we out here-2

We Out Here Festival: 5 moments from Gilles Peterson’s first UK festival

When Gilles Peterson announced the inaugural edition of We Out Here Festival, we were set on making it down to Cambridgeshire. Could Gilles bring the magic of long standing France based Worldwide Festival to the UK? The answer was yes, four days of immaculate sound across more than 5 major stages as well as a host of dance tents and a wonderfully curated line up brought together people of all ages in celebration of the UK jazz scene and music itself. Here’s our favourite 5 moments from the weekend.

  1. Joe Armon Jones kills it on the first night. After a reserved performance from Nubya Garcia at the start of the first day, it was left to another pillar of the new UK jazz revival to deliver on the much hyped live music front. Already there was a feeling of people being drawn toward the satisfying pump of house DJs in the forest, with Matthew Herbert and Benji B drawing big crowds. But we wandered back toward the Lush Life stage and found Joe Armon Jones and his band creating real energy in the crowd with subtle, jazzy dub. A speech on the Grenfell tower disaster from vocalist Asheber over a new track brought gravitas to the set and reminded us how amazing live music can be.
  2. Mala and the Outlook Orchestra bring the rain. A wet day on Friday was a bit of a dampener, but the promise of good weather over the weekend kept spirits high, as well as a mass conga line of people wearing yellow at Awesome Tapes from Africa on the Main Stage. But the rain wasn’t without purpose, it fell to Mala to bring some pathetic fallacy to the evening. The sideways downpour couldn’t have been more fitting for the dark dubstep – this felt like a real moment for the history of the genre, a clarification of timeless credibility, if you will. 
  3. Call Super and Objekt’s spontaneous b2b. Headlining the Friday night was the enigmatic Objekt, ahead of his frequent b2b partner Call Super. It didn’t take long for Objekt to jump on during Call’s set, and they ended up playing b2b ’til the final 15 minutes. Objekt closed out an uncharacteristically mellow 4 hours with Strictly Rhythm classic ‘King of My Castle’ and some blissed out ambient which seemed like a joyful moment for the pair – they seemed to revel in the older, more attentive crowd.
  4. Theo Parrish’s 5 hour epic Saturday night set. The Forest stage was by far the biggest DJ stage, and rarely felt too busy, until Detroit legend Theo Parrish drew a vast crowd on Saturday night. After a riotous start, the master of eclecticism took it right down – clearing some space in the crowd – before elegantly rising to a conclusion over the next 3 hours, with the final 10 seconds proving to be the highlight of the night, if not weekend. Leave them wanting them more, they say!
  5. Gary Bartz brings jazz royalty to the festival. Who better to bring a sense of history to proceedings than legendary saxophonist Gary Bartz, who flew through a number of the classic records on which he played in his epic career, including Donald Byrd’s ‘Think Twice’. Fittingly backed up by UK jazz outfit Maisha, this felt like a beautiful moment of connection between the jazz heritage Gilles Peterson has been supporting for so long and the incredible blossoming UK scene. Gilles revealed to the crowd afterwards that they had had just two rehearsals ahead of the performance, to tumultuous applause.

    We Out Here Festival will return in 2020 to Abbots Ripton, Cambridgshire. Early birds are available now.

    Joe Armon Jones: Lisa IndigoBurns Wormsley
    Mala: Lisa IndigoBurns Wormsley
    Gary Bartz: Jason Plews

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