I have never been a big fan of music festivals, the thought of thousands of teenagers jumping, drinking, mixed with mud and soil and camping out for nights with techno at 2am. Nope.
Until, I came across Houghton Festival last weekend - an art and music festival curated by Craig Richards and produced by Gottwood.
“Some while ago now Gottwood approached me to curate a new gathering in Norfolk. I’ve always seen myself as more of a collector than a curator. I’m also much more of an artist than an organiser. I made it clear that the people invited would be chosen on merit. All will be chefs not waiters. All are artists whose talent I value immensely. It is my ntentio that the festival represents the very best in electronic music and those performing are closest to my ear and record box.” ~ Craig Richards
Settled at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, it was a 2-hour drive from London with beautiful scenery. It was a good combination of English country-ness and hipster vibe. Each stage felt like its own contained world and experience was totally immersive. Walking into the woods to The Pavilion, an open-air stage among the woods, sound of water, techno on the far end with scent of wet wood chips filled the air yep that's the ode to a perfect weekend - of course add to that a poor phone signal, you're out of the world!
Of course, I didn't just came for the music. I came for the art. Houghton featured an art tour taking guests into the hidden gems of Houghton Hall - the idea was to fuse music with art and sculpture from a range of visionary and critically acclaimed artists. The site itself provides a naturally artistic setting featuring a range of impressive work from James Turrell, Zhan Wang to Richard Long. James Turrell's Skyspace has got to be my favorite, where you can just spend hours looking up into the 'skyspakce' - a canvas painted by nature, envisioned by Turrell, spectacular!
I certainly will not hesitate to go back again next year. It was a very well-done, well-curated, well-organized event, I simply couldn't believe it was the inaugural year. There are plenty of festivals in secluded locations with good music plus 'trying' to make it artsy but adding some so-called artist booth here and there, very few was able to fuse art and music truly in this magical way.