We (Amy & Alex) attended Knee Deep festival last year and without a shadow of a doubt it was one of the best festivals we’ve ever been too. So we were super excited to be returning for a second year to this glorious festival.
Knee Deep festival is held in the most beautiful location. The site is nestled in a dip in a small valley in the picturesque Cornish village of Bethany. From the site itself you can only see one small house, which is very far away and is hardly visible. This means you feel quite cut off from civilisation (but in a good way). It’s just so incredibly peaceful on site, with just the occasional train chuffing by. As I’m (Amy) currently working in central London, this remoteness and overwhelming quiet was absolute bliss! Knee Deep festival is also relatively small in terms of attendees (less than 1,000) , so the whole thing is a very intimate and friendly affair and you get to the know who your camping/revelling with.
Anyway back to the festival itself. The thing I love most about Knee Deep is it’s hand crafted, DIY feel, so we were really excited to see all the small touches we adored enjoyed from last year’s festival were still present this year. Colourful silk flags, all of which were hand printed with cute pictures of tents or music notes, outlined the festival site. The central square with its distance signpost and pallet chairs is also one of my favourite elements to the site.
The Knee Deep organisers (who are all lovely) had also added a few new features to this year’s festival including a revamped main stage tent. This year the main stage was one of these trendy pringle shaped tents and the sound system had definitely been upgraded Knee Deep also had a made market, which brought together local craftspeople to sell their warehouses. There were also afew vintage clothing stands, all of which were awesome and very well priced.
Right anyway on to the music. The Knee Deep festival hand pick each band on the line up to bring together the best up-and-coming bands and DJ’s across a whole range of genres. So here are a few highlights from across the weekend.
Everyone in the band had great hair and these lads from Birmingham were very trendy. Troumaca have an experimental electronic sound, clearly drawing from lots of different influences from Bhangra to trance. In fact they reminded me of Foals mixed with Man Like Me. All of Troumaca’s tracks were all really well constructed and were great party tracks that will go down a storm in trendy bars and clubs across the land.
Sweet Baboo is made up of Stephen Black, a softly spoken Welsh musician, with a great sense of humour and heaps of honesty in his song writing. Sweet Baboo sings about the things he sees around him and his feelings in an honest open way. In fact when Sweet Baboo played ‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’ I knew the track already and vaguely remember this song being used in an advert and played on the soundtrack of a trendy high street shop chain I used to work for. You can’t help but fall in love with Sweet Baboo and his unique style and catch heartwarming lyrics such as “The Morse Code For Love Is Beep Beep, Beep Beep.” ’12 carrots of love’ was a really touching song about losing someone you love forever, putting into words the complex feelings of anyone who has ever had their heart broken.
Approaching the acoustic stage I thought I would find a whole stage packed full of musicians, as the sound blaring from the stage was deep and rich. So I was surprised to find just two guys with lots of pedals, synthesizers and guitars. Cloud Boat layer up lots of different sounds and overlay various almost ghostly vocals. Their track ‘Bastion’ was definitely my favourite as summed up their style perfectly. If you like bands like the XX or James Blake Cloud Boat will definitely be up your street.
Flako were the surprise discovery of the Knee Deep, having never heard of them before. This year’s sound system was perfect for his bass heavy set, with jazzy influences, the melodies was so intricate yet the groove was so strong you just wanted to dance all night.
My Panda Shall Fly
Closing the main stage on Friday, My Panda Shall Fly played old school garage and house DJ set. Covered in nostalgia it was great to see that he is an accomplished DJ as well as live performer, and truly has a love of music, as for the rest of the weekend his unmistakable hair was seen enjoying the rest of the festival.
Knee Deep had added a new special stage/area that came alive as the sun went down. Basically it was a scaffold tower which djs did their thing in, which was linked up to projectors. The projectors spread the images across two screens that created a small-enclosed disco area, these were extra cool as they reacted to your movements via a Xbox Kinect. The whole experience was a bit like a silent disco, except you don’t have to wear stupid headphones or listen to people sing out of tune. It was a fantastic experience and the pictures don’t do it justice. But it was definitely a highlight and I hope the feature returns next year.
The Black Tambourines
These guys clearly listened to grunge growing up and they set the tone for the whole day of music, they had distortion, more distortion and plenty of energy, and anyone who wasn’t awake after yesterdays long and heavy night are definitely awake now. They are a band I’m (Alex) very fond of with an early split 7” single this is actually the first time I’ve seen them and they didn’t disappoint.
These guys are well known for their song ‘Vigilante’ and they have an awesome live show with the 2 members playing drum pads and selection of keyboards. They gave energy to another wise boring style of music live and there sound was well suited for the slightly rainy afternoon of the festival with the sun threatening to break through.
The Physics House Band
Prog is back, and Kin are serious musicians who definitely know how to play this genre well. It was a refreshing break from a more punky laid back style that otherwise set the tone for the days music. With an array of vintage keyboards ferocious bass playing they had their sound down and I will be checking them out in the future.
Drenge are a drum and guitar duo with similarities to bands such as Death from above 1979 and The White Stripes, they inherit a primal, deep rock sound from the these bands but with a definite grungy vibe. These guys are definitely ones to watch and I’ve been unable to escape their fuzz filled vibe since.
The fantastic Big Deal are brand new to me (Alex) and I’m definitely going to check them out. The atmosphere was amazing with a lot of fans and people checking them out, the crowd filled up the second stage to capacity! With a reverb drenched sound with a female lead its impossible not to compare them to bands like Best Coast, and they are certainly one of the best new bands I’ve heard in awhile.
Surprise!!!!! One of last year’s headliners were back, Tall Ships had been rumoured to be playing again with whispers circulating the festival site during the day. After seeing them last year they have only improved with age and are one of the tightest and best bands I’ve (Alex) seen all year.
Flamingods were recommended to me earlier in the day by their label Art is Hard Records. They are very different, it’s a mess of tribal sounds and noise with weird instruments and complex rhythms. I (Alex) couldn’t stop myself dancing to the primal beats,and once they finish I just want to hear more.
After the bands finish its now time to dance and reflect on all the awesome bands that the Knee Deep guys have put together, and reminding myself that I will come back again next year. Its a truly unique festival and after two years has proven itself to be a hub of artists who are breaking through, so if you love new music as much as us make sure that you get down there next year!