BALTER FESTIVAL 2023 - ARTIST SPOTLIGHT AND WORDS FROM CO-FOUNDER
May 23th 2023
With the festival a mere couple days away, we had a quick chat with one of the co-founders, Elias Cole, and we’ve compiled a small list of artists that you may want to check out over the weekend
The Chepstow racecourse is ready to home another weekend of weirdness and musical mayhem. Elias Cole and the rest of the team behind Balter are excited to bring on another year of celebrating underground rave music.
Starting back in 2013 with just 800 people in attendance, Elias had never thought it would be running the size it is now. Nine years later and now 7000 people on site, the lineup only grows in strength and diversity whilst the festival plot remains a similar size, thus keeping to the close-knit intimate atmosphere the festival is known for.
THE SMALL STAGES ARE WHERE THE VIBES ARE
This smaller and more intimate size of festival is one of the characteristics which makes it so unique, that and the fanbase that congregate there each year: “The crowd make the event, it wouldn't be anything without them.” Elias told us, “I guess the music we book brings a particular crowd who come ready to have fun, which has an infectious result on everyone else around them. It does have an amazing atmosphere, and I don't think we can really take any credit for it, it’s all down to the people that come.”
The festival has always championed underground music: whether it’s cider revelling farmer singalongs or 220bpm breakcore and jungletek, it’s all underground and it’s all got a punk attitude. The artists do things their way, and so does the festival. Heavily free party inspired and full of characters, it truly is a welcoming place. Get lost in musical discovery and make friends from all corners of the globe, this weekend is a must for the underground rave connoisseur.
A range in music that represents all corners of underground and rave music is something that Balter holds close to them. Producer and 1/2 of Ed Cox & E-Coli, Elias Cole, mentioned the importance of showcasing smaller, up and coming artists: “Diversity in bookings is, in my opinion, completely essential. Far too many festivals are booking the same lineups, which I understand to an extent - there are only so many big artists that sell tickets etc. However, if you don't have diversity on the whole lineup, the event becomes stale and a copy of every other event.
“The small stages are where the vibes are, with the newest music and the best crowds. For me it is important to be booking new and different artists across all the stages, they might not be at the top of the poster, but when the festival is finished, that is who people go home talking about.”
THE CROWD MAKE THE EVENT, IT WOULDN'T BE ANYTHING WITHOUT THEM
If you’re attending this weekend, we’ve narrowed down a handful of five artists that should be on your itinerary. Ranging from the fast, silly and tekky, to the loud, confusing and serious.
An all girl three-piece, providing experimental math rock fusions and polyrhythmic multi-instrumental grooves. Hailing from Japan, these girls have been embarking on a mission all over the world, having toured in the US, the UK, Asia and further. For your experimental band style needs, Paranoid Void are ones to check out.
Co-owner of NSA Records and Lemtek, Miki holds an interesting and intriguing sound in breakcore and tek. From Durham and now based in Bristol, Miki is no stranger to the decks and certainly knows a thing or two about breaks, and about raves. Following on from his collaborative EP with Simply Dread a couple months ago, they’re going b2b on the Jigsore Arena for some unadulterated broken beat mayhem.
DJ LORD OF THE RINGS
LOTR samples, donks and airhorns. They emerged from the depths of the Shire a few years ago, and their journey around the UK has been well fought. Clubs have been dismantled, brains have been rewired, and lives have been changed. Catch them at Balter for their last UK set of the year, it’s not one to miss.
Long Live The Animals co-founder and underground rave maestro, Limp 182, also known as Drake Mallard, holds a masterclass in nostalgic rock and metal mixed with heavy rave. For a laugh and a cry, catch Limp 182 at the Dutty Disco.
‘Bristol's Dirtiest Noise Goblin’ - for the downtempo enjoyers and revellers of all things confusing, angry and poetic, this Bristol-based group have got the bag of tricks you may be desiring. Ponder your thoughts, scratch your chin and let out some screams, whilst Monika Badly display spoken-word over industrial style anarchy over on the Phlegmgazm stage.
“Four days of unbridled madness with beautifully individual people and the best new music” is how Elias describes the festival. Not much more can be said on the matter, the next logical step is to cop a ticket and experience the craziness yourself.