Set in some beautiful woods in a secret location only a couple of hours outside London, In The Woods festival is a small live event with a lot to offer. The festival started off as a private party and before long it became a yearly event hosted by XFMs John Kennedy and organized by Laurel Collective.
If big festivals don’t do it for you or you’re not bothered about big names on the line-up, In The Woods festival might just be the festival for you with its unknown artists and very low-key atmosphere.
The weather was kind with plenty of sunshine on the program as well as great new music. Our favourite part of this festival is certainly the way it champions new talent on the verge of breaking. We discovered the likes of Alt-J and AlunaGeorge there and this year we were overwhelmed with another line-up packed with outstanding artists. With only two stages, In The Woods is also rewarding to anyone performing there with none of the music crossing over, which gives every act the audience’s full attention.
The day started off with strong performers such as Kyan and Temple Songs on the main stage and we were easily drawn to Japanese one-man-band, Ichi on The Laurel Lounge. This eccentric character plays handmade instruments of his own invention but also uses tape loops, xylophones, steel-drum, and the trumpet amongst others. His tracks are fun and captivating, and are inspired by many things, which included pig noises and mosquitos. It might sound strange but actually its damn good music. Check out his track Go Gagambo, which we love.
Another act we enjoyed was Trudie Dawn Smith, which performed on the same stage. The band is fairly new yet its performance was nothing short of professional and the band’s single No Pop was a favourite on the day and got everyone dancing.
Another act we discovered on The Laurel Stage was Jack Garratt who was another one-man show. We loved his mellow mix of synth pop and folk. Marika Hackman was one of the biggest acts on the bill and unsurprisingly her set attracted a big crowd.
On The Quarry acts like Years & Years captivated the audience and treated the crowd to original tracks like Shelter but also a great cover of Blu Cantrell’s Breath. Glass Animals headlined the main stage and did play most of their album, ZABA, which is fast becoming our favourite album of the season. Most people recognised the tracks like Gooey and Pools and enjoyed an energy packed set.
The night though belonged to one act and one act alone, owning the stage like it was hers, Kate Tempest was undoubtedly the highlight of the festival. With everyone talking about Tempest, including artists on the bill it didn’t long for us to understand why. We didn’t know what to expect but we certainly didn’t expect to be blown away the way we were. Kate Tempest is a young poet and rapper and her energy and delivery on stage is equalled by a very select few. The icing on the cake was the music which was both fresh and different with our personal favourite, Happy End taken from the artist’s latest album, Everybody Down.
Other fun activities at the festival included silent discos, pool parties and bonfire and much, much more.
Family friendly and wholesome ITW felt like the perfect end to our festival season and has become one of our favourite music festivals.