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Solfest 2022: A Space Odyssey

10,000 people gathered at Tarns in Allerdale last weekend for one of the biggest Solfests to date.

Solfest 2022 was an out of this world experience this year. We saw headliners like Pendulum, Seasick Steve, the Zutons and more hit the mainstage for the bank holiday weekend.

The family-friendly festival had a space theme this year. Many revellers wore sci-fi inspired costumes during the Saturday extravaganza.

One of the many space themed murals at Solfest

Spread over the Tarnside Farm was an array of stages and tents for Cumbrians and tourists alike to explore.

Seasick Steve- a blues musician, and The Peatbog Faeries- an aptly titled Celtic Fusion band, took to the mainstage on Thursday to kick off the festival weekend.

Crowds were seen busting out folk moves to the Faeries and bobbing their heads to the blissful blues of Seasick Steve.

The Peatbog Faeries

Friday welcomed 80s rock band The Charlatans. Tim Burgess still had it after almost 35 years.

They sung hits like the Only One I Know and One To Another.

The Charlatans, photo credit: Solfest facebook

But it was Gentleman's Dub Club and Dutty Moonshine Big Band that stole the show on Friday.

The crowd was hungry for Drum, Bass and Dub - after all it’s what Solfest is famous for!

People were Skanking, Jumping and Jeering as both bands dropped their duttiest beats.

The Dub Club played High Grade and Fire

The Dub Club

...and the Moonshiners played Fever, most wanted and their highly acclaimed cover of DJ Fresh’s Gold Dust.

Dutty Moonshine Big Band, photo credit: Solfest facebook

The hotly anticipated Sugarhill Gang were set to take the main stage on Saturday, but dropped out last minute. Despite this, the show went on and the spirits were not dampened.

We heard former Kasabian lead front man Tom Meighan give a great performance right off the back of his sell-out tour.

He played some of Kasabians most popular hits like: Shoot the Runner, Club Foot and of course, Fire.

Tom Meighan, photo credit: Solfest facebook

With the stage set alight from Meighan, the next headliner: 00s indie scouse rock band, The Zutons took the stage. They gave the audience a rocking swingin’ performance.

The Zutons played classics like pressure point and Valerie (one of their most acclaimed singles thanks to Amy Winehouse popularising the song).

They also had a collaborative performance of You Will You Won’t, with the crowd belting out the chorus loud and clear back to the band ‘You do you don't’ in unison.

The Zutons, photo credit: Solfest facebook

Pendulum closed the Saturday with a set like no other, opening with a D&B rendition of Down Under by Men At Work joking on stage “This songs about me” with the band members originating in Perth, Australia.

The entire crowd was wild- dancing hard through the set, not taking a break once during this biblical D&B and dance set.

As an ode to Keith Flint, former Prodigy frontman, and in keeping with theme, Pendulum performed their version of Out of Space and Firestarter. They also threw iconic club classic Darude’s Sandstorm into the mix. Of course they included their own hits such as Tarantula and Blood Sugar.

Pendulum on the mainstage

Orbital closed the festival on Sunday.

They had a tantalising electronic display and intergalactic sounding techno house beats.

It truly was a sight to behold.

Orbital electronic display, photo credit: Solfest facebook

As for the other stages, the Melodrome, a small stage, had a whole host of performances from circus acts, lip sync battles, cabaret and a few bands thrown in for good measure.

The Melodrome was a relaxed venue offering different creative acts that were humorous and downright a bit of madness!

Old Time Sailors, photo credit: Melodrome facebook

Other smaller stages included the Hive, a buzzing hub for those who enjoy electronic dance, A Silent Disco playing all sorts of genres and Cirque D’ Sol, a vibrant tent offering live comedy and Disco music.

The TarnsDub stage welcomed drum and bass DJs with the likes of multi award winning Friction and 90s legend Deekline.

Friction’s set was so massive that people were spilling out the dance tent.

We even had the pleasure of watching some Cumbrian talent taking to the legendary stage!

Dance Culture UK, based in Kendal, performed on the Sunday.

We were fortunate to chat to them back in March and seeing them live did not disappoint!

Dance Culture performing at the transdub stage photo credit: Dance Culture instagram

The experimental and eclectic 24hr party people tent of Palais de Phonix gave us something quite different to what the rest of the festival had to offer.

Acts like OTT offered psychedelic dub in this trippy venue and the band Seas of Mirth gave us a vibey psyche funk disco set.

Outside the Palais de Phonix stage, photo credit: Palais de Phonix Instagram

The festival had healing fields which offered a variety of workshops including, healing yoga, gong immersion, bushcraft and more.

As well as a whole host of traders from Anti Racist Cumbria right the way through to a market offering festival garms artwork and medicinal shops.

The healing fields at Solfest

Solfest 2022 was a celebration of all thing’s music and creativity. Ultimately at the heart and belly of the festival was D&B, Dub and Dance.

Hope to see you all dancing in the fields next year!

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