Gottwood truly is a breath of fresh air for the festival circuit
Gottwood has quickly become one of the UK’s most cherished boutique festivals. Taking place deep in a woodland in Anglesey in Wales, it has an impish spirit, personal feel and beautiful look. Even the car park overlooks a secluded Welsh cove, while the main site is around an enchanting lake scattered with lily pads and a huge sprinkler, and the whole thing glistens in the sun.
The four day event started small as a free party for privileged kids, but has now expanded to the still-small-enough-to-feel-cosy size of 5000 people. With a reputation for being well organised and for offering tastier than average festival food—including Fleetwood Mac and Cheese, Fundi pizzas, and My Mates BBQ—Gottwood boasts no fewer than ten stages, all within walking distance of each other, and all easily accessible without hours of queuing.
The settings range from a Walled Garden (generally viewed as the most magical stage with high brick walls covered in vines) to a Tree House to The Curve, and finding art installations as well as these stages in all sorts of unexpected locations is another joy of Gottwood. During the day the vibe and programming is relaxed and informal. You’re encouraged to roam free and check out different stuff while soaking up any sun and enjoying the setting and ethereal woodland all around.
Bird's eye view of the idyllic location of Gottwood
The music matches that with ambient sets, afrobeat and live jams all providing the soundtrack. By night, though, things get more serious and the party really gets started with house, techno and minimal. That shift in mood is often triggered by seeing the sunset over the lake, which is a magical moment each and every evening.
After that communal experience, smoke machines and lasers take over and the beats get darker. Gottwood’s line-up deals in connoisseur sounds only, meaning that the likes of Move D, Nicholas Lutz, Zip and Craig Richards are all regulars. This year you can also look forward to live jazz sounds from Tenderlonius & 22archestra, live electro and techno from DMX Krew, plus DJs such as Avalon Emerson, Shed, Andrew Weatherall, Jackmaster, Special Request, Mr Scruff, Hunee, Zip, Ben UFO, Axel Boman and tens more.
Add in a security team is notoriously friendly, camping that is comfortable and high end thanks to specially erected yurts and bell tents that include flooring, lamps, air beds, eye masks, side tables, mirrors and plenty more—or go one further and book an airstream that includes all your linen, central heating, air con, a fully equipped kitchen and entertainment system and fridge—and Gottwood really does set a new standard for boutique festivals in the UK.