No Man’s Land
May bank holiday weekend laid host to one of the first festivals of the season; No Man’s Land. The three day Friday-Sunday event was set in the Dorset countryside and the drive down from Bath to the festival was enjoyable, passing areas of natural beauty and rolling hills. Myself and Max, one of our photographers, arrived on site at around 3pm on the Friday and by then the camp site was already beginning to fill up. Whilst setting up our beds for the weekend the thump of one of the nearest soundsystems set the vibe for festival to come! Although plenty of genres were on offer at No Mans Land there was definitely a “free party” interest with Trance, Techno and its sub-genres playing a big part for the festival. After we had secured our spot it was time to explore and begin capturing the essence of the event, we grabbed food from one of the many choices available and walked around the site capturing a few pictures as the sun was high in the sky.
Friday night was mostly spent in the Bass Station tent soaking up the Drum and Bass from two big stacks; one of which was projection mapped making for an intense light show coupled with the overhead lasers and strobes. Headliners in the Bass Station were no other than Dispatch Recordings signee DLR and C.I.A Records founder Total Science (who we got to talk to after his set on the night), they both supplied the weight of which they are known for and all together the stage delved into everything breaks. The rest of Friday was split between the other stages on offer, The Enchanted Woods supplying more euphoric Trance and Techno with a projection mapped pyramid stage offering multi-coloured kaleidoscope patterns for ravers to fixate on, headlining the woodland stage was Swiss artist Khainz providing four the floor vibes. The Techno Dome which easily the loudest sound system on offer, did exactly as the name suggests pumping out Techno grooves all night with a Jah Scoop live set being the pinnacle of the stage that night and finally The Asylum, the biggest of all the stages at the festival providing an impressive light show and sound system from Shakedown Audio Solutions. Headlining The Asylum were Brightons, Far Too Loud and Breaks, Reggae and DnB crossover act Freefall Collective making for a good mix of beats on Friday.
On Saturday we began the day by finding some well earned bacon and relaxing in the sun with some food before heading down the to the first act on the Planet Grunt stage, a Ska/Punk/Reggae seven piece called Offbeat Offensive and they certainly started Saturday afternoon off with the right vibe. After, we went to meet up with the other members of the Subsource team, Callum and Emma, to help them set up their tent and get the camera equipment ready for another day of exploring the festival and next up on the schedule for us was Channel One Soundsystem who got everyone onto their feet and moving even throughout the brief bit of rain they kept providing the Dub/Reggae vibes. Not long after Channel One and passing through The Enchanted Woods we stumbled upon Benny Page playing The Asylum stage, the Digital Soundboy signee and High Culture Recordings owner provided the Reggae, Ragga and Dub inspired Drum and Bass vibes whilst the crowd soaked it up, it made for a great warm up for the Saturday night. Later on after some food and a few drinks we went to have some laughs at the headline act of the Planet Grunt stage for Saturday, Cassetteboy a DJ and VJ act who mash up popular content with topical news to create a unique offering and it definitely made for comic effect. The rest of Saturday night offered Cut & Run on The Asylum stage K4NE and Ace Ventura live set in The Enchanted Woods and Chris Liberator in The Techno Dome until stumbling back to the tents and getting some well earned rest.
Sunday began with Chinese food for breakfast and some last shots and footage from the festival site, we then had a last look round at the stages and music on offer in the early afternoon and then went to deconstruct our campsite and head off home. The production value at No Mans Land was certainly not a last minute conjuring, it was clear that a lot of thought had gone into the aesthetic of the festival with the light shows, projection mapped stages and sound systems, puppet shows and all sorts of fire dancers, LED hula-hoop and pole enthusiasts it made for a diverse experience. Each stage/area had its own build also with the old rusty steam train and DJ booth carriage of the Bass Station stopping at all breakbeat oriented stations to the pyramid in The Enchanted Woods with dreamcatchers and kaleidoscope patterns projected onto the stage to keep ravers dancing till the AM, The Asylum built up into the tree-lines strictly for patients of the dance floor, The Techno Dome doing exactly what it says pumping four to the floor vibes into the enclosed dome and the Plane Grunt stage giving a live music alternative to the electronic music found at the other stages with a bundle of genres on offer.
Myself and the Subsource team want to thank everyone at the festival for the experience, we had a brilliant time with no trouble. A diverse collective of people attended the festival to experience a unique look back to “the good old days” of rave culture and free parties in the woods, something we all miss. However the No Man’s Land team deliver a niche festival with a friendly atmosphere and underground music and we can’t wait to go back next year, thanks to No Man’s Land Festival for having us!
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