Arts Reviews

“Sounds To Fulfil Your Summer Soundtrack Dreams” – Live Review: Forbidden Forest

Josie Fowler and Hayley Lawson

Fuelled with sounds to fulfil your summer soundtrack dreams, Forbidden Forest Festival was a massive event. Despite only being able to attend on Saturday, Impact’s Hayley and Josie navigated their way around the venue to give their verdicts.

Upon arrival, we were shocked by how quickly we got in. Considering the masses of people, the management was excellently efficient. The crowd was energetic, but not rowdy which made for a more enjoyable atmosphere. As the day went on and people got into the festival zone, management and security continued to maintain a level of comfort for the crowds. One of the few downsides of a great event was the difficulty in terms of navigation. As two clumsy people on the grounds of Belvoir Castle, a scenic location, it was difficult to figure out where we had to go, and most staff were unable to support this as they were equally unsure. However, once we got our bearings we had a fantastic day exploring this eclectic festival.

Alongside the amount of stages this festival boasted, there was more to the site than just music. There were also a number of fairground rides, food stalls and shops selling festival gear. We settled on the waltzer as our ride of choice – it was £6 but you definitely get your money’s worth. The food was as expected for a festival – overly priced and mediocre. Whilst the hats with colourful language and symbols were tempting, we decided to pass on them this time. Another aspect worth mentioning before getting into the music itself was the fashion. Although we felt more appropriately dressed for a night in Rock City than a festival, others came much more dressed to impress. We noticed trends such as crochet sweaters, diamantes, glitter and cowboy boots were very popular today.

We definitely had the most fun at Andy C’s set – with the bouncing atmosphere and his energetic interaction with the crowd

Surprisingly, the Disco Express stage (located in Boohoo Village) was the hardest to find even though it was in the thick of the action. It was very different to the others due to this as it provided more of a background atmosphere as opposed to being the focal point of the area. The music on this stage was provided by artists such as Ayme, Dyed Soundroom, and later, (one of the longest and most anticipated acts on this stage) East End Dubs. We checked these out to see if they were worth the hype but for us, they didn’t particularly stand out compared to the others we saw.

Another stage providing good vibes all day long was the Aztec stage. The stage itself was unique and the vibe reflected the name. The crowd was on the calmer side for the festival- but we found this was not a bad thing. The stage was easy to find, and we had lots of space to move around and bust some moves, which we feel is what a festival is all about. We even had enough space to have a cheeky snack break without leaving the crowd.

Close to Aztec was Bunker, who hosted acts such as Eli Brown and Camelphat. People were seemingly beginning to let themselves go more by Eli Brown’s set, creating a buzz in the atmosphere that was elevated by the neon lights. Camelphat seemed highly anticipated, but we found it underwhelming- the energy here didn’t meet the one we’d acquired throughout the course of the day. Whilst the stage had the potential for more, it didn’t quite meet that potential. At this, we returned to Aztec and saw Patrick Topping, whose performance was energetic, producing a more fun atmosphere.

Perhaps our favourite performance from the day came from Andy C, on the reactor stage. Surrounded by flashing lights, his liveliness allowed for a thriving crowd. We definitely had the most fun in this set – with the bouncing atmosphere and Andy C’s energetic interaction with the crowd, claiming “We’re gonna take our heads off for real.” Most people we spoke to looked forward to his set the most, and he was worth the hype.

Manor Stage was an unexpected gem. Being slightly further out, it was much larger than we had expected, hosting such as Hannah Wants and… It was a slightly more intense crowd and if that’s the festival feeling you enjoy then it was the perfect area to soak in the bigger energy. Surrounded by food stalls, seating and an area to get face glitter (which Hayley absolutely engaged in), the atmosphere here was excellent. If you wanted to spend the entire festival at this stage, it would absolutely be possible.

Not being our usual taste in music or crowd , we were both shocked by how much we enjoyed the festival! Surrounded by the excitement and energy it became a very fun place to be, and we’re sure you’ll catch us there again in the future.

Josie Fowler and Hayley Lawson

Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of @forbiddenforestuk . No changes were made to this image.

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