Highest Point Festival in Lancaster entered its third and final day with a bang, delivering an unforgettable Saturday that left the sell-out crowd in awe. The sun shone brightly, mirroring the radiant energy of both the music and the festival-goers, with the whole day being a true testament to the spirit of the festival season, and Highest Point set the bar high for all others to follow.
The main stage showcased a lineup of diverse and captivating acts, spanning different genres and eras; from the nostalgic charm of Toploader to the fresh sounds of Anne Marie, and the indie brilliance of The Lottery Winners, there was something for everyone. The Dell provided an intimate escape from the chaos, whereas the Sundial provided the vast majority of said chaos. The Chris Glaba Memorial Stage was alive with the funkiest fervour, and the woods were blasting out the guiltiest of pleasures for five straight hours. Basically, anywhere you went, it was an absolute doozy.
The day kicked off with The Native Cult, providing easy-listening funk and groove that set the tone for the day and eased everyone's sore heads from the night before back into live music. Jamie McCool followed suit, upping the anti slightly by delivering sun-soaked tunes and covering classic club anthems, warming up the crowd both musically and energetically.
However, it was, unsurprisingly, Elvana, that stole the show in the early parts of the day. Dressed in striking red suits and led by their charismatic frontman in full Elvis attire, they took the stage amidst the captivating title track of "2001: A Space Odyssey." The crowd flocked from every corner to join the exhilarating spectacle. Elvana's seamless mashups, such as blending "Breed" with "Viva Las Vegas" and fusing "Little Less Conversation" with "Smells Like Teen Spirit," were just the purest of vibes, and combos that never should work, but do oh so well. The energy on stage seeped deep inside everyone watching and crowd interaction was top-notch. From getting the people sat on the hill to do a huge Mexican wave, to jumping in the crowd to sing with them and take some selfies, it was so so much fun.
Toploader followed suit, disproving any notion that they had only one hit song. Every track they performed received screams of excitement from the crowd, and their interaction was top-notch. While their entire set was captivating, it was unsurprisingly "Dancing in the Moonlight" that truly stole the spotlight. Ironically played during a moment of glorious sunshine, it ignited the biggest singalong of the day. From the front of the stage to the hilltop and the steps of the memorial, everyone was united in the magic of the music.
At the Chris Glaba stage, Eldon and Nico Balducci set the stage alive with grooves, but it was Murphy's Law that took things to the next level. The duo were groove personified, getting all the people moving, and the memorial shaking (don’t worry it’s strong enough to withstand the bass… we hope); the bass-fueled vibes and irresistible funk compelled everyone walking past to join in for a cheeky two-step.
Meanwhile, back on the main stage, none other than Gok Wan brought his infectious energy, banter, and a flawless selection of tunes. His set was a nostalgic journey through the '90s, packed with club classics and irresistible grooves. The crowd, a mix of both old and young, matched his energy with mesmeric enthusiasm. The entire hill came alive in a boogy, and although his reference to the city as "Lan-biza" wasn’t the most convincing of analogies (although the sun did help his case), there was no denying the irresistible party atmosphere he created. People could be heard talking about it for the rest of the day!
Over at The Dell, the pub in the wood, a special live podcast took place courtesy of Andy Ellis and Tom Turgoose from "This Is England." it was their inaugural live podcast of "Overrated Everything" and they had some guest in BBC Radio 1s Danny Howard. The whole event was a barrel of laughs, offering insights into Danny's career and the lives of the two hosts. It was a proper, good old-fashioned moan, one that was quintessentially Northern. From debates on overrated topics like wife and kids, beaches, mayonnaise, and even football, the discussion sparked both controversy and amusement among the audience, and they will have gained a fair few new listeners, a really nice little break from the jubilant chaos elsewhere.
As all of the above was going on, The Woods resonated with the sounds of Guilty Pleasures. Under the guidance of Sean Rowley and his beast of an event, the audience indulged in singing and dancing to the guilty pleasures they usually enjoy when no one's watching. Rowley's ability to create an atmosphere where people could freely and joyously embrace their cheesy favourites was sensational. During his five-hour takeover, the woods became a hub of carefree and judgment-free boogieing. The classics played by Rowley attracted a steady stream of festival-goers, who joined in the revelry before moving on to explore other parts of the festival. It was undeniable that the woods offered a haven for those seeking unadulterated enjoyment, and he even treated everyone to a nostalgic rendition of "High School Musical" that had the crowd singing their hearts out.
Returning to the main stage, The Lottery Winners took the spotlight and immediately won over the hearts of the audience. With their recent number-one album, the band exuded sky-high energy and infectious enthusiasm. One unforgettable moment was when lead singer Tom invited a young boy named Joel to join them on stage. Joel's dream of playing with The Lottery Winners became a reality as he showcased his keyboard skills and even channelled his inner Freddie Mercury, leading the crowd in an epic "eh oh" callback. Another touching moment came during their performance of "Letter to Myself," a spoken word track where Tom spoke directly to his younger self, assuring him that everything would be alright. The track's uplifting chorus was taught to the audience, resulting in a powerful collective experience that left Tom visibly moved.
Throughout the afternoon, the Sundial stage, taken over and curated by Charlie Tee's Unitee, kept the ravers entertained. From A Little Sound to Turno, Goddard, and Sigma, the bass reverberated all the way through the crowd's toes, igniting an unrelenting surge of energy. The ravers were out in full force, and the stage was a hive of pulsating excitement, with the impeccable sound engineering ensuring that the bass was thick and powerful without overpowering the other elements of the mix. MCs kept the hype levels high, but it was Carasel with Sigma who delivered a standout performance, mainly due to his hilarious line: “Everyone put 10 fingers in the air, apologies to all my ravers who’ve lost fingers.”
Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for arrived as Anne Marie graced the main stage. With a magnificent fabric chandelier hanging above her, she exuded star power, and it was evident that many had come solely to witness her performance, with fans proudly donning her t-shirts and claiming their spots at the front. As her first UK festival appearance of the year, Anne Marie symbolized the start of a new season.
The crowd was awash with flashing lights and crowns, an aesthetic she playfully acknowledged. Her set was a parade of pop bangers, reminding us of the impressive repertoire she possesses. Unsurprisingly, "2002" elicited a massive singalong, while "Rockabye" received the most thunderous response, its echoes seemingly reaching Morecambe Bay. Anne Marie's live vocals were flawless, staying true to her recorded tracks, and her unwavering voice navigated the peaks and valleys of her extensive setlist, including the special treat of new tracks. It was a beautiful and pop-fueled culmination of an extraordinary weekend.
As the sun set on Highest Point Festival's Saturday, it was undeniable that the day had delivered an outstanding array of talent and experiences. From Elvana's unforgettable showmanship to The Lottery Winners' heartfelt moments, and Anne Marie's electrifying pop performance, each artist brought their unique charm to the stage. The festival's diverse stages, from the lively surrounds of The Woods to the pulsating Sundial and the intimate setting of The Dell, provided a range of musical delights that catered to every taste. The sell-out crowd revelled in uproarious laughter, unapologetic dance moves, and heartfelt singalongs, creating an atmosphere that was simply immaculate.
Highest Point Festival has truly set the bar high for the rest of the festival season. But really, we just can’t wait to do it all again next year.
Check out our What's On Guide to discover more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.