by Yann KM
"Imagine all the illegal raves from the 90s put all their lights in one spot. That's Noisily"
Among other things, 2022 has seen the return of music festivals for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Despite many eyes being on Glastonbury and Primavera, the summer has also hosted some incredible festivals quite literally off the beaten track.
This month, we headed deep into the Leicestershire woods for the first Noisily Festival since 2019. This festival of art, performance, and electronic music combines the best of British rave culture with creativity, an anarchic spirit, and a years-long cult following.
The last camping festival I went to was Boomtown 2017. That’s not to say I haven’t been to any festivals in the last few years, despite the pandemic. I’ve been to a handful of day festivals (Love Saves the Day, Maiden Voyage, Field Day, All Points East) but I find these to be over too quickly and never live up to the excitement they generate within me.
On the other hand, I've been to a couple of weekender festivals with accommodation (Bang Face, Unsound) and they were fantastic, providing the intensity and wow factor of a camping festival but with actual beds and plumbing.
So, as I am nearly 30 now, I was nervous at first about attending Noisily, to the festival about roughing it in a tent again. In my early 20s, it was no problem as I was much fitter and could carry the mammoth amount of stuff required for such a festival. Now I struggle walking for even 30 mins with a bag full of clothes, blow up bed, tent, pillows and, of course, several bottles of Jack Daniels.
However, when I arrived on Friday afternoon I was very pleasantly surprised that I could see the campsite from the carpark. Instant relief that I would not be trudging through mud, jumping over guide ropes like they were lasers from that scene in the Resident Evil movie, just to try and find a small lumpy patch to call home for the next 3 days.
I walked about for 20mins before me and my friend found a suitable spot to set up camp. So top marks for the camping side. The toilets were clean, there were regular water points throughout. The festival was in the thick of the lush Coney Woods so although it was the hottest day of the year (32 degrees) thanks to the setup this was not a problem.
Filthy pizza beats and surprise stages
After setting up the tents and greeting some of the fellow punters, we threw ourselves into the festival.
Straight away, I was immediately impressed by the small stalls and tents scattered throughout the woods. It had most of what you’d expect from a good festival: multiple food stalls with lots of choice (exotic veggie options, burger vans with organic meat, a proper wood oven pizza, even a chai tent), bars with different alcohols, art installations and much more.
However, each spot had its own identity and atmosphere which made it feel just as important as the festival's main acts. The pizza place had a small rave room which played some of the filthiest tunes I heard all festival, sucking in unsuspecting passers-by with some lively jungle as the staff skanked their way through baking a thousand Margheritas. It was an exceptional spot for people watching.
Another such point was the Lizard Lounge, a chai tent featuring some great DJs. This was just one of many more surprise stages, and pop up acts, such as a group of DJs who brought in a soundsystem hidden inside a wheelie bin.
These attracted a surprising amount of