Hide and Seek, located in the ‘enchanted forest’ of Capesthorne Hall, Cheshire, lived up to its theme on arrival: fairy lights were hung from the trees along a bridge at the entrance which crossed a stunning lake outside the venue, and silver tinsel was draped between the woodland, hanging over our heads whilst we danced beneath it.
After a year of planning and hard work, of course the newly announced dance festival, situated just outside Manchester, experienced typical northern torrential rain for the first 2 hours. But this didn’t stop Mancunians from dancing in the mud whilst the sun seeped through the clouds for the rest of the day.
There were four stages – three of which made sure the DJs were at the same level as their fans, which gave it a more interactive feel, and the raised up main stage which was for the bigger names. Each stage had its own unique design, including one which was situated inside an Eden Project-like dome with plants hanging from the sides of the stage. Although this was a charming aesthetic, at times the dome felt a little too much like a palm house in the heat of the day.
One of the first acts was creator of the festival and founder of You&Me brand, Josh Baker, who did not disappoint. Baker’s raw talent for DJ-ing came naturally on the main stage, starting the day off in a good mood with catchy beats and dance moves.
Next up in the stretch tent, was Jamie 3:26, who attracted a substantial crowd during his three hour set. Showcasing remixes of well-known tunes, he really got the crowd going as he experimented with different genres.
The festival trialed the idea of tokens, as opposed to using cash at the bars, and although this was a good concept at first to reduce queue times, it seemed a number of people were still paying with their cards for drinks. This was a little frustrating for those of us who had queued for their tokens and then again for their drinks, whilst some chose to ignore the idea and just head straight to the bar with their cards.
About halfway through the day, festival-goers were informed that the two headline acts, Dan Shake and Francesco Del Garda, were no longer attending the festival due to flight delays from Dutch festival, Dimensions. However this did not stop people from raving when Ingi Visions hit the decks.
Samuel Deep and Julian Alexander, both brothers from the Netherlands, brought their individual talents to the set to showcase a remorseless and energetic sound which transformed into pure dance floor music that satisfied everyone’s ears.
The festival closed with Shonky taking to the main stage for a reasonable three hour set. The last hour was probably the best, as the crowds flocked to the ‘contour stage’ to experience an epic laser show that was worth the wait at night. Given Shonky’s impressive discography it came to no surprise that his headline act would be the best set of the night, bringing the festival to an honourable close.
For a first-time festival, the organisation, hard-effort and commitment to making the festival as perfect as it could be was definitely exhibited throughout the day.
Festival goers could recharge their energy supplies with cheaply priced food trucks which offered restaurant quality Thai food and vegan options, catering for all tastebuds. There was even an onsite record shop which sold vinyls of the DJs that were playing, a first I’ve seen at a outdoor festival.
The only thing I could have wished for when it ended was a tent to go back to and so that I could experience it all over again the next day, so here’s to hoping that Hide and Seek will only get bigger and better each year from here on out.