This summer, by and large, sees the return of a British institution: the festival. Far removed from the golden-hour-glitter-extravaganza that is Coachella, British festivals promise something more: rain. However, they also come with a sense of hedonism and freedom that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else – whether that’s from a rare sighting of the sun, or the adrenaline rush of finding out whether there will be any toilet paper left after day one. Spoiler alert, the answer is always no.
This year, we headed down to the beaut grounds of Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire to see the comeback of one of the UK’s best kept secrets: El Dorado festival. Having previously attended over four years ago and returning from a two-year hiatus, this year saw the festi go bigger and harder than ever before – expanding it’s guest list to over 12,000 people, adding a whole host of new stages and experiences, and bringing its strongest lineup to date out to play.
One of the nicest things about a smaller festival is the ability to walk between stages at short notice: stumbling from the late night disco at The Nest in the forest to the guaranteed-good-vibes of the floating stage (Treasure Island) within 10 minutes is a luxury not a lot of other festivals can afford. However, it also leaves room for my personal favourite element of a festi: the smaller stages where you don’t know what you’re going to find – endless garage remixes ft Ms.Dynamite? Sure. Gold dust, for the fourth time that evening? Go on then.
On the main stages, acts like Groove Armada, Earth, Wind and Fire and David Rodigan kept crowds dancing into the early hours, and feel-good moments were aided by the sweet sweet sounds of Bjorn Again (yes, that is an Abba tribute act). Whether you were bracing the occasional downpour from the main campsite or living it up in Boutique camping, there was a sense of fostered community that El Dorado has become known for – just great vibes all round, really.
A stone’s throw from the high-BPM and high-density crowd at Cirque was an area marked only by a clown face entrance. Inside, it was anyone’s guess as to what you’d find: at various points throughout the weekend, we saw queer cabaret, someone spinning by their hair (and breathing fire), and a healthy dose of standup.
Elsewhere, people were donning their festival finery, which we snapped as we saw. From the security guard holding down the stage with coveted sunglasses, to the many colour-coordinated fits out and about, it was a bold, bright and fashionable affair. Scroll above to take a look through some of the fits we spotted over the weekend, and head to their website to lock in a ticket for next summer, if you’re down.
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