Words: Mike Mode
February 6, 2024

In a few short years Craig Richards’ Houghton Festival has become one of the most important events in the global electronic music underground, something like a technological spacecraft that touches down in the enchanted corners of a neo-Palladian mansion from the 1700s. It’s an electronic music paradise and a space for the scene’s ever forward motion.

The line up announced today is unparalleled, with a mouth watering abundance of Houghton debuts for 2024; Dopplereffekt live av, Moodymann, Mala, African Head Charge live, Actress, Alabaster De Plume live, Barker live, Daniel Avery, Grace Sands, James Massiah live, John Tejada with Reggie Watts live, Or:la, Sherelle, Skee Mask, Serge (Clone) plus many more, alongside these the returning regulars of the festival. Everywhere you look is a tessellated design of complementary practitioners. With Craig’s contacts book built up after 30 years and his curatorial nous, it’s a collection of performances that couldn’t be put together anywhere else on earth.

“Every festival makes its own journey,” says Craig “ours has been extraordinary and unique on so many levels. Two super years where we experienced a vision of the future and gained a loyal following. A subsequent 3 years of cancellation due to an unimaginable storm and  Covid. We returned on a hot and dusty year, determined to re-engage with our audience and our statement. Every single step of the way we focused on belief and longevity. It made us stronger and more determined.”

“Last year we felt that we came nearer to the festival we envisaged eight years ago whilst it was in its infancy. We are incredibly proud of our yearly gathering in Norfolk, it felt logical that we consider 2023 year 1 and therefore in many ways just the beginning. Every year we evolve our presentation of this long term project and with this in mind we are delighted to present the music programme for Houghton year 2 (in its eighth year).”

“Offering a glimpse into Craig Richards’ kaleidoscopic musical mind, the 2023 edition solidified its status as one of the UK’s best dance music festivals.” Resident Advisor
“One of the most important events on the UK’s electronic music calendar; an extraterrestrial electronic opera with an immaculate attention to detail.” DJ Mag
​​‘A utopic retreat like no other’ The Independent

As well as evolving and directing the path ahead, the beloved non replicable Houghton-isms will return this year. The music will run for 24 hours, with DJs allocated longer set times, multiple sets across the weekend and surprise Back to Backs. Craig arrived at this programming philosophy through his experience as one of the culture’s greatest DJs, in reaction to the one hour sets normally allocated at festivals. With Houghton, he engineers the perfect environment for playing records he wanted to see out there, with the space to go deeper (and sometimes more hypnotically). Like in the world’s greatest clubs, the booths are often at crowd level rather than on far off stages. There is the exacting attention to detail in the production with all mixing consoles equipped to play vinyl to the highest spec.

Houghton’s ongoing collaboration with d&b audiotechnik had created an obsession with sound; each stage has its own unique sonic, whether warehouse or woodland. They also install the jaw dropping 360 degree Soundscape system in The Warehouse, which combined with screen based visual content creates the ultimate AV experience.

In addition Houghton Hall’s world class sculpture park has a permanent collection of Turrell, Kapoor, Gander, Scully that festival attendees can visit, and this year Antony Gormely is the artist in residence. The festival aims to complement this with its own art commissions, wellness area and food offering, all to be announced soon.  An added ingredient of its ineffable allure is the lack of smartphone reception in the parkland of the Hall. The beneficial outcome of which is complete immersion in the moment, with real time social media posting impossible.



Website here

Tickets on RA here