Festival Review – 51st State Festival, Trent Park

This is one of those Festivals where there were fly-posters literally everywhere for this, promoting quite a stacked line-up of House & Dance Music DJs, most of which geared towards 90s-early 2000s acts so would attract an older audience (…including me!)

Located in Trent Park, literally 10-15mins walk from Cockfosters station, my friend and me decided to go on Saturday to check it out. We went early-afternoon and found no big hassle to get there as soon as we left the station – you have to walk quite a bit to get to the main ticket area (as the Festival site was in a massive field) but no real standing/waiting around to get in – and some thorough searching too.

The first thing I thought when I got there was literally how huge the grounds were – I honestly had thought it might have been a little smaller given this festival was a bit more ’boutique’ given it’s line-up, but it’s massive – essentially a long stretch of field with various tents, bars and funfair rides to the left and right, with the Main Stage at the very back.

There were are around 5/6 tents that each had a stage within it, each with a particular theme/vibe too, for Soul/Jazz, House, UK Garage etc as well as the Main Stage, one of the tents even an 80s Roller Disco too! The BackTo95 stage was by far the most popular, it was rammed all day but had a solid line of up of UK Garage pioneer DJs from start-to-finish. The concept of this was so well done, considering nearly each tent had a unique ‘host’ MC bringing out each DJ, as well as having the stage times at the entrance of every tent too (a tiny but very useful thing, so you’re not checking your phone/app to find out which DJ is playing where/when!) it felt really well organised/relaxed compared to other festivals I’ve been too.

Other than the stages, you had lots of different Bars on all sides of the festival – annoyingly, they were all pretty rammed and would take up to an hour to get through the queue, however, given it was 30 degree heat, it wasn’t that surprising – there were plenty of running water taps though – a massive plus – that made sure we were hydrated, something that most festivals don’t have enough of, I think!

The Main Stage was huge – but no bigger than Lovebox’s for example – there wasn’t crazy lighting/fireworks but rather two video screens to the left- and right-hand sides of the main stage. The space was really big and wide and had plenty of room to move about it – there was a really good crowd all day so no elbows/people barging through (a rarity for London events!) and overall a good vibe – especially the Soul singers they had really set the mood before each DJ set.

One final point should be the sound – all the stages had great quality sound systems and – no matter if it was in the enclosed tent stages or on the main stage itself – the thumping bass and treble was perfect, with no humming or vibrations near the speakers – the organisers certainly knew what they were doing with this and made each DJ enjoyable to watch.

Overall, a really great Event with well-organised stages, great line-up, and an appreciative/ good crowd and lots of drinking spots – will certainly check it out next year!

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