One Tribe festival ran from Thursday 3rd to Tuesday 8th August, offering five full days of 24 hour music across six music stages. Set within the beautiful Cholmondeley Castle grounds in Cheshire, it was a hugely ambitious undertaking considering it was One Tribe’s debut. However, as the guys behind the Audio Farm festival were in charge we had high hopes and we weren’t disappointed.
One Tribe is also a fundraiser event, and all profits go to the Green Paw Project; a charity dedicated to animal welfare. Their next ambition is focused on building an animal sanctuary in Malawi, to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife such as leopards, monkeys, antelopes etc. The project will also aid in the fight against the poaching of animals such as elephants, through front line defence work in the National Parks.
Right from the very first ‘One Triber’ we met (who was directing traffic into the site from the main road, with a big beautiful grin underneath a big beautiful bushy beard) the quality of oneness permeated everything; the security staff, campsite, toilet queues, stall sellers, food vendors, crowd…even the animals on site (it was a dog heaven!). Maybe it was just the type of person attracted to this style of festival, with lots of bare feet, woolen ponchos and dreadlocks; or maybe there was something else helping us all along. I’ve certainly never smiled so much at a festival, and after attending a few talks on sacred geometry and chakra healing (including the best titled talk ever, “Intergalactic Tools for Empowerment”) I honestly believe the mass of positive energy had something to do with it.
Entry into the One Tribe site was a delight. After being pointed in the right direction by super smiley beardy guy, we slowly drove through a stone archway and along a tree lined dusty road to the car park. Happy faces were everywhere. The car park needed a £20 donation, but when you know the festival is being run as a charity to help animals, you don’t mind paying as much.
The check in area wasn’t too busy, another plus point we attributed to the five full days on offer, meaning no huge queue of people desperate to get in as early as possible. In fact, owing to the length of the festival, there seemed to be a constant flow of people both in and out over the long weekend. This is definitely a huge plus point for me; the freedom to choose how long you wanted to stay, without feeling like you’re missing out!
Security were friendly enough, if a tiny bit slow. As always, when you’re fully loaded with your possessions on your back, a minute seems like an age and despite feeling like we were going slow motion, we were through relatively quickly.
After we passed security, the backroad a took us straight into the campsite and we headed to the far end, planning on having some spacious camping. We needn’t have worried though as for the entire time we were there, the camping area never felt over filled. Unlike most other festivals, there were no overlapping guy ropes protruding from tents to trip you up; everyone seemed quite thoughtful when pitching and keen on maintaining the feeling of space.
After shedding our ‘outside clothes’ and pulling on some animal print and a dash of glitter we headed into the site for our first look and a quick bite to eat. We had intended to be back in an hour or so, but as is the way with festivals, our plans were sidetracked and we stayed out till the early hours. There was so much to see and do, especially with so many friendly chatty people around the site that the hours seemed to pass by in a rush.
We took in the amazing site decorations; a cow with a speaker for a mouth, a stage that was a giant head of sorts, hanging lightbulbs with micro-planets inside and a giant One Tribe, multi coloured LED lit obelisk.
Around the edge of the site were plenty of stalls for anyone with some spare cash, and we found them very reasonably priced. We took immediately to Rhiannon and Tim who run Second Nature Pyrography; such a warm and friendly couple. Based in North Wales, they handcraft illustrated wooden pieces using ethically & locally sourced wood through the art of pyrography. From animals, mandalas and rune symbols, to arrows with mountain scenes and sun and moon symbolism, they had a huge range of intricate and beautifully detailed pieces on offer, and even create custom pieces for less than £10. This ethos of not overpricing to make things more accessible ran throughout the festival, making a nice change from so many of the more commercial events focussed on making money.
We also made a few purchases from the amazing team at Love Specs. Another choice for those wishing to help others, Love Specs are a part of Love Support Unite, a UK and Malawi based charity aimed at helping communities change their own lives, rather than providing direct money to them. They also carefully plan small projects so that they can be duplicated across Malawi, to help create change on a larger scale overall.
Also on offer were a wide range of massages (£1-per-minute massages and Beat Massages; massages in time to your favourite music), yoga and meditation, sound healing, gong baths and reiki. Although we’re used to seeing a few of these on offer at festivals, we’ve never seen so many healing options in one place. Not to mention so many that we’d never heard of; energetic trauma and PISD release, a dream machine, workshops on warrior training, medicine of the heart, quantum touch...
Next up, food!!! So many choices and all of them were a tasty, healthy and vegan spin on the normal festival food on offer. We had vegan pizzas, vegan sushi, vegan Thai curry, vegan ‘cheese burger’ and…vegan ‘chicken burger’.
Line up wise, One Tribe had a few DJs we were determined to see; top of the bunch were Move D, Steevio & Suzybee and Jacques Adda. We were so spoilt for choice with the huge amount of other artists available that we decided to let our ears guide us around the site; this was a great way to ensure we saw a wide variety of acts.
