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“Dance like it’s your final night on earth”: 5 club crews look forward to We Out Here

We ask key artists and club crews what they are looking forward to at this year’s festival

  • Words By: Seb Wheeler | Photography by: Dan Medhurst
  • 19 August 2021

The inaugural edition of We Out Here put Gilles Peterson’s festival in the firm position of one of the best weekender’s in the UK. It’s curation of the new UK jazz movement and the most exciting faces in dance music made for a fusion irresistible to anyone with half an ear plugged to the underground.

Now the festival is back for its 2021 edition, a sold-out show that sticks true to its ethos of combining live music and DJs while also expanding with more stages and some neat touches (roller disco anyone?)

We talked to five key club crews and artists about the festival, having one of the first proper raves for nearly two years and how clubs and festivals could transform from here on in.

FAITH (Stuart Patterson and Dave Jarvis)

What are you looking forward to at We Out Here?

Stuart: Playing music to like-minded, open-minded folks under the stars. it's quite an honour to be playing for me, I’m very chuffed!

Dave: After going to the very first one which was such a great experience: the location, the acts, the DJs, food stalls and just the general organisation and accommodation. It was all was spot on and I was gutted that it got cancelled last year so I’m really looking forward to coming back again.

What can we expect from Faith at this year’s festival?

Stuart: Same as it ever was: quality house and disco spread across six decades of heritage and culture. Hopefully, serious music mixed in a fun way.

Dave: Friends who came to the first one and also some other friends who didn’t make the first one but have heard so many good things about this festival.

How are you feeling about the return of live music and festivals?

Stuart: Excited. Dancing is in our DNA and we need to let loose and express ourselves once more.

Dave: It’s an honour for Faith to be asked to be a part of We Out Here and after 22 years together we will be bringing the spirit of Faith to the woods!

How are you feeling about the return of UK clubland?

Stuart: I think it's not time to 'save our scene’, it's time to rebuild it better. If the scene is about the same big agency line-ups dominating festivals, agents taking the piss and DJs earning more in 2 hours than what the average clubber earns in a year then it’s not worth saving.

Dave: I can’t wait. The chance to be outside with your friends, listening to great music and basically just being able to socialise again – doing what we love.

Any final thoughts?

Stuart: Dance like it's your final night on earth, we owe it to those who haven't made it through the pandemic to do so.

Dave: I’m over-excited - I can’t wait. Come rain or shine it’s going to be amazing.

Mr Scruff

What are you looking forward to at We Out Here?

Being immersed in beautiful music all weekend, while surrounded by a fantastic, respectful, vibrant, positive and diverse community of music lovers. Hopefully under a bright sun.

Who are you bringing with you to this year’s festival?

My wife (who is also DJing there with Eve’s Drop collective) and my 10-year-old daughter. We will be there for the whole weekend.

What can we expect from Mr Scruff's Keep It Unreal at this year’s festival?

A musical celebration of who we are as a community.

How are you feeling about the return of live music + festivals?

I feel hopeful for all the promoters, crew and organisers who have had such a difficult and uncertain time over the last 16 months. We have a lot of practices to improve right across the music industry, but I feel that some of the financial pressures that people are under will make it difficult to avoid going back to the way things were, which, whilst creating an enjoyable environment for many people, also result in a lot of exploitation.

How are you feeling about the return of UK clubland?

In many ways I feel like we need to start from scratch again, supporting the people who are in it for the right reasons, creating and sharing some guidelines for good practice, and building a strong, community foundation around local venues, artists and music lovers. I sense a bit of a divide coming between the people who want to return to normal, and those who want to try & change things for the better.

Any final thoughts?

I think that if, as a community, we don’t use this 16-month pause to look at the way we did things, and to move forward with a new, healthier and more equitable approach, we have missed a great opportunity. The way we pay and look after our up and coming artists, the behaviour that we tolerate in our venues and events, the diversity of our staff, crew, performers and audience members, the way we acknowledge, learn about and celebrate the roots of the music (and the musicians) that we enjoy, the way we pave the way & encourage the next generations of DJs, producers, performers and music lovers, the way we support and include local independent businesses and organisations, the way our industry impacts the environment and more.

I think that as an example of how to run an event, taking into account all this, We Out Here is among the best team I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and the respect that the event is held in by both attendees and performers is testament to this.

