Access the Festival kicked off last weekend with a secluded, open-air, sun-kissed summer sizzler. A delicate blend of world-class DJs from the global house, disco, and techno scenes headlined the event. From the word go, Access is all about good times, good people, and good energy, and this year’s event was a must-attend occasion to start the festival season.
Pulling up on the festival’s shuttle bus and entering the grassy field was a quick transition into the vast gorgeous countryside of Sherbourne Park in Warwick. And, with the sun beating down, it was an ideal environment with lots of space to move around. We had the freedom to play bangers loud, and people grasped the opportunity to create some magical summer memories.
With an amazing main stage, world-class sound and lineup, and well-organised production, it came to life outside a magnificent Georgian estate and a gorgeous church in the backdrop, making it a home-away-from-home in the middle of the countryside (something we Londoners aren’t accustomed to). This year’s lineup brought in a wealth of international talent with new partners such as London-based Disco Disco and the revered Paris-based Houseum label, making Access a top contender in the hottest line-ups, for European dance music.
Day one saw artists RAW SILK, Crazy P, Octo Octa b2b Saoirse and revered multi-genre master Gerd Janson take to the main stage, which had the alias of The Funkyard. With Crazy P and Octo Octa b2b Saoirse making a mark on the crowd, getting their hearts racing – as they altered their sets to the atmosphere. The Disco Disco stage, named Daylight Disco saw cult Frenchman Jeremy Underground headline, who finished the night off on a high.
Day two saw the third stage, The Groove Garden pick up as it was taken over by Paris-based Houseum. They showcased a diverse range of artists such as the newly discovered Kate Williams (who played some beloved Prince), Brighton-based Gavinoc, Belgium boy Ricky Razu and Berlin DJ Marc Brauner. A special back-to-back between DJOKO and Harrison BDP headlined the Groove Garden and made the night a fantastical wonderland of sound.
Other favourites from the Saturday included Dan Shake, who reallllly got SHAKING! Access founder and upcoming DJ Darley span space-like sounds on the main stage, and put his own spin on a long-time favourite, ‘I Can’t Stay Forever. Stepping into the mix next was Sweely, an amazing french DJ crafting video game-like sounds. He brought Nintendo and Playstation vibes to Access’ main stage, we all saw that his leg was tapping non-stop. DJ Boring did not disappoint and brought an upbeat euphoric end to the night by playing some remixed old-school anthems like ‘Satisfaction’ and ‘Bass Down Low’.
On top of the bass-pumping lineup, there was a vibrant mix of colourful leisure activities, including adrenaline-pumping fairground rides – literally almost flew outta my seat! Event director Will Darley talks about the success of the festival, “I’m super pleased with how the event ran operationally but more importantly the music was fire and the vibe electric. Every stage had a unique feel which progressed as the sun went down! Each person I’ve spoken to had so much fun, which is exactly what I wanted the event to be. We’re already excited for 2023, ideas are already getting noted down ;)”
Founded in 2016 by a group of friends who wanted to recreate the sounds of different UK cities in carefully curated club nights, Access has achieved rapid success. They perfected a thoughtful line-up and now they have made a name for themselves in London as well as internationally in France and Hong Kong.
Words: Izabel Rose
Photos: Jak Howard and Khris Cowley