Move D played at the mesmerizing Forest Stage on Friday night, a perfect way for us to warm up to the coming weekend. His upbeat sounds were on point once again, though his set felt less bass heavy than normal. He’s one of our favourite acts to see live, especially as he seems so into his music. No moody faces or barely moving about; he’s one to see dancing and bopping, almost as if he’s one of the crowd who just happened to jump on the decks.
The Forest stage needs a proper mention here. To some it looked like a giant eye, lashes opening up into the forest. To others it looked like a gramophone, slowly widening out onto the earthy dancefloor. Whatever it was, and I’m led to believe it was designed without a final form in mind, it had by far the most stunning form and visuals I’ve ever seen at a stage. Hour after hour of multi coloured mandalas spinning around gave way to pulsating geometric designs. At one point, exhausted after pulling some special yoga-dance moves we simply sat and watched the visual effects play out, grinning away and nudging each other with gasps of ‘wow’ and ‘ooooh’. As with so many other aspects of One Tribe, the forest stage was just one example of the great attention to detail paid when it comes to build and production. Everywhere you looked there was something to marvel at, something to notice and smile about, or something to make you wonder and think. The amount of love that went into creating this event was evident throughout.
Move D had to finish at some point (even if we were still wanting more after two hours) and he gave way to Steevio & Suzybee playing live. Steevio is one of the founders of Freerotation festival and his resident DJs took over the stage for the entire evening. Following on from Move D, Steevio’s sound seemed fairly familiar which I wasn’t expecting, but he soon gave way into a deeper, analogue synth tweaking set which seemed more like him. Definitely a favourite of the more nerdy music fans, he entertained a crowd of people perfectly for his full set without a seconds rest and went to the top of our One Tribe highlights.
Next up, though playing on the Sunday was a favourite of ours, Jacques Adda. What a set! By far this was the best music we’ve heard Jacques play and he had the crowd in the tent absolutely pumped!
I’m a sucker for waiting for a beat to drop, usually the longer the better, and Jacques had plenty of this mixed into his usual upbeat tracks. Starting off weird and wonderful, moving into more and more techno territory as time went on, finishing off with a crowd literally jumping around cheering him on.
Also worth mentioning was the sheer creativity around every corner. Pop-up parades, circus performers, tight rope walkers, hoop artists and jugglers were dotted across the whole five days. Not just showcasing talent but teaching anyone who fancied a go. For the kiddies there was a never-ending programme of entertainment, as well as all of the hidden surprises that were only discoverable by wandering around and following your nose. There were also a consistent flow of musicians, spontaneously jamming with whoever they met. One night we stumbled across an entire family of fairies and elves, completely lit up from head to toe in spell-binding twinkles and lights. At times it became hard to tell who was there as a performer and who was general public, but we soon came to realise that that was another differentiator about this festival - it felt like you were really a part of it, contributing in some way or another; we were all equals. On Sunday night we were treated to some incredible performances by a group of daredevil fire breathers, delivering a mesmerising show around the fire pit. Even though the heavens decided to open for a while, nothing could take away from the spectacle. Completely captivating stuff.
On Monday, we attended what was probably the highlight of the whole festival for us, a talk by the lovely Bow Föcske aka The Rainbow Goddess. This was on Intergalactic Tools for Empowerment and covered everything from sacred numbers and geometry, quantum mechanics and religious symbolism. It was at times a funny and light hearted talk, but truly enlightening and thought provoking at the same time. I’d encourage anyone to seek out Bow and her wisdom as a way to connect further with the universe and be enthralled by the coincidences of nature and space. We couldn’t have picked a better way to wrap things up.
To sum up, One Tribe couldn’t be further removed from the corporate, fully sponsored, marketed-to-the-brim festivals that have become the norm for some time. It is beyond a doubt a fresh take on a festival, getting back to the real meaning behind gathering a group of likeminded people together to enjoy music together - all in the name of giving back to our planet. The name One Tribe had real meaning there too, as everyone one was so friendly and kind to each other that you really did feel a part of something so full of love. Every toilet had a sign up asking you to watch out for anyone looking worried or upset, and to direct them to the Shelter tent for some friendly hugs and care. There was even a tent called “The Land of Nod”, literally for anyone needing to take some time out and get their head down. Everyone looked out for everyone, there was not a whiff of bad attitude. The overarching feeling of complete unity really hit home for us and it was a privilege to be a part of an ethos that is centered around looking after eachother and the world we live in. There was minimal rubbish on the floor, stewards giving out “test tubes” to put your cigarette butts in, incentives for free drinks in exchange for collecting rubbish, reusable cups and plenty of recycling bins all over the site. Exactly how festivals should be.
Massive congratulations to the team and crew, when 2018 comes around this will be my number one choice for a festival. One Tribe, One Love.
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