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Forbidden Forest review

As Early May bank holiday kicked off festival season, Helen Giles headed to Forbidden Forest for a triumphant gathering in the woods.

Skiddle Staff

Date published: 8th May 2018

Image: Forbidden Forest (source)

This first of two May bank holidays has marked the beginning of festival season, with events scattered across the country providing music lovers with the perfect opportunity to embrace the unexpected heatwave on their long weekend. 

Delivering a summer soundtrack filled with house and bass music were the promoters behind Forbidden Forest, who in a short space of time have proven themselves as heavyweights when it comes to organising the finest dance music shows, with an effective marketing campaign, large social media presence and a line up that could challenge even the most established of electronic music events. 

You can tell just how popular this festival has become by the sheer volume of people arriving early and making their way up the dusty paths and into the woodland at Castle Donington, where hidden away were 5 stages that boasted impressive sound systems and intricate décor that added to the event experience. Spirits were high as the sun was shining, everyone embracing the good vibes that complemented the wide variety of music that was on offer.  

The Kooky stage was home to all things house, with the likes of Hannah Wants and Danny Howard headlining the arena. Sonny Fodera entertained the crowd in the mid afternoon, opening his set with a funky house remix of the classic ‘Renegade Master’ that kept the crowd 2-stepping in the shade. Gotsome was also a particular highlight, starting his set quite minimally before ramping up the rhythm with his signature sound infused with elements of disco. 

The Beastwang arena maintained a consistent following throughout the day, and Shaun Dean b2b with Ussy gave the crowd a full on, thumping performance that infused the sounds of garage and bassline with nostalgic club classics, with remixes of ATB’s ‘9pm (Till I Come)’ and N-Trance’s ‘Set You Free’ sending shivers of wistfulness through the arena, before finishing their set with a spin on the brand new hit from Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa ‘One Kiss’ that got everyone jumping, ignited and excited for the rest of the event, ready for the remaining acts to take the stage. 

The stage with the most intensity and feel good atmosphere throughout the day was the UKF stage. Barely Legal and Cannista kickstarted proceedings in the mid afternoon with lively sets that caused an eruption of energy to soar through the crowd, with everyone constantly dancing and sweating, keeping the momentum going through the day regardless of the heat. The Prototypes gave a performance that was relentless until the end, incorporating the heaviest and filthiest of drum and bass sounds that set the audience alight with enthusiasm.

But the highlight of the entire day came from drum and bass mastermind Wilkinson, who took the crowd on a journey through the euphoric elements of the genre, including a number of his own uplifting productions ‘Sweet Lies’ and ‘Dirty Love’ into the set, and intertwining this with gritty, dark remixes – the two polar opposite sounds synchronised perfectly and brought a refreshing energy to the UKF arena. As he closed his epic set with ‘Half Light’, as the sun had finished setting over the horizon, lighters and phones soared through the air in pure appreciation of the unbelievable talent that had just been witnessed. 

The organisers behind the dance music utopia that is Forbidden Forest have created an event where the focus is on quality and diversity, appealing to everyone with a wide variation of dance music offerings, and every care taken to even the smallest of details that add to the festival experience, including the intricacy of the stage designs hidden away in the woodland.

This was a place where you could truly lose yourself in the music and the atmosphere, that made it very difficult to leave when the time came. For those who missed out on this unbelievable event this time round don’t panic – Forbidden Forest will be back in September for a finale to the festival season that will guarantee to blow you away! Make sure you are there! 

Festivals 2020