Visioned by a group of fellow ravers, Forbidden Forest was born with the intention of creating a rave not subdued by the restrictions found with most warehouse-based and enclosed events. After two years and a new venue for their second outing of 2018 at Wymeswold Forest, the woodland realm has taken the underground scene by storm, developing a cult like following for their two annual shows. With a mixture of genres from drum & bass to tech house, the festival attracts a crowd from all corners of the UK.
September’s stint saw a new home for Forbidden Forest, their previous base of Donnington Park in Derby served as an entry point to their journey, however their next venture would welcome their growing following into the woods of Wymeswold Forest. Previously a World War II firing range and training ground for the Ministry Of Defence, the now overgrown, dense area would act as an ideal spot for a forest rave.
Beer/Cider : 5 credits
Wine : 5.5 credits
Spirit & Mixer : 6.25 credits
Water : 3 credits
The festival ran a cashless wristband system for drinks, with credits mirroring the same in cash value. Prices were fairly standard, unless you enjoy a spirit which would set you back a fair bit. Variety of some drinks could also be improved, with only Red Stripe on offer in terms of lagers. However, the slush cocktails were a game-changer, albeit for 7 quid a pop. Food stalls were also present, serving a range of delicacies from Chinese to burgers.
Unforeseen issues prior to opening left door staff rushed off their feet to get bodies through the door during opening. However, once inside bar staff couldn’t be more helpful, serving with a smile and keeping queue times to a minimum across the many bars on site.
Despite the initial queue, the spirits of the young and energetic crowd were not dampened in the slightest. Faces from around the country both local and travelling put the issues behind them and enjoyed the unique and impressive festival set up, which they’d been eagerly waiting for.
The dreaded English weather occasionally took it’s toll on the day, with rain showers making an appearance, however the festival put in place intelligent measures to ensure the experience remained positive. Wooden shards were scattered across the turf surrounding stage areas to prevent the ground becoming muddy and un-raveable. The natural enclosure creating by the woodland area also acted as a great shelter from the brunt of the rain.
Production & Sound
Across the 3 house stages in action, saw a truly creative and imaginative set up. Kaluki’s home for the day “The Rift” acted as large concrete wall, with a gaping hole in the centre of the stage housing the DJs. One particular surprise on this stage came from a sudden army of bubbles, yes bubbles rising from the stage. A different touch which certainly caught the crowd’s attention. Solid Grooves set up camp at “The Express” comprised of an old Orient Express train carriage, whilst MK’s concept Area 10 took over the main stage; “The Reactor”. The main stage being our pick of the three, adding a real industrial wasteland feel to the area.
Between the stages were plenty of colours in action, with intelligent lighting firing beams, strobes and par lights into the crowd. Additional production on the main arena saw dazzling lasers, sparklers, confetti drops and eruptions of expertly directed Co2 cannons, mirroring a reactive explosion from the appropriately named stage.
A solid assortment of twin line arrays found themselves onto the stages in action, and whilst this worked well at the majority of stages, issues with the The Rift’s sound left some unfortunate crackling belting out of the speaker at times. This however takes nothing away from the quality of the audio for the remainder of the day, which fired it’s way through the forest.
Having started his DJ career quite early in life, Andrea Oliva has had quite the journey towards becoming a headline act. After becoming a regular feature for Ushuaia’s house phenomenon; United Ants, he’s since grown to become more than just a founding member of the colony. His signature production style and expert use of bass-heavy, groovy beats have made him one of the standout artists of our time and an ideal addition to the Kaluki stage.
Keeping in check with the forest theme he spun one of his own records early on titled “Welcome to the Jungle”, the wild animalistic beat setting the vibe perfectly in the paddock of trees. Camelphat’s remix of Wade’s “Boyz in da hood” later made an appearance, the catchy vocals ringing through the woods as the Kaluki stage erupted with bubbles. The arrival of one of Andrea’s more recent hard rolling productions “Terrace” was a particular highlight, followed soon after by the fan favourite; “Scream” leaving the entire crowd’s arms in the air and raring to go for the remainder of the day.
Returning to the forest to fill his regular spot, London based high-flyer George Harrison stepped up once again to deliver a pumping house set. Having played every year since it’s inception, the ABODE resident has seen the festival grow to it’s renowned status today, as thousands watched on from the crowd.
Taking over from a surprise b2b between Alisha and Pirate Copy, George ensured he kept the energy high, with both his chart killing tracks “Spaceman” and “When House Takes A Journey” thumping out the soundsystem. Composing a ear-catching vibe and keeping the crowd on their toes, he dropped KiNK’s groovy dance anthem “Perth”, before the recognisable vocals to Klanguesntler’s remix of “Be” left the busy stage in high spirits as he handed over the reigns.
Having had close ties to the industry for some time, Simon Neale aka Shadow Child has dabbled in many aspects of the underground scene. Previously exploring the sounds of drum & bass, electro and house, the musical pioneer has developed quite the ear. In 2012 he made a point of returning to the house scene and dropped an EP on Claude VonStroke’s Dirtybird imprint which shook the scene. The A-side track “String Thing” received a huge impression around the world. Many more notable releases followed, resulting in the artist becoming one of the scene’s long-standing heroes.
Playing before Area 10 boss; MK on The Reactor stage, Shadow Child had just the tools to send his crowd into the pinnacle of the night. Kicking off with an acid dub of his recent release “Raise your hands” instantly created a buzz as the main stage filled with ravers. Shortly after, DJ Wady & Patrick M’s “Hulk” ripped through the speakers with it’s breakbeat tones adding a unique flavour to the set. A highlight of the performance came from Eats Everything’s iconic track “Dancing”, ingeniously mixed together with the vocals of “Jack” by Breach. The drop exploded through the woods, nearly taking the leaves off the trees.
Settling in to a new home is never easy, there’s always a few teething problems to address. Despite this, the experience once in the festival was quite spectacular and a real fresh offering amongst the busy festival schedule. Small touches to the event such as the wooden shards keeping the ground firm and the uniquely designed stages were a clear example of the thought put into the event. Not to mention the jam-packed lineup. For future years, further care with sound quality and developments to the entry/exit system will be great to see, as FF continues it’s upward journey. 7/10
Here & Now