Fabio & Grooverider

What are you looking forward to at We Out Here?

We are looking forward to playing to a massive crowd!!! 16 months with no crowds so very excited for every single one we get to do our thing in front of!

Who are you bringing with you to this year’s festival?

We are bringing each other!

What can we expect from you both at this year’s festival?

Expect a Fabio & Grooverider drum ‘n’ bass and jungle rinse out!

How are you feeling about the return of live music + festivals?

Really happy and excited! Happy the government did the right thing!

How are you feeling about the return of UK clubland?

We are excited and eager to get back to it, you can't beat a sweaty tear up in a club!

Any final thoughts?

See you all at We Out Here – can’t wait!

Secretsundaze

What are you looking forward to at We Out Here?

Many things! Actually staying for a couple of days and not rushing off will be nice. The last weekends’ have seen a flurry of gigs for us but few that we could stick around for after playing so yeah, kicking back a little. Heard the site is stunning from people that played previously. Artist wise it’s more like who are we not looking forward to see / hear from. There are so many faves there but Children Of Zeus, Goya Gumbani, IG Culture, Josey, Str4ta, Alex Nut, Mathew Halsall, Shy One and our old friend Lakuti all jump out.

Who are you bringing with you to this year’s festival?

I'd imagine James might be bringing his girlfriend but I'm not sure. Me, I'm keeping it open at the moment but quite likely my friend Millie.

What can we expect from Secretsundaze at this year’s festival?

We always keep things loose and don't plan too much. It very much depends on the size of the stage, set timings and who plays either side of us etc to influence the direction we go in but we've always got deep crates so will be prepared.

How are you feeling about the return of live music + festivals?

Very excited really. It has been an interesting but of course challenging year and we have appreciated the time out and reset but it’s been amazing to get back to it and the vibes so far have been very strong. Of course there's slight nervousness around events but this seems to quickly dissipate once people get into the spirit of things. It seems to be heading in the right direction. Fingers crossed it continues!

Any final thoughts?

Let's goooooooooooo!

Touching Bass (Errol Anderson)

What are you looking forward to at We Out Here?

More than anything, I'm just looking forward to being around our people again. After the year that we've all faced, imagine how good it will feel to play copious amounts of loud music surrounded by loads of dancing bodies that we know and love?! This year's WOH is literally like a massive musical youth club featuring a lot of our friends and contemporaries; musicians and artists that are all at the forefront of everything that's current and sonically exciting in the UK. It promises to be something very special...

What can we expect from Touching Bass at this year’s festival?

Our first We Out Here experience will be pretty tough to beat, to be honest. In that debut year, The Forest stage quickly cemented itself as the destination for anyone in need of some belly-rumbling music; ourselves included. It was hands down my favourite place to be throughout the weekend: the quadraphonic soundsystem, fairylike surroundings and sheer energy of it were so on point.

We hosted Touching Bass there on Saturday and certainly never held back. Hosting Theo Parrish at a Touching Bass was a personal bucket list moment considering he's one of the main reasons I started playing and he was on FIRE. All the selectors were on top form (shouts to Ruby Savage and Alex Rita) and I still get a warm, otherworldly feeling when I think about that night. On top of that, Theo had such nice things to say about us and what we're doing and quite a few people have messaged us saying that it was the best night of music they've ever had. Quite the compliment.

Believe it or not, this year we're back and bigger than ever. As well as returning to the forest for a heavyweight, gunfinger-a-plenty night with some special guests, we're also taking over the mainstage in the daytime with Athletic Progression and Demae; two acts on our growing record label.

On Saturday, Touching Bass: Day & Night will be the place to be, trust us.

How are you feeling about the return of live music + festivals?

Naturally, I'm super gassed by the prospect of playing and listening to loads of great music with friends in a mahoosive field or something similar. If this past year has taught me anything though, it's to just be patient and see how things pan out with restrictions and the like. Touching Bass had multiple events sell out and then be cancelled during 2020, so we're just keeping everything crossed that we can get together.

Even when things do open up, I know we'll be airing caution when it comes to capacity and creating space for our dance. As tempting as it is, ramming up a venue to full capacity and beyond is not only bad for dancing/breathing room but just doesn't feel right at this moment.

Any final thoughts?

Keep your eyes and ears locked on Touching Bass over the next few months. We've been quietly getting some exciting projects together and we can't wait to share them.

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