To say we’d missed festivals is a bit of an understatement. But we didn’t realise just how much until we stepped through the gates of Summer of Love – the brand-new festival venture from the Animal Crossing team.
Announced only a couple of months ago, the newest date in the calendar had its inaugural outing on 21 and 22 August.
Sadly, we were only able to get down to the site on the Sunday. But despite already being a day into the festival, we were still met with that familiar buzz when we arrived. And in fact, come Sunday afternoon the sun was blazing – the perfect festival ingredient.
The lineup boasted a huge collection of DJs from all over Europe, bringing big names in house and Romanian minimal to a random car park on the outskirts of Manchester city centre. And this had Animal Crossing written all over it.
If forced to pick out highlights, we could be here all day. There was no lull in the day. There were no bad vibes. Just dancing and catching up with old friends as if no time had passed. And the setting for it all was like no other. Expertly organised, our entry was quick and efficient – so no time was wasted waiting in line. Nor at the bars either.
The 60s love and peace hippy theme of the event could be seen through every detail of the site. From the huge handmade mushrooms that stood a couple of foot high beside the DJ booth, to the painted skylights that let in a stained-glass window effect of colour, everything was a perfect example of what Animal Crossing are all about.
The previous day had welcomed DJs Priku and Praslesh, and You&Me’s Josh Baker throughout the day across the three stages – which unfortunately we’d missed out on.
But we made up for lost time on the Sunday with the likes of Dyed Soundorum, Traumer and Shonky.
Arriving at around 2pm, we headed straight to the Trommel Stage where London-based DJ duo Hamish and Toby were getting things going. Despite playing the smaller stage, the vibe and atmosphere were there as the pair chucked out some genre-bending tracks that made for an intriguing set. With roots in the north, the pair looked at home and were enjoying the day as much as us. Always good to see.
By 4pm, it was time for Dyed Soundorum at the ‘Love Factory’ – the festival’s main stage for the weekend.
As one third of the French trio Apollonia, Dyed’s expert selections were a hit with the crowd who lapped up his minimal house soundtrack. Three hours of his thumping and driving beats flew by too quickly.
Traumer B2B Shonky was next, back outside at the Trommel Stage. It was an exclusive set as the duo joined forces for their first ever B2B together. As two powerhouses of the genre, we expected nothing less a heavy-hitting set packed with surprises. And they delivered.
The place came to life at night, though, just in time for [A:RPIA:R] – a.k.a. the Romanian minimalist trio of Raresh, Petre Insperecsi and Rhadoo. With years of experience in the game, the three of them bring something deeper.
They were accompanied by a myriad of trippy visuals from Dreamrec which were cast onto each wall of the ‘Love Factory’. The 360-degree experience was a delight for the eyes, as well as the ears.
All in all, our first festival outing since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted was one to remember. And we couldn’t think of a better place to help us resume normal life again.
Summer of Love 2022
If you’re already looking towards the 2022 festival season, you’ll be pleased to know next year’s dates have already been announced.
It’ll take place on 27 and 28 August next time. And like this year, organisers have selected another secret location for the occasion, which will be revealed in due course. And whilst there’s no lineup announcement yet, we know the AC team always pull it out the bag.
So, if you’re keen to get it in the dairy now, grab your tickets here.
Featured image: Animal Crossing