With an action packed summer of events 2022 has been an outstanding year for electronic music. If your finger is firmly on the pulse and in tune with ever growing international festival scene you will be well aware of Houghton Festival. The hype here is real. Heavily and respectfully lauded by the industry, this is an event that lives up to all expectation and firmly placed as our favourite UK festivals experience to date.
The line-up speaks for itself championing the likes of Rhadoo, Raresh, Seth Troxler, Ricardo Villalobos, Ben UFO, Midland, Joy Orbison, Gerd Janson, ALFOS (Sean Johnston), Bill Brewster, Billy Nasty, Bobby, Clive Henry, Cobblestone Jazz, Colleen Cosmo Murphy, Dave Harvey, Derrick Carter , DJ Masda, DJ Stingray, Doc Martin, Doc Scott, Dyed Soundoro, Horse Meat Disco, Ivan Smagghe, Justin Robertson, Magda, Neil Landstrumm, Nicolas Lutz, Omar, Pearson Sound, Prosumer, Radioactive Man, Ralph Lawson, Rob Mello, Roman Flugel, Ruf Dug, Shanti Celeste, Tristan Da Cunha and Craig Richards. That is only a brief selection of the music on offer and a veritable goldmine of dance floor action and sonic weapons from some of the worlds foremost purveyors of quality Disco, House, Techno and Electronica.
The festival had an air of community from the moment we arrived. Fields of friendly faces and anticipation for an incredible program ahead, joined by like minded people who collectively choose quality over quantity. Houghton Festival openly celebrates individual character. In preference to a media heavy campaign that is the standard procedure for many of todays events, here, the unwavering voice of the industry and heads in the know set to fill the festival long in advance of its launch. Following previous years and the sabbatical due to recent global issues the energy and accolades Houghton has accrued was always going to sell out its tickets in advance… this is no small feat for a festival in todays dystopian terrain.
Proudly showing that if you strip away commercial ethics and run an event directly from the heart and connect with people that align with your vision it will be become a sustaining success, creating memories and a loyal following. Attendees of Houghton Festival will naturally become the best brand ambassadors as it remains unparalleled in its unique curation and expansive experiential proposition. This isn’t for the masses and the quality of the music speaks abundant volumes, relaying what words cannot actively convey. This is English ethics at its best and a celebration of the fact “If you build it they will come”.
In advance Craig Richard shared
“With great pride we present the program of music for Houghton 2022. Our intention has always been to honour the festival that didn’t happen in 2019. With the return of possibilities we finally have the chance to build upon the joy of year one and two. We look forward to successfully celebrating year three in year six. None of us could have imagined such a suspenseful and prolonged journey to the summit. But get there we shall. Preparations are fully under way, The magic of Houghton will soon return.”
Everybody requires freedom. Be it on the dance floor or the choice to connect with leftfield and often underground acts Houghton Festival is without judgement. On the flip side it encourages you to delve deeper and explore the wonderment of the electronic scene. Think current leading acts to legendary icons from yesteryear everyone brought their ‘A’ game to the fold. This was a sheer display of the inherent tribal community and connection we all share and the electronic community is widely known for. Assured by Craig himself that they do not plan to oversubscribe and over populate the space, their aim is to continue creating art in all its guises. This is hopefully the new world order and template for the new generation to engage. Europe with it’s many offerings doesn’t always compare when you have a boutique custom made event on your doorstep, and this year the weather was onside to ensure its profound success from beginning to end.
Sharing their own insights preceding Houghton Festival this year, we heard from a range of figureheads highlighting their own experience.
Midland “I will never forget walking on to site at the first Houghton. It was clear from the off that this was no ordinary “festival”. It’s rare to feel that free in how you play and experience music but everything is geared towards making it an out of body experience for artists and attendees alike and I cannot wait to return”.
Jonny Rock “Houghton. Hangout of all hangouts. Magic everywhere. First in last out. Woodstock of our electronic generation”
Saoirse “I think one of my favourite things about Houghton is that it is so well curated that I had a kind of like guarantee that any stage or tent I would end up in I would encounter really quality, you could just stray anywhere and you’ll hear really good music, it takes the festival planning stress away.”
Amit & Aneesh (Giant Steps) “The first two years at Houghton were unforgettable. Having missed the last three (!), we have come to appreciate how precious those moments with our friends were.”
Kirsti “The first night I walked into the wooded area of the site, looking up at the trees lit up with coloured light there was a real free party energy and beauty to it all. The magic vibe really wrapped me up. This and seeing Craig’s artwork all around the site and knowing that every attention to detail had been made in the important areas from sound to the line up makes the Houghton experience so special”
Donna Leake “An annual get down turned up to the maximum!”
