Set in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, and just a short journey from the beach, is Westival: a music and arts festival powered musically by some of the most exciting UK dance music artists of the moment.
After having to postpone previous editions due to the pandemic, the four-day event is now finally going ahead this July between 21st-25th July. Capped at just 1500 people, the festival promises an intimate experience and matches bigger names like Shanti Celeste, Call Super and Mafalda with emerging artists and close family of the festival.
There’s plenty of exciting names across the weekend but away from the headliners and further down the line up, there’s a bunch of artists – some newer faces and others a little more known – that are definitely worth adding to the top of your watch list. Here’s a few of our picks…
Mixtress is on a mission to bring back hardcore. The Amsterdam-born, London-based DJ has made a name for herself through a host of tear out Keep Hush sets, the members club and music platform she’s closely affiliated with. Pushing a raucous and energetic mix of jungle, rave and hardcore, prepare to be transported back to the heyday of the 90s but with a fresh and forward-thinking outlook.
From the moment we first heard Ariwo‘s eponymous release on Manana Records back in 2017, we were hooked. The Cuban-Iranian four-piece are fuelled by a mission to create a sound that doesn’t belong to any culture and the results are a fusion of electronics and traditional Afro-cuban folkloric instrumentation stemming from the group’s combined musical roots. Since that debut EP the group have continued their relationship with Manana, the label arm of the Cuba-based festival where the outfit originated, releasing another EP and a long player that continues their exploration of the intersection between synthetic and organic sounds.
Tech Support B2B Rees
Now this is a pretty perfect B2B pairing if we do say so. Producers and DJs Tech Support and Rees, from London and Middlesborough respectively, are championing the magical sounds of the 80s through both their sets and productions. Collectively the pair have released music on a slew of respected labels including Bordello A Parigi, Nocturne, Permanent Vacation and Rees’ own imprint Paradiso Records, all of which connect the dots between Italo Disco, darkwave and euphoric synth excursions. Expect a journey through these driving, intoxicating sounds when these two get behind the decks.
DJ and producer Kitsta is a lover and player of sounds from across the UK club music spectrum; think bass, breaks and a good old peppering of trance. Her monthly Balamii show is a space to explore her discoveries and to invite artists who also share a similar penchant for these vibrations, including LUXE (who you can also catch at Westival), Max Hain and Theo Everyday. Alongside DJ and Daytimers affiliate Gracie T, she runs The Beatriarchy, a platform, radio show and club night that centres around sharing music and knowledge in a judgement free environment, with a particular focus on welcoming discussion and discourse from minority groups, particularly womxn, POC and LGBTQ+.
A firm London favourite, iona‘s been at it since the days of the sorely missed Dalston institution that is Dance Tunnel. Her last minute debut at the club’s closing party was the springboard for her to start DJing regularly, a decision that’s led to sets across the UK and Europe, from Boiler Room to Amsterdam, Albania and, of course, her ongoing residency at intimate festival Field Maneuvers. Never one to take herself too seriously, iona’s fun and playful outlook is translated through her infectious DJ sets, which weave together breakbeat, house, trippy acid, percussive gems and everything in-between.
Final release tickets for Westival are still available on the RA website.