells-out early for good reason. Label boss’ Alex Jones and young buck BareSkin join Tom Demac. Those who attended Abandon Silence back in February will no doubt remember the latter giving Dusky a run for their money.

Drum ‘n’ Bass legend Marcus Intalex has more recently made waves under the alias Trevino as a producer of four-to-the-floor house and techno, though headlining the Hit ‘N’ Run camp under his original moniker, we can expect to get our fix of energy above the 160 bpm mark.

And on Sunday, who better to finish things off than Irish duo Bicep. Skilled crate diggers keeping you in party mode while you gaze out from within the trees, the sun setting in the distance.

Moments of wonder such as this imagined experience will be plentiful at the Gottwood, through the creative way in which the organisers use their location. One stage inhabits a visual-projection dome, while those attending freely explore the treehouses and dens peppered throughout the forest, finding their way through clearings and paths illuminated in a kaleidoscope of colours.

gwood1 Those who have been before speak of a friendly, positive atmosphere permeating the festival, which when coupled with its unique setting make it unmissable, regardless of whether other UK events pull-in bigger names. You see, Gottwood is for the authentic.

Camping is included with your tickets, which are expected to sell-out soon, so if you want to be a story teller, not listener, you know what to do.




< Back