As long term music fanatics and undetected trainspotters, our festival list is massive. Houghton Festival for us generated an unparalleled energy with surmountable attention going towards every attention to detail the producers provided. From MainStage to secret forest settings and disco fuelled tents with custom systems the scene was a dream come true. Polite staff to ever flowing drinks, health and wellness area to a vinyl store from a collective of London’s leading purveyors of quality music… I for one wish the event could continue forever (albeit in desperate need of sleep which is an incredibly hard task with so many creative acts on offer).
From the offset, connecting an authentic community of underground music lovers, artists and performers the outcome of Houghton Festival was always going to to be surreal. Reflecting back, this event can openly be described as unadulterated excellence when it comes to every aspect of the programming the sound on each stage fluidly enhanced the vibe and suitably delivered throughout. As an independent business, we can only attend a select few and always choose carefully. When an invite landed in our inbox we were instantly excited. Our team were in hook line and sinker, before even checking the dates were free. Houghton Festival had remained on our list since its first inception and had been widely attended and bandied about by our friends in the know. The ascending standard set by this festival has been firmly implanted on the minds of clubbers and industry alike often in awe of their incredible line ups. The experience is highly revered and prized, fast becoming the holy grail on UK soil.
In the electronic world, every so often a golden elephant appear on the scene. It resiliently shines through the masses and proudly sets to remind us that ongoing social and economic world issues really don’t matter if we unify on the dance-floor we can become a conduit to create a positive force once we return to daily life. This years crowd will take that positive recharge and share their memories with the world and keep the glistening light within as the spark to ignite others. This could be perceived as artistic license but for me, I firm belief that good things create even better things by default… the butterfly effect.
As highlighted by Craig Richards and his talented team, this isn’t curated for massive commercial gain (opting out of lucrative sponsorship opportunities) but a clear set vision for a longterm annual event that will maintain its integrity and become its own sustainable eco system. Houghton is referred to as a boutique festival for people that purely love music and are actively part of a clued up clubbing community…. The main thing is it without ego, this is a flat structure, with no VIP and influencer culture catered for…. just an open, honest interconnection at its beating heart.
To be clear, Houghton is a festival without pretence, projecting a positive proposition for the greater industry to take note. This event for us, was art in its purist form. There are always many contributing factors to the ongoing success and also the potential failure for promoters when running a large-scale event. Here, Craig Richards and his adept team presented a masterpiece from beginning to end, there are simply too many take-aways to mention, witnessed first hand and open for you to experience when you attend Houghton Festival 2023.
Through our cumulative years of clubbing our tick list is broad on what creates the perfect vibe….. its often unforced and a natural occurrence with a lot of great production driving fluidly behind. Houghton actively re-iterated every single point we judge and day after day, delivered beyond expectation. Reviewing social feeds from DJs to festival goers following the event, the burgeoning love and admiration was clearly echoed across hundreds of personal channels. Websites are awash with rave reviews and an urge to join the activities next year. All attendees were visibly grateful to share un unparalleled production and plugged into the mindset that pushes the envelop forward for future global festivals. Regardless of size, Houghton have set the bar incredibly high and become an influence to be recognised.
Reforming the family of 2019’s planned event, Houghton Festival returned this year with a vengeance. Craig Richards’ masterfully curated world of music, art and dancing revelled in the rural splendour of Norfolk’s countryside spanning from 11th – 14th August with its presiding iconic identity. The sound reverberated through the woods, above the trees and across the lake, encapsulating the personality and raw energy Houghton has uniquely become known for in its short, but legendary history.
As you will have witnessed through the hoards of festivals making their own impact upon the scene, curation and programming are tantamount to providing the best possible experience. All artists were personally invited by Houghton to play, with an emphasis on the extra special. Spontaneous back-to-back sets will be encouraged and longer DJ sets will be the norm. Bespoke world class sound systems from d&b audiotechnik were paired to stages, with music and extended exclusive performances. In addition to the overwhelming music schedule, there were several areas and activities to escape the dance floor including a record fair, movement classes, massages, sauna, sculpture gardens and a floating restaurant (oh and an enigmatic ghost train for those in the know).
Ending with a personalised note from the Houghton team
“To everyone who flew on the journey with us. We thank you for believing in our vision. The dream is now a reality. The collective energy generated from this weekend will carry us into the future. We will see you in 2023 in Norfolk.”
Stay tuned for updates and Houghton Festival 2023 news via www.houghtonfestival.co.uk