The festival landscape has long been run over with big brands and commercial money, so something like this was long over due and more than welcome. It is a festival that does things differently and the debut at Tofte Manor really won us over.
You will find it half an hour or so from London in the Bedfordshire countryside in the well groomed grounds of a 17th Century manor house. Surrounded by greenery, the stages have a lush and considered, cultured and careful feel with music to match. The open air event has a happy, smiling crowd who are not too cool to get down to beats from Labyrinth’s own resident DJ Nick Castleman as well as a super exclusive set from Fred Again.
Anu bright some tasteful party vibes with her well sequenced set full of highs and lows, depths and classics. Josey Rebelle on the small stage was a big standout too with her freaky 80s disco set of robotic grooves and big house and disco, while Nabihah Iqbal of NTS and Ninja Tune cover a wide span of sounds.
Headliners included Floating Points who played three majestic hours and served up some classy sounds, big basslines and plenty of the usual rare disco and old school Chicago house you would expect as well as some less predictable acid and garage sounds. The likes of Jungle also did a big live set that pleased old fans and won plenty of new ones and DJRUM kept the hardcore and serious heads happy with his connoisseur selections.
The festival was all done by 10pm which frankly we didn’t mind. We went hard all day, and were left in high spirts and keen for more rather than flogging a dead beat as can often the cat late at night in a muddy festival field. As we left, people were already looking forward to next year. Well done Labyrinth!