When it comes to festivals, smaller ones prove that less is often more. Set in fields in the Oxfordshire countryside, Field Maneuvers humbly bills itself as a ‘dirty little rave’ – and does what it says on the tin.
Seven hundred people gathered for the 2017 edition – and from the excited hugs as people arrived, it was clear that many were returning from previous years.
With only four tents of music and a maximum of 200 metres, everything is stumbling distance. You really can’t lose your friends, even if you try; and you can certainly make new ones. A shared love of dance music and the fact that it’s such an intimate festival means that everyone talks to everyone. You just say ‘Hello’ and you are off…
There was an array of artists to bounce between, as we wafted from tent to tent, like flies buzzing around lamps. Soichi Terada did a live show; London VIA NYC duo and Optimo affiliates The Golden Filter added hazy electronics to the proceedings; DJ Hecktick smacked us back to the 90s; DJ Nature and his signature sultry grooves; Elena Colombi, Bristol’s finest Golesworthy.
There were doses of vibes, dubs, disco and funk from Tim Timma, Stav and the iconic Cornerstone Soundsystem; meanwhile the Night Moves tent hosted Vinyl Underground affiliate Aidy West and Freerotation resident Alex Downey, as well as Alison Marks, and MCR native Annabel Fraser, among many more.
Food might not have been everyone’s number one priority, and the festival probably could have benefitted from an extra stand. However, the Pyramid Organic did things proud, conjuring up chick-pea tagine and hemp burgers with coconut oil cheese.
Coming at the back end of a busy festival season, this lovely party in a field was exactly what the doctor ordered; if he or she was a doctor with good intentions, a wicked dark side and a clear understanding of what is good for seasoned and social festivalgoers.