For a debut event, it seemed like The One In The Woods had been doing this shit for years. The festival was the brainchild of the Manchester/Liverpool based promoters The One. The collective pulled it off, bringing 5,000 ravers to the usually quiet Orrell Hill Woods.
Those woods were anything but quiet for that weekend. Harking back to the energy of the illegal rave scene of isolated parties in the middle of nowhere. But just 20 minutes outside of Liverpool city centre they hosted a three staged smasher. Only the biggest names of their respective genres made the billing across two days of savage partying. Techno, house and drum & bass were the bloodline of this festival that celebrated the true underground sounds of the UK’s club culture in 2021.
From the very get go ravers were treated to a mouth-watering selection of artists. We got our way in just as the legendary DJ Hype stepped up to the decks. The Playaz head honcho delivered one of his classic rowdy sets filled to the brim with some of the best drum & bass throughout the ages. Following up on the drum & bass tent was Mel. She laid down a heavy hitting mix of tunes, packed with some of the biggest dance floor bangers in circulation right now. In-between the rapid, quick mixing there was a brief moment of an all star female crew featuring Katie Koven, Karisocat, Miss Trouble all on stage having it alongside Mel and her perfectly crafted festival set. Exactly why she is one of the scene’s sharpest new assets.
After partying alongside Mel it was time for Koven to jump in on the action. She wasted no time in flexing both her skills on the decks and skills on the mic – only hyping the crowd more and more with Koven’s signature dance floor focus beats and more of the biggest beats in the game right now. Meanwhile over on the techno stage the dark and brooding sounds of Perc had taken control of the decks. Rough industrial beats pounded through the trees to an all-to-energic crowd. A gem of the UK’s techno scene – Perc’s staple sound of rugged, acid laden techno cuts turned the techno stage inside out.
As the sun light dwindled from the site it was difficult to say what was going on, all the beer blurred the lines between the spacey techno getting fired down from Luke Slater or drum & bass anthems from Calyx & TeeBee, Sub Focus and Camo & Krooked. The pre-paid wristbands made it all too easy to acquire your drinks, and the close proximity between stages meant quick walks between sounds. One thing we did know is - we had to see Matrix and local legend Futurebound shut down the drum & bass stage – which they did with huge drum & bass hits closing the first day on the high.
The Sunday had an equally packed line up – again featuring an all star line up of drum & bass and techno artists. As we arrived we were greeted by the deep brooding selections of two drum & bass legends going back to back, Loxy & Doc Scott. The crowd were treated to proper drum & bass cuts, masterfully mixed – with almost every selection greeted by cheers from a die hard drum & bass crowd. Following on from and keeping the deep vibes was the godfathers of drum & bass; Fabio & Grooverider. They laid down a killer selection of tunes covering a vast array of drum & bass styles and flavours – exactly why these two are still at the very forefront of the genre over two decades since its inception.
It was then down to the final two hours, at the drum & bass stage Friction opened with his usual hype hype hype style – executing rapid mixing of the biggest dancefloor focused tunes, whipping the energy levels high before handing over to Turno. Over at the techno stage it was time for one of techno’s biggest DJs to close off the festival. Ben Klock, a Berlin-based label owner and resident of the infamous Berghain. He laid down an onslaught of brooding techno from Berlin and beyond – all packed together with Klock’s iconic mixing style, battering the packed stage an animated crowd.
That closed off and ended what was a mad two days up in the Liverpool woodlands. It’s small size meant you could easily take advantage of the world class line up across all three stages, though we admit it was the techno and drum & bass stages that dominated our experience. Despite how much we did manage to capture a glimpse of, there were still countless sets we couldn’t make; Lucy, Ben Sims, DJ Marky, and countless more. A testament to the festival’s on point bookings. There was a cracking atmosphere throughout the festival, the crowd was up for it and all the staff were super friendly and helpful. Prepaid wrist bands made paying at all food and drink stalls quick & easy.
Next year’s event looks set to be more of the same vibes. The One In The Woods was a true celebration of dance music with its biggest names from around the world, leaving a lasting impression on all those partying between the trees. Just as well ticket holders for this year can bag themselves a ticket for next year’s event with a small deposit before anyone else. Banging.
The One In The Woods
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