Why live acts and extended sets make Houghton our festival for 2017

First of all I am a big fan of good planning. Without organisation we would all fall into chaos. It is what separates us from animals. However, there is such a thing as too much organisation, especially in the business of music events. Queueing to get through the gates, followed by queuing for drinks tokens, queueing for the bar, queueing for toilets; all this while DJs queue to play 1½ hour sets with no time to fully connect with their crowd. This is not a festival; this is just well sound-tracked cattle herding.

 It doesn’t have to be this way. We talked last year about a highlight of 2017 being a 7-hour marathon with Ben UFO and Craig Richards at Gottwood Festival. It was a feat of physical and emotional endurance that brought our favourite UK festival of the year to a spectacular finish. If only more UK festivals followed a similar ethic. It seems Gottwood’s Mother Owl has heard our prayers. The team behind the North Wales festival have announced a sister event and offered the following mission statement:

“Spontaneous back-to-back sets will be encouraged. Longer DJ sets will be the norm. While bespoke world class sound systems will be paired to stages and artists under a licence that allows them to be run as designed.”

Curated by the man himself, fabric resident Craig Richards, the event will take place in the woodlands of Houghton Estate, Norfolk. Richards has put together a line up like no other, featuring Nicolas Jaar, Floating Points, Raresh, Rhadoo, Optimo, Gerd Janson, Roman Flügel, Adrian Sherwood and many, many more. The roster is topped off with the god of all b2b super-extended set madness; Ricardo Villalobos.

What really sets Richards’ selections apart is a focus on live performances, something that often becomes an afterthought for many. In this case they are hard to ignore. Here’s our run down of live shows to get excited for. If you don’t know, get to know.

VILOD aka Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer (UK Debut)
For the first time ever in the UK, Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer will perform as their collaborative project; VILOD. VILOD sees the duo tumbling deep into the previously unexplored chasm between techno and jazz.

Radioactive Man
The mighty Keith Tenniswood, originally one half of legendary Two Lone Swordsmen (the other half being Andrew Weatherall), will bring everything from fat squelchy electro through to rolling acid in is live performance.

Hercules & Love Affair
The constantly rotating technicolour collective of musician and vocalists has been around for nearly a decade now, with a disco-house sound that harks back to the days of Paradise Garage.

Yussef Kamaal
Their debut album “Black Focus” was a favourite release of 2017, defining a new generation of jazz from the streets of South London.

Google the LP covers for the 2016 works of Convextion aka E.R.P aka Dallas producer Gerd Hanson and you’ll find throwback 80’s sci-fi art and Hubble Telescope images. Nothing could describe Gerd’s sound better; woozy electro to soundtrack your lonesome descent onto one of Saturn’s moons. We can’t wait to see how this plays out in a festival setting.

Houghton Festival will take held at Houghton Hall, Norfolk, on August 11th – 13th. For more information and tickets, head to www.houghtonfestival.co.uk.

Words by David March



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