A seamless transition to their new site...

Despite a weather forecast of rain all day, the grounds of Wymeswold Forest remained dry and mud-free as thousands of glitter-covered 18-25-year-olds got stuck in at Forbidden Forest’s new home on the outskirts of Loughborough. Relocating from Donington Park in Derbyshire to a larger tree-covered site next to a solar farm meant more stages, a bigger capacity and new, innovative set designs... 

Though there were some negatives (lengthy queues, stages opening later than scheduled, and Will Clarke and Lauren Lane mysteriously disappearing from the line-up) the festival itself retained a communal, friendly, atmosphere throughout - bringing house heads and drum ‘n’ bsss ravers together for a genre-hopping party deep in the woods.

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While Darkzy, My Nu Leng and Holy Goof got hundreds jumping at the Beastwang-hosted Abbey, and SASASAS and DJ Hype delivered high-energy sets at the Playaz stage, some of the biggest labels and promoters in house and techno music ensured the remaining three areas were busy from start to finish.

Fast-rising London-based party Solid Grooves took over the train carriage-like Express with house rollers from Pawsa, Route 94 and Michael Bibi getting guys in Nike jackets shuffling. The Rift meanwhile, with its constant stream of bubbles floating overhead, delivered a tech-house marathon hosted by Manchester promoters Kaluki; Abode regular GW Harrison packed the stage early on with his own heater ‘I’ll Make You Go’ before Leftwing & Kody delivered a fun and carefree set, getting everyone to lose their inhibitions and move to their remix of Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’.

Over at the industrialist Reactor stage - which resembled a sort of abandoned nuclear factory (visually, it was the most impressive) - cannons blasted CO2 while there was no shortage of pyrotechnics on display.

Boasting the biggest line-up of the day - curated by MK as an Area 10 party - house music favourites Huxley, Shadow Child and a decade-spanning career-best headline set from Mark Kinchen himself ensured the vast space between the trees was busy all day long.

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Some newer names on the scene also got a chance to shine there: Eli Brown proved himself as a rising talent with pumping selections like Alan Fitzpatrick’s now-iconic ‘Turn Down The Lights’ and Rogue D’s recently-released screamer ‘Chains’.

Six hours passed almost instantly and Clash was back at the Rift stage, right at the front and immersed in a sky of coloured confetti as the biggest name in dance music right now, Camel Phat, delivered a crowd-pleasing set of their biggest anthems ‘Panic Room’ and ‘Cola’...

By curating an impressive line-up - massive headline names mixed with newer lesser-known talents - and a well thought out festival site where the focus was on production, Forbidden Forest retained its place at the forefront of the Midlands’ music scene.

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Words: Ben Jolley

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