The One In The Woods is a festival set in a village that goes by the name of Hightown and is located midway between the City of Liverpool and Southport. Hightown is conveniently about 30 mins from Liverpool city centre on the Merseyrail service to the coastal resort of Southport. It is the perfect festival for locals and people around the northwest of England.
When arriving in Hightown you would be forgiven for thinking you had got off the train at the wrong location. It’s a sleepy little village that you wouldn’t expect to be host to a number of Techno and DnB acts that would be filling the local air with thunderous beats and bass, but I digress. After leaving the train there was a very handy shuttle bus service on offer for all the up-for-it and jolly ravers en route. The shuttle bus service took about 10 minutes and arrived at what could be described as a farm-like entrance. For a moment there was the feeling of “where am I”, but the throbbing bass emanating from the trees ensured we were in the right place. All ravers leaving the bus were met by friendly stewards who lead the rabble of party-goers to the entrance where each was met by security staff and were searched and their tickets checked! In honesty, I felt the searches were a little overzealous in some cases but you could argue the security staff were at least thorough! When entering the festival it is clear to see why this is a well-loved local festival because it soon opens into a stunning open woodland area with a large stage to the right, a large bar area, and some great food stalls (I’ll talk about these later) and a pathway that leads around to the other two stage areas, one being the main techno area.
The first stage when arriving was the main DnB stage, the Techno stage is at the far end of the festival, and there is a great little third stage where the styles change between Saturday and Sunday. Saturday being liquid and more chilled DnB, and Sunday being Techno. Some of the highlights of the festival were SPFDJ who delivered an energy-filled assault of the senses, Perc who closed off the Techno stage on Saturday and delivered a savage set of pounding acid-infused Techno, and Luke Slater who did what he always does so well, and although hard, as you would expect, his music always has that air of intelligence about it. Dillinja was as solid and reliable, as always on Saturday on the DnB stage, and Pendulum delivered a great set to close off the DnB stage on Sunday night. Also huge shout out and love to Mark System and MC Conrad on the third stage on Saturday who were superb, as any DnB lover would expect! They delivered a set of intelligent DnB sounds and vocal rhymes delivered like a poet! It is great to see a festival supporting local talent including KUSP, Andee J and Tom Page who all played great sets and only added to what was a great vibe all weekend. Shouts out to Tom Page and his good lady Jenn who run Liverpool Techno Scene and were certainly on fine form all weekend, and Debs, the lady behind Antonym and the lady who didn’t stop bouncing around like Zebedee all weekend. Also, shouts out to the glitter girls who tried to accost me on multiple occasions… I only said no because I actually have a genuine phobia of glitter… no joke! I actually do!!! That stuff is horrid!!!
For those of you that love a good sound system, you would not be disappointed. The DJs were fully powered by the delightful Void sound systems which are, in my opinion, the finest sound systems around at present for volume, low end and clarity! I would certainly love to be playing some DnB and Jungle music on the DnB stage next year! It sounded incredible all weekend!
Sadly some artists didn’t attend for reasons I am not sure of, but it is probably a sign of the times with promoters having to make some hard decisions. I am sure the promoters would agree the festival could have been far busier, but it again, is probably a sign of the times, plus Liverpool was hosting Pride on the same weekend, as well as Liverpool International Music Festival. One thing is for sure, what the festival may have lacked in attendees, it did not lack in the acts provided, the atmosphere, the vibe, or the quality of production on offer for what is a small festival.
One of the stand-out points of the festival was the fact it felt so friendly and inclusive. There was no trouble, no bad attitudes at all, just smiling happy ravers giving out hugs and fist bumps on the regular. The stewards and staff were friendly and were happy to offer assistance when needed. Very well organised and friendly vibe throughout the weekend. Besides the vibes and great artists on display, I have to talk about this great little food trailer named Nina’s that sold some of the best vegan tacos and nachos I have eaten anywhere!!! If you see these folks at a festival near you, go check out their food! Incredible!
There are rumours that the festival is going to be a three-day camping festival next year which will hopefully increase the numbers and provide a larger lineup over the three days. For promoters it is a fine balance of wanting to create a bigger festival with bigger and better everything whilst keeping that friendly happy vibe, but based on what I saw, I am fully confident all involved can provide just that! If you have not been to The One In The Woods before it is a festival I would be looking at very seriously in 2023. If rumours are true and it is a three-day camping festival, it will no doubt attract more artists, and more ravers and go from strength to strength. Here’s to next year, I will definitely be attending!!! Thank you to the team involved and the hard work you put in throughout the build-up to the festival and the weekend of the festival. Much love!