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Sunday 16th
posted by Morning Star in Arts

Noisily Festival

Coney Woods, Leicestershire


Set in the deepest and darkest woods of Leicestershire, amid rolling hills and billowing skylines, Noisily is one of the many smaller and more intimate music festivals whose popularity is on the rise among those keen to avoid overwhelming, city-sized megafests like Glastonbury.

Growing from just a few hundred attendees six years ago, Noisily now has a capacity of a mere 3,500 and organisers want to keep it that way.

There's a mastery of the art of set design like no other festival, with five unique custom-built stages tucked away in their own little glades deep down in Coney Woods, making the site a pleasure to explore.

There are more than a few surprises along the way — just outside the woods is a large circular encampment that feels almost native Indian, though without the cultural appropriation.

Each tipi has various workshops going on including sacred singing, talks and meditations, as well as niche yoga sessions.

One of the more fascinating talks was by the Reverend Danny Nemu, whose book Getting High with the Most High: Drugs in the Bible basically demonstrates how everyone in the Good Book was probably off their trolley.

Astrophysicist Ben Burningham, who clearly has Carl Sagan's gift of the gab in expressing his profound knowledge in layman's terms, talked about life on other planets and set up his telescope on clear nights to allow festival-goers to look at the Moon's craters and Saturn's rings.

In the University of Life tent, there was a brilliant introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness that included a couple of meditations to get people into the festival mindset.

The holistic ethos of Noisily is ultimately its big drawing point, providing a welcome reprieve when your legs can dance no more at the various stages dedicated to techno, psy-trance and drum and bass, where there were great sets from Beardyman, LTJ Bukem, Gaudi, Dominik Eulberg and System 7 among others.

And if yoga didn't hit the spot with festival-goers, there were more than a few fire shows to enjoy from performers braving blazing hula-hoops and spinning around flaming ropes.

If Boomtown is like Glastonbury's Shangri-La district rolled into one festival then Noisily is like the Green Fields and Glade combined. Words can't describe exactly why Noisily gets it so right, but get it right they do.

Review by Will Stone