10 years strong: Silver Hayes’ birthday bash was more than just a celebration - Features - Mixmag

10 years strong: Silver Hayes’ birthday bash was more than just a celebration

A decade on from its debut, Glastonbury’s Silver Hayes showed why it's one of the best areas to be when the sun is shining down

  • Words: Gemma Ross | Photos: Melissa Gardner, Giulia Spadafora, Eljay Briss, Rob Jones, Naomi Williams
  • 30 June 2023

Silver Hayes to Glastonbury is like water to the earth - it’s become a necessary part of the festival’s North West corner over the years. This year, Silver Hayes turned 10. Yep, a whole decade entertaining Glastonbury’s dance music enthusiasts, and to celebrate, they threw one hell of a party.

The area runs 'til 'til 3:AM across the main nights of the weekend, but it's during the daytime where it comes into its own, waking up the bleary-eyed masses with flawless sets from some of the best names in dance music. Ever tried to be hungover when Hessle Audio are launching into a rowdy six hour takeover from midday under the scorching sun? Impossible.

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As well as a place to 'have it', the Glastonbury area is known for its more reflective offerings, a step away from the non-stop debauchery of Block9 and Shangri-La. Here you’ll find art and science projects, as well as plenty of places to chill, right next door to its number of stages of varying sizes that host some of electronic music’s key players. This year, the bill included SBTRKT, Francesco Del Garda, Jyoty, Digital Mystikz, Nia Archives, Daphni, KI/KI, and Soichi Terada, to name a few.

Silver Hayes also introduced new stages for 2023 to replace a spots like the Sonic stage, which is now no longer. “This year was us relaunching Silver Hayes with our creative vision for the first time,” says Dave Harvey, Area Coordinator of Silver Hayes. “So hopefully everything has changed!”

The Sonic stage is now replaced by The Levels, a whopping multi-layered dance arena that spans a huge portion of Silver Hayes, with some of the best lighting and FX in the area. “We had felt the area needed a big new stage to replace the old Sonic for years, so the idea for The Levels has been knocking around for some time,” says Harvey. “The hugely talented Hidden Corners design and build team came up with the mega concept and we finally got to bring it to life this year, so it really was something very special for everyone involved. Seeing it in action at this year's edition, it felt like it all made sense.”

Vanessa Maria, who performed on The Levels stage this year as part of the Nia Archives & Friends takeover, even dubs it a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”. “The crowd was electric and humongous,” she explains. “7,000 people watching you DJ is insane, best night of my life!”

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The Levels also brought together Danielle and Shanti Celeste, who performed a B2B together on the festival’s opening night. “There was just a general excitement, buzz, and enthusiasm about the place right from the start,” Danielle tells Mixmag. “We weren't sure what to expect from the opening, as being first on anywhere normally means it can take a while for the vibe to get going. There was a general sense of anticipation that had been building before the set, but neither of us expected it to only take 60 seconds to fill up and then stay that way!”

Elsewhere over the weekend, Silver Hayes staple The Lonely Hearts Club brought through a slew of live acts including Earl Sweatshirt, Erika De Casier, and Joy Anonymous - cementing its place as one of the area’s most energetic open-air spots throughout the festival. Smaller stages including The Wow and Firmly Rooted Soundsystem provided a slightly more intimate getaway from the main stages, where you could expect to hear a constant stream of garage, jungle, dubstep, and every low-end offering in between.

Another new addition this year included the Hayes Pavillion, a landmark new project combining art and science to explore mushrooms, mycology and mycelium. The Arts Council-backed project looked this year at a fungi future for the creative industries and the adoption of biomaterials in a new immersive space, offering punters to come inside and explore.

The Information also made its debut his year in the Silver Hayes area, hosting talks throughout the weekend focusing on ‘pressing musical and cultural issues’ and opening up the debate between musicians, featuring DJs and producers including LCY, Dr Dubplate, and NAINA, as well as Arsenal FC footballer Jen Beattie MBE, author Moses Mckenzie, artist Jeremy Deller. “The Information is a talks area we’ve been running at various events in Bristol since 2016, so it was really exciting to bring it to Worthy Farm for the first time this year,” Harvey explains.

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“We had some amazing panels covering all sorts - from the likes of Stormzy’s Merky Books to Sports Banger in conversation with Jeremy Deller, to Emma Warren and Nina from Rough Trade Books talking about Books As Weapons, to Arsenal and the Lioness' Jen Beattie talking about how women’s football has come on since the Euros, so a really diverse spread.”

Check out some of the best photos from Silver Hayes’ enormous, extravagant 10th birthday below.

Photos by: Melissa Gardner, Giulia Spadafora, Eljay Briss, Rob Jones, Naomi Williams

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

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