If you were out for a stroll around the countryside of Cheshire a few Saturdays ago, you may have found the sounds of birds cooing deafened by techno beats. Hide & Seek Festival brought legions of electro fans to Capesthorne Hall, a stately home set in gorgeous surroundings. This weekend though, it was less Downton Abbey and more DMC. The line up included Jeremy Underground, YouandEwan, Apollonia and Just Jam to name a few, drawing an audience of mostly mid 20s-30s.
Festival wear reflected the theme of the day, ‘Life in Colour’, resulting in a sea of bright colour, patterns and neon. This summer has been a slightly grey one in the UK, that was nowhere to be seen here. Even the coach there was buzzing with anticipation, festival goers excited to be back in the thick of it.
Live music has suffered under COVID, particularly festivals facing financial risk, logistical problems and constant uncertainty. Hide & Seek is still a fairly new festival, having started in 2019 and postponed in 2020.
Its youth is evident in its organisation, which saw revellers queue for over an hour to get drinks. Compared to bigger festivals such as Leeds, the team here was clearly unprepared for the day and ran out of most drinks. At a British festival, that’s almost a sin!
The cashless wristbands that I’ve seen work at other festivals also seemed to be more hassle than they were worth. They cost £1.50 to top up, and most food stalls didn’t accept them. We were beginning to wish we’d pre-ed on the coach, nevermind it being at 11am.
Not to say people didn’t get their kicks elsewhere. As my friend Saskia said ‘this is the most ket I’ve ever seen’. And she lived in Oak House! By the end of the day, the field was strewn with monged out middle-aged men, simply unable to do anything but nod their heads to the music. Besides the challenges of organisation, the day was carried by the music.
We arrived, unsure what to expect, techno being a genre I only really listen to at clubs or out of the tinny earphone of someone on the bus. One of the first tents we found our way into was Dj’d by Laidlow, and was an immediate hit of energy and good vibes. He gave the audience what they wanted, playing upbeat tracks that got everyone’s hands in the air. The tent was hot and sticky, everyone pressed against each other so closely you could forget the last year had even happened. Nothing mattered but the beats blasting out of the speaker and the sense of joy around.
Another fantastic tent was Fantasia, which was circus shaped and had a massive disco ball projecting white spots of sun onto everyone’s faces. Just Jam and Tristan Da Cunha both brought the crowds, who came swirling, dancing and laughing into the light.
Voigt.mas took the stage last here, a big opportunity considering they have only 41 monthly listeners on spotify. After their dreamlike performance of their debut album, they’ve definitely gained a few more! Other highlights included Raresh’s impressive 3 hour long set at the Tentree, atmospherically surrounded by trees at twilight.
By the time Apollonia had taken to the Contour stage, the sun had set and the field was illuminated by bright light. The music pulsated through the crowd, bringing the day to a perfect end. For the festival’s second year, it delivered on both music and entertainment. With a few logistical issues ironed out, Hide & Seek can only become bigger and more exciting. So it’s good news for techno fans everywhere: Hide & Seek is one to watch!
Check out Hide and Seek festival here in time for next year!