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Five of the best acts at Solfest

Check our pick of the artists on at this year's Solfest.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 23rd Aug 2016

Image: Craig Charles Funk & Soul show

Bank holidays are crammed full of options, making it hard to know where to begin. But up in the picturesque Lake District there's a real gem of a festival in the shape of Solfest.

Gloriously intimate, there's a plethora of stages on offer alongside a musical output that crams in everything from folk to house, hip-hop to reggae, dub to soul, ska to Afrobeat - making for a delight of an event that packs a real punch considering it size. We've combed through the Solfest line up to offer up our five favourite picks.

The Mouse Outfit

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The Mancunian hip hop outfit bring a nine strong ensemble to their live shows and are fronted by Dr Syntax and Sparkz when onstage. Their combination of classic hip hop tracks and horn heavy funk is more than enough to get you feeling loose, and the festival circuit is definitely where they come to the fore.

Mouse Outfit's 2013 debut album, Escape Music, is a masterly curated effort, followed up just last year with Step Steadier, another collection of laid back jams begging for some sunshine in the corner of an English field.

Henry Lewis

Sonny Wharton

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Sonny Wharton and SKiddle go way back, the DJ a frequent player at our jaunts across the years at Wickerman festival, and someone who never fails to bring the funk.

Sonny has had a busy year, touring Asia (hear him live from Kuala Lumpur above) and consistently knocking out bangers on his now seven year old Whartone Records, which places him in fine fettle to deliver a masterclass in Cumbria.

Jimmy Coultas

Read Sonny Wharton interview: Wickerman pretty much tops the bill.

Riot Jazz Brass Band

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I predict a riot, I predict the Riot Jazz Brass band... Every festival needs these guys, a nine-man strong armada of musicians plugging body popping sounds that span dancefloor anthems to radio big-hitters. 

Fronted by Chunky, this group of brass renegades are staples of the festival circuit, having played Parklife in the city where they formed to Soundwave in Croatia. There's no need for suit fittings in this band, they prefer to go bare-chested in a pair of Hawaiian shorts. Riot Jazz are tearing up the rulebook and upping the ante on your festival experience.   

Ben Smith

Iration Steppas

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Gatekeepers of the UK Dub scene, Iration Steppas swoop down on Solfest for the first-time with a wedge of dub-plates and stomping productions. Formed between Mark Iration and Dennis Rootical in Leeds at the turn of the nineties, the future-gazing soundsystem led the way for scene in the city's underground.

Playing "dubz in a year 3000 style", Iration Steppas club night Subdub has been operating for almost two decades. Sprung into a live festival slot, expect the dub veterans to compress the intensity of those nights into an hour or so of body-jolting roots, eye-ball rolling bass and timeless Iration productions. 


Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club

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Craig Charles has become a guru for all things groovy since his BBC Radio 6 Music show took flight almost 15 years ago. Following its resounding success, the actor and TV presenter has added a new string to his bow and takes his funk and soul club up and down the country with high octane sets brimming with boogie numbers.

Charles' infectious personality goes a long way when he steps behind the decks and his encyclopedic knowledge of the genre makes for seamless mixes and hours of getting down. 


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