Despite the burning sun, booming thunder, and pouring rain, Noisily Festival 2023 was a roaring success. Taking place in a beautiful patch of woodland just outside of Grantham, Noisily is a riot of colour, energy, and, well, noise, and that hasn’t changed with its movement to a new site.
The vibrant atmosphere and energy from the Nosely Estate have been fully transferred to the festival’s new location, which comes with several benefits. One significant advantage is its level ground. Although some mourn the absence of hillside seating near the stages, many people view this as a positive change. It is especially appreciated by those with additional accessibility requirements, who consider it a blessing.
The festival has a strong musical emphasis, showcasing top-tier selections from DnB, techno, house, and psytrance genres, along with a sprinkle of niche electronic styles. Initially, there were plans to feature Neurofunk and Psydub stages, but due to limited ticket sales, they had to be excluded, although those genres were still represented. Essentially, if you’re looking to explore various bands, this festival may not cater to your preferences.
However, the non-musical aspects of Noisily, such as its talks, workshops, and circus performances, are remarkably impressive. These elements shine particularly in the Mind Body Soul area, which provides a diverse array of venues for engaging talks and workshops, including sessions by the UK psychedelic society on the art of psychedelic storytelling.
As I’m not exactly the typical music fan, my standout moments were quite peculiar. One Thursday evening, the art gallery (not just a stage but an actual gallery showcasing mind-blowing art pieces available for purchase) hosted an incredible session of funky psydub. Then, on Friday, I was captivated by a performer at the Mind Stage who skillfully incorporated saxophone loops into their act. In a more expected fashion, Goldie delivered an exceptional closing performance at the Noisily stage, even though he wasn’t necessarily aligned with the festival’s usual style. Surprisingly, a significant portion of the attendees thoroughly enjoyed his set.
Surprisingly, many individuals expressed strong approval for a particular pizza stall’s sound system. Although I personally didn’t enjoy what I heard (unlike their mouthwatering pizza), it contributes to an encouraging trend of vendors making an effort to have DJs (even if recruited spontaneously on-site) and playing appropriate music, rather than simply relying on outdated top forty playlists from three years ago.
Nosily boasts an impressive circus performance that sets it apart. With a dedicated large area, talented performers, and numerous workshops, the festival stands out as one of the country’s finest for jugglers, spinners, and acrobats. A standout moment was the Pantheatrix fire show, where skillful handling of burning paraffin showcased lesser-known fire props with remarkable expertise.
Nevertheless, despite being held at a new site, the festival had its imperfections. One major issue was sound bleed, which affected the enchanting woodland area where three trees were utilized to control lights and sound using innovative technology. Despite the sound bleed, the experience was still enjoyable. However, this problem persisted across the entire festival site. The excessive proximity of numerous sound systems and stages without any measures to address this resulted in a negative impact on the overall ambiance of the festival. As a consequence, it became a more intense and less soothing experience than necessary, particularly for individuals with sensory sensitivities.
Interestingly, a significant portion of the music was surprisingly low in volume. Despite widespread complaints on Facebook about this matter, I personally don’t strongly object to it. Preventing sound bleed and not irritating neighbors are crucial factors when launching an event at a new location. Moreover, there were issues, possibly linked to a delayed wheat harvest, that resulted in certain individuals residing in vehicles having to camp far away from the festival in a car park without any amenities.
The site faced challenges coping with the heavy rain over the weekend. Some areas developed thick mud, while most of the site became slippery clay. Almost everyone experienced at least one fall, and there was limited on-site shelter available. Customers with accessibility issues encountered significant difficulties, and due to the distance between the festival and their campsite, many chose not to endure the harsh conditions.
Despite the evident drawbacks, Noisily remains an exceptionally delightful experience. The enchanting ambiance of the wooded site creates a magical atmosphere, and the remarkable attire worn by the majority of the Noisily Family enhances this impression.
When it comes to the Noisily Family, the festival’s attendees are perhaps its greatest highlight. I genuinely encountered only wonderful individuals throughout the event. It’s a beautiful, chaotic, and delightfully eccentric mix of truly amazing people who choose to embrace this place as their temporary home for a weekend, and that, in my opinion, is what truly sets Noisily apart.
Whether you’re a fan of Psytrance, Techno, DnB, or House, attending Noisily is highly recommended. Even if your familiarity with these genres is limited, the festival promises an incredible experience. If you enjoy vibrant parties, chances are you’ll absolutely adore it. However, please refrain from attending if you have a disrespectful attitude.