With the warmest December on record, it may not feel like we’ve had much of a winter this year. As Christmas has passed and the daffodils are already sprouting little green buds, we are ready for the on coming of spring. Throughout the final onslaught of the colder months and into pastures warmer, we welcome a number of festivals that have given meaning to the winter season, not to mention a few new appearances that have added even more excitement to a time that is no longer for staying indoors.
The Winter Social
After testing the water with their first winter instalment a few years ago, The Social Festival have found this second part to their annual gathering to be just as much of a success as its summer sibling. Taking place at The Kent County Showground, just a journey down the road from where the September episode is held, The Winter Social will be returning on Saturday the 6th of February. With a flurry of high quality electronic artists on the bill for the one day festival, with everything from deep house to techno covered, it’s looking like The Winter Social will be warming everyone’s cockles once more in 2016.
Although there has been no snow in the UK this year, there is plenty of it at The Bansko Ski Resort in Bulgaria, which is where Horizon Festival will be adorning on the 12th to the 17th of March. 70km of slopes will be open for exploring to all levels of skiers and snowboarders with lessons available for the first timers. Here though, your journey up and down the slopes amongst the Bulgarian mountains are intermitted by a selection of 30 parties in some unbelievable locations, sound tracked by 100 international DJs of the highest calibre.
You’ll find secret parties, mountaintop stages, intimate club venues, countless activities including forest paintballing, thermal pools, a spa cinema, music production lab and bowling amongst so much more, not to mention the village resort itself which is stunningly capturing. Stay in a choice of accommodation and add ski passes and a number of ‘bolt-ons’ to tailor Horizon Festival to you.
Line Up: Âme, Nina Kraviz, Levon Vincent, John Talabot, Goldie, Congo Natty, Mala, KiNK, Gerd Janson, Craig Charles, Lady Leshurr, Session Victim, Dan Shake, Jane Fitz, DJ Format, Rachel Row,Elijah & Skilliam & many more.
The Rainbow Venues Chapter XII
The Rainbow Venues in Birmingham are taking their birthday celebrations to the next level once again this year. Having become somewhat of a mini festival over the past few years, The Rainbow Venues birthdays encompass the clubs 7 spaces that are collectively renowned as the best in the city. 12 hours of music will be brought from all corners of the dance music spectrum with some of the most sought after DJs on the planet set to perform.
With venues of all shapes, sizes and atmospheres, each one of the clubs will be able to be explored throughout the entire day, no doubt with a number of after parties planned for the night as this main event will finish at midnight, by far the closing time for Birmingham’s most notorious night spots. Expect house, techno, garage, disco and more across The Rainbow Warehouse, Courtyard, Arena, Blackbox, Garden and the rest. The only problem is going to be deciding which one to go to next.
Line Up: Art Department, Dubfire Hybrid:Live, Guy Gerber, Jamie Jones, Joseph Capriati, Loco Dice, Luciano, Maya Jane Coles, Richie Hawtin, Nic Fanciulli, Sasha, Pan-Pot, Adam Shelton, Enzo Siragusa, Argy, wAFF, Patrick Topping, Crazy P & much more.
Spring Fest 16
Returning to The Magna Science Centre in Rotherham on Easter Sunday the 27th March will be Spring Fest. Taking place twice annually, with the other of the two being the Halloween party Fear Fest, these multi stage events were the first to use Magna’s futuristic events space since the building was converted from a Steel Mill. Lying just outside of the aptly named Steel City, Sheffield, the structures giant metallic halls create a great place to party.
Spring Fest will compromise 4 stages hosted by local parties Creation, SuNKeN, SeSSioN and Shhh, each with their own musical backdrop and world-renowned guest DJs playing throughout the day and evening. Expect house, bass and garage through DJ sets and live performances.
Line Up: Disciples, Blonde, Sam Divine, Patrick Topping, wAFF, Denney, Jey Kurmis, Ms Dynamite, Preditah, T.D.Q (Royal T / DJ Q / Flava D) & more
Lost And Found
Annie Mac’s Lost & Found Festival will be returning for the second year after winning the Best Overseas Festival award at The UK Festival Awards last year. For its debut year Lost & Found took over the expanse of The Gianpula Complex in Malta and will be returning there this year after it resonated so much with the UK population and others overseas. 4 open air clubs and even more indoor venues make up this Maltese clubbing haven, which will see a lengthy selection of DJs from all over the world playing from 31st March to 4th April.
A number of accommodation options are available with boat parties and even castle raves all in the running to add to the excitement throughout the 4 days Lost & Found will be in action. Hand picked by Radio 1’s leading lady herself, this venue is one unlike any other in the world and has become one of the hottest places to party since coming under the limelight last year.
Line Up: Annie Mac, Disclosure, DJ EZ, Groove Armada, Joris Voorn, Maya Jane Coles, The Martinez Brothers, Set Troxler, Stormzy, Artwork, B.Traits, David Rodigan MBE, Heidi, Jackmaster, Lady Leshurr, Patrick Topping, Richy Ahmed, Skream, Shy FX & many more.
Live At Leeds
With the name pioneered from The Who’s legendary live album and the series of compilation CDs dedicated to showcasing music from Leeds, Live At Leeds is the award winning city centre festival that has been taking place at Millennium Square and its surrounding music venues for a number of years. Although first dedicated to rock music, Live at Leeds has broadened its horizons over the past few years and now incorporates much more including indie and dance music. The one-day festival brings together nationally and internationally renowned headliners with local favourites and the next generation of music artist in some of the most iconic music venues in the city.
A large live stage will be erected on Millennium Square however bands can also be seen at The O2 Academy, The Brudenell Social Club and The Leeds University Union amongst many other places spread wide over the city centre and on its outskirts. This year will also mark the joining with Leeds Digital Festival that will see the festival grow and also hold a number of digital events to run alongside the live music programme.
Line Up: Jess Glynne, Circa Waves, Band Of Skulls, We Are Scientists, Rat Boy, Clean Cut Kid, Barns Courtney & many more.
Made In Leeds
The final of our Winter Spring round up comes at the end of April in the form of Made In Leeds. Now into its third year, Made In Leeds has become one of the standout music events in the Leeds calendar. Staple Made In Leeds stages will return hosted by Back To Basics, Federation, Insomnia, and Fibre whilst a new stage hosted by Tidy will see new areas explored.
The anticipation is arguably highest for the new production plans that will see art installations, roaming performers and scenery ‘like you have never seen before’ constructed across the site. With a spacious seating area, amusement rides, a VIP area and bars a plenty, this years Made In Leeds is set to be the best yet and that’s before we’ve told you who’s playing.
Line Up: Richy Ahmed, Flava D & DJ Q, Denney, Death On The Balcony, Dave Beer, James Holroyd, Tristan Da Cunha, James Barnsley, Frenchy, Gas House Kids, Ethan Marin, TMS, Tom Zanetti, Rob Tissera, Riley & Durrant, Marc Leaf, Tony Walker, Dale Castell & much more.
Words by Josh Plews
Main photos courtesy of Ross Silcocks