It’s easy to see why festivals are drawn here - Nelson’s county and its surrounding area is a place of outstanding natural beauty, as well as rife with an enthusiastic crowd of music-lovers.
Cosmic Roots really capitalised on both of those draws in their inaugural year, which ran towards the tail-end of 2018’s festival season: 6th to the 9th September. Taking place in the Walled Gardens of Raynham Estate, a small but high-spirited crowd descended on this normally unfrequented pocket of the country; for 3 days and nights of art and music.
For those who are unfamiliar with Raynham, it’s an expansive 7000-acre estate in the North of Norfolk. Team CR zoned in on East Raynham’s 18th century ‘Walled Gardens’ - a beautiful wooded area north of Fakenham, easily accessible via Kings Lynn but otherwise pretty secluded, isolated, and perfect for a festival.
Cosmic Roots’ aim was to deliver something a little different. Seeking to create an atmosphere reminiscent of the UK free party culture, and combining this with the character of contemporary, boundary-pushing European festival to, hopefully, create something fresh and distinctive - it was an ambitious aim. But one we’d attest the team really did a great job at delivering - particularly commendable in an ever-increasingly saturated UK festival industry.
For their first year, the CR team pulled out an impressive line-up; a mix of up-and-coming talent, some more recognisable names and residents from collectives across the country. From the likes of NTS mainstays’ Charlie Bones, Donna Leake and Flo Dill to some festival favourites: Gatto Fritto, Jamie Tiller, Krywald & Farrer & Elena Colombi the music explored everything from the realms of jazz, disco, funk and soul during the day, into the darker and more experimental at night.
There was an emphasis on longer sets, ensuring the pace of the festival was a leisurely one – ideal when you’re one of the only festivals in the UK to have obtained a 24 hour music, food and alcohol license!
The amount of care and dedication the team put into the site itself was also impressive, being both an arts festival as well as music. Installations were to be found round every corner, a light tunnel linked up all the stages which, themselves, were individualised and small but perfectly formed. The “Wormhole” was a real standout, complete with serious light effects and walls of hay bales enclosing the crisp sound of some Funktion Ones.
Cosmic Roots has a definite family feel. Since it is such an intimate capacity, by the end of the weekend you’re likely to come home with a bunch of new friends you’ve lived and partied with. The family affair extends into the billing, with several other respected collectives involved: Bristol’s One Two Five, Butter Side Up from Leeds and London’s Fall Up all having flocked to Norfolk to join the festivities.
It’s no wonder then, we’re really excited that this summer the Cosmic Roots team are back again.
With another weekend in the walled gardens of Raynham Estate they’ve got some new dates (18th - 21st July) but the same, well-received formula - we’re in for another treat.
See below for a transmission from last summer:
Last week, Cosmic Roots announced their 2019 line-up.
As if to prove the community feel of the festival, the majority of this year’s line-up have already set up their (cosmic) roots in Raynham. London duo Kiara Scuro, ascending producer RAMZi and Leeds’ Alex T are among those making very welcome return visits to Norfolk. There are however also a few exciting additions: Lullabies for Insomniacs head honcho Izabel has joined the ranks, as have London’s Jive Talk.
We’re told this is just the first wave of artists, and we can anticipate two more waves to complete a line-up of over 65 artists!
Early birds for this summer have now sold out - so you’ll want to act fast to join Cosmic Roots back in the Walled Gardens this summer.
We’ll see you there…
Event page and tickets: https://www.facebook.com/events/1665066310271870/
Cosmic Roots run from the 18th - 21st July. Tickets are currently at £75 for the weekend and £35 for a day.
Photos courtesy of Cosmic Roots
Words: Ellie White