Heard On The Floor: Six Stand Out Sets from We Out Here 2022

The community spirit, friendly crowd and top notch music curation are pillars of what make We Out Here Festival one to remember. Returning for its third edition on August Bank Holiday weekend, the four-day event promised musical pioneers, returning faces and exciting emerging talent exploring the vast realms of music.

There was something on offer for everyone. In the day you could lie on the hill and soak up the sounds of jazz icons and newcomers or, if you were in need of an energy injection, a quick dip into the ever reliable Lemon Lounge would give you the minerals needed, while at night places like the woods and the Rhythm Corner fully came to life with takeovers and special sets from the likes of Hessle Audio, Mr Scruff and Friends and Luke Una.

We caught a ton of great live acts doing their thing but our departure on the Sunday meant we missed an incredibly moving set from the late, great Pharaoh Sanders, which felt all the more poignant following his sad passing just a month after the festival took place. Though we’re sure that, for many, this would have been a firm highlight, we’ve picked out those we were lucky to see during our time there.

From the dusty slopes of Rhythm Corner to the shrouded woodland spaces at night, and the intimate settings of the Sanctuary and Love Dancing, there were plenty of places to find a groove or just lie back and listen; here’s a few standouts that were soundtracking these spaces over the weekend.

We Out Here is moving to a new location and to new dates for 2023.

Heels & Souls (Rosie)

Two very happy men took to the Rhythm Corner stage on Friday afternoon to play a three hour set, which had been extended due to NTS resident Giovanna being hit by illness. Anyone who’s seen Pat and Ben, the minds behind DJ duo, reissue label and non-profit party Heels & Souls, will know that they’re perfectly placed to soundtrack a sun-soaked afternoon – which is exactly what they did.

There was everything on the menu, from smooth street soul and dusty downtempo to summery house grooves, all served up with bright-bushy eyes and ear-to-ear smiles. Sound issues did plague the set, with the music cutting out at several points, culminating in the set being cut short by half an hour too, but that didn’t seem to dissuade anyone there – everybody left with their mood lifted.

Errol & Alex Rita (Touching Bass) (Rosie)

All the STW crew were there for Touching Bass bosses Alex Rita and Errol‘s set back in 2021, a firm highlight that stuck in our minds, so this year we were definitely returning for round two. The Forest stage, tucked behind The Woodland, is a great spot for a late night dance and for the TB collective to make their triumphant return as stage hosts.

Playing alongside a few other STW faves – Hagan, Jamz Supernova and Nath Eps – Alex and Errol did what they do best; strike that perfect balance between soulfulness and energy. Amongst the trees and underneath a veil of lasers and twinkling lights, the pair took us on a journey through the depths of Detroit house, broken beat and soulful grooves, as ever harnessing that palpable synergy they’ve cultivated after playing together for so long.

Hagan (Mia)

Hagan’s set at The Forest stage confirmed his place as a modern day icon in the world of contemporary dance music. Only a true artist can create a signature sound across their tracks, yet still have them stand out as unique pieces. Further evidence of his incredible talent is that his entire set was made up of his own productions and edits, you know someone’s music is brilliant if you can captivate a crowd for two hours with just your own work.

From long time favourites like ‘Waves’ and ‘Yenke Taxi’, to teasing tracks from his upcoming debut album Textures, his Ghanian and pan-African rhythms and UK bass lines hypnotised us all. I was lucky to spend the whole time right next to him in the booth watching him do his thing, and I definitely squealed out of joy and disbelief more than once. I could see how when you know your music so well (specifically it being your own productions), you can get so smart, adventurous and impactful with your mixing and chopping, creating a seamless and exuberant set. I truly was in awe of Hagan that night (and always) – his set was not only a complete highlight, but cemented his crowning as the Drum King. All hail Hagan!

Waldo’s Gift (Mia)

One of the things I love most about festivals is how you can wander around and stumble across a sound that pulls you in. You come across acts that, if you read on paper, you probably wouldn’t have gone to see, but in person their music catches you and, in turn, you learn about a new artist and a sound you didn’t know you needed in your life. This is what happened as I strolled past Bristolian experimental metal-jazz three piece, Waldo’s Gift. Honestly they were so sick. Three young guys creating a blend of sounds I can’t say I’ve heard mixed together all too often – metal, punk, r&b and jazz – with a commanding stage presence that belied their age. I head banged and swayed through their whole set right in front of the speaker and absolutely loved it. Definitely ones to watch. 

Ahadadream (Mia)

OK so being another one of my close friends, I am biased when it comes to Ahadadream. But the thing is, my bias and love for him as a person doesn’t even come into it – Ahad packed out a usually unvisited and off the grid WOH tent, full of a crowd who clearly absolutely adored him, his music and everything he is doing for the music scene and South Asian community.

Walking into the tent and seeing him up there, he truly looked like an icon. Once he got his three CDJs up and running he blitzed his crowd with his hard drum, multi-genre, globe-trotting, rhythmic repertoire, that included much of own music and excellent Punjab edits. When he finished, everybody in the tent was roaring and cheering and wouldn’t let him go for a good 15 minutes – I genuinely cried with pride. The joy and gratitude was all over Ahad’s face and it was fully deserved. 

Soulquest (Mia)

Another thing I love about festivals is coming across upcoming DJs I’ve not encountered before. I was super lucky to have Soulquest playing before my own set at the Sanctuary on the Friday afternoon. She had won a competition to play at the festival, which was a spot well earned because her selections were fire. She played a mix of amapiano, garage, UK funky, rnb and, frankly, all the sounds I love most – she is definitely one to keep tabs on!

We Out Here is moving to a new location and to new dates for 2023.

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