We Out Here Festival - Cambridgeshire 

(written by Maya Gough)

Photos by Georgia Fitzgerald  ︎ @fitzgeorgia

As a big fan of Gilles Peterson’s radio station ‘Worldwide FM’ and himself as a DJ; I was filled with excitement back in January when he announced the curation of his new festival ‘We Out Here.’ With the line-up including several live acts such as: Yazmin Lacey, Kokoroko, Laura Misch and DJ sets from Nui Guinea, Theo Parrish, and HAAi; I knew that this festival was going to be right up my street.

On arrival to the festival site, which was Abbots Ripton in Cambridgeshire, it was all fresh-faced to me like any other new festival; a completely new surrounding to explore for the next few days. Whereas for many others, a feeling of nostalgia, as they recalled their teenage years raving at the popular Secret Garden Party, which closed down in 2017.

By the time camp was set up; the evening was brewing. So we decided to head towards ‘The Woodland,’ to catch Matthew Herbet playing at 9pm. As we walked up the gradual hill towards the forest; a tangy orange sky stretched across the festival site; what a lovely introduction to the festival.

Picture of sunset can be seen below:

After acknowledging the beautiful sunset, we then headed into ‘The Woodland.’ As we navigated through, we came across a cute treehouse. As we walked up, there was a clear viewpoint of the ‘We Out Here’ sign, which was noticeably positioned for that purpose.

See pictures below:

We then headed deeper into the woods to find Matthew Herbet creating some happy vibes by playing remixes of classic tunes such as ‘Sing It Back’ by Moloko and ‘Show Me Love’ by Robin S. Gilles also made a short appearance during the set, stamping his mark, by exclaiming that this weekend was about ‘love + peace + unity.’ This was a tagline that was mentioned throughout the festival to remind those of what the festival was about.

Subsequently, we then headed towards ‘Rhythm Corner’ which was on the opposite side of the festival. This was definitely my favourite stage as it was a drop-down stage, I don’t know why but there is something about a drop-down stage that makes me excited! Another reason why I liked this stage, was the impeccable view of the moon. It was positioned so perfectly in line; it almost felt like we were being bewitched by the beautiful groovy tunes that Nu Guinea was playing. Later on, there was also more music from several DJs, such as the likes of Bradley Zero and Mike Dunn to see the night out.

As well as in the evening, there were plenty of DJs and live acts in the day to keep your ears musically fed. There were also other activities available in the day such as: several talks, a cinema tent, yoga and meditation. Unfortunately, due to continuous rain on the Friday, it almost felt like there wasn’t enough sheltered activities. This is an area that the festival organisers should definitely improve on for contingency.

Picture : The Klarna Smooth Sanctury 

However, a major turn on about this festival, was the amount of upcoming talent that was on the line-up. On the friday, I saw a young talented hip-hop group from Birmingham, called Ayy. I was extremely impressed with the way that this young group engaged with the audience, making cheeky jokes inbetween songs, and even during their songs, which I could see put a smile on the audiences face, which I thought was maybe lost due to the unfortunate weather. It was definitely refreshing to see talented artists and groups such as Ayy, getting the opportunity to play on the big stage. This is an attribute that I certainly respect about Gilles – his willingness to help others, and quite frankly his love for music.

Act : Skinny Pelembe playing on the ‘Lush Life’ stage. 

Act: Moses Body Exodus playing on the Main Stage. 

Overall, I had a great few days, despite the awful weather on the friday, which was undoubtedly uncontrolllable. I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere and vibe of the event - it seemed that people geniuenly respected the whole ‘love+peace+unity’ tagline. No-one ever seemed off their face (I’m not necessarily saying this is a bad thing) but people were actually there to enjoy the musical talent that was being provided. It was also a very family-oriented festival, with several children running around in the day and a few DJs who brought their family along, which I actually really liked as I think it contributed greatly to the friendly, and relaxed vibe of the festival. So if you’re looking for more of a chilled-out festival with you’re friends, after a big heavy weekend at Gottwood or Houghton, but still looking to have a good time, ‘We Out Here’ would be a good choice. 

Also, if you’re a Jazz fan, this is a festival for you. As a fellow modern Jazz fan myself, I can affirm that you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the vast amount of talented Jazz bands to see! For those who are not, there are also several other live acts and music that will cater to you. 

However, I do believe the festival was too big for what it was. I understand that Gilles maybe has a big vision for ‘We Out Here,’ but for the amount of people who attended, and the type of acts who played, I think a smaller, more intimate location would have been more suitable. Yet, this is my personal preference, whereas for many others who attended, they may not feel the same way. Despite this, I do think this festival has great potential, and I can see myself attending ‘We Out Here’ again.


Tickets for 2020 are already available now :