This Alchemy Festival article was written by Zoe Anderson, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse
The original music festivals of the 1960’s such as Woodstock and The Monterey Pop Festival flourished on an atmosphere of togetherness and freethinking. Even in today’s overly saturated festival market there are still a few gatherings that stay true to these ideals.
Alchemy Festival of Lincolnshire is certainly one of these rare examples and could almost be described as utopian in its execution. It bursts with a kind of ‘arts and crafts/DIY’ enthusiasm and it feels like the organisers care deeply about what they are doing and who they are doing it for. Because of this, Alchemy is a wonderful melting pot of colourful set pieces, varied music and general good vibes.
This small, non-commercial gathering has been going strong for six years and has attracted a regular following, mainly of those local to the Lincolnshire area. Alchemy’s main ethos lies in its affordability and accessibility. The tickets, workshops and stalls are all cheap enough that a wide range of incomes are catered for. For all these reasons and many more Alchemy is well worth a visit; you’ll be enthralled by the music and moved by how friendly and generous everyone is.
For a festival so small there were some surprisingly big names on the bill. Reggae fusionist Ed Solo and the heavy-hitting Asian Dub Foundation were a few of the names to headline on the Saturday night, whilst The Rat Pack graced one of the larger stages on the Sunday.
Ed Solo in particular delivered an energetic set, which got the whole crowd jumping. Even during the larger acts there was always a comfortable amount of skanking room, a thing so rare at other music festivals. With no official programme made available you were encouraged to wander around and explore the site to see what you could find. Rather than relying on one large stage, the site was littered with smaller stages that remarkably never really filled up. If you have a sense of spontaneity this set up was a perfect opportunity to see some music that you would never usually encounter
Alchemy is an extremely psychedelic festival. Whatever time of day you happened to be ambling around the site, your ears were constantly filled with the heavy beat of psytrance. Two of the stages were almost entirely devoted to this intense, niche genre, so it goes without saying that if psytrance is not your cup of tea, then Alchemy might not be right for you. The trippy art pieces helped support the otherworldly atmosphere set up by the music, making Alchemy wonderfully immersive.
If you have an adventurous side then Alchemy is certainly a place to allow it to flourish. Walking around at night was an adventure in itself as the only light available was that of the numerous little stages and stalls scattered around the field.
Both the day and night times were extraordinarily entertaining; even if the festival’s music licence didn’t stretch further than 2am, there were always friendly souls available for long conversations into the night. Indeed, much of the festival’s charm came from the community vibe. People were happy to make their own fun, as well as getting stuck into whatever the festival had to offer.
One favourite location was the Jam Stage, which encouraged anyone and everyone to get up and show off their talent. The standard of preforming was so high that it became one of the most visited stages during the weekend. Friday night’s hip-hop jam was particularly excellent and set the mood of the rest of the weekend extremely well.
Another well-frequented place was the Psychedelic Breakfast tent, which blasted out an eclectic mix of electro swing, ghetto funk, and yet more psytrance well after the sun went down. As well as music there were fire-shows, spoken word and workshops to get stuck into all the way through the day and night.
Truly, if there were more stars to give, Alchemy Festival 2015 would get all of them. It’s a wonderful little festival, filled with good souls and vibes. It was a perfect end to the summer season and couldn’t come any more highly recommended. The people who attend are all wonderfully kind and generous, and they are the reason that Alchemy feels like such an easy going and safe environment. Earlybird tickets are already available for next year from http://www.alchemyfestival.co.uk.