Get ready for three days of nonstop stomping and silliness at the fourth instalment of Balter Festival coming 2-4 June at Chepstow Racecourse. With just 700 people gathered at Baskerville Hall in 2014, Balter’s capacity has grown every year, now attracting 4,000 seasoned ravers, skankers and stompers from across the country.
To balter is ‘to dance artlessly, without particular skill or grace, but always with great contented enjoyment’, and the festival promises an unpretentious environment in which you can truly let go.
Balter’s not for the faint hearted, with a strict over 18s only policy. The festival’s organisers openly state that not everyone can hack it, and this year’s Balter looks set to be a heavy one… If you can keep up, an intimate world of misfits and basslines far removed from the drab reality of the 9-5pm awaits.
With ten stages playing an eclectic mix of ska, gyspy, garage, jungle, hip hop, grime, dub, and electronica, Balter offers an array of underground live acts and DJs, as long as you like it lively. This year the festival’s open air main stage, dubbed The Caravan, is headlined by ska punk stalwarts King Prawn, the explosive Balkan energy of The Baghdaddies and the swinging sounds of The Zen Hussies.
South West soundsystem Jigsore will be bringing the free party vibes to Balter, rolling out jungle, techno and 4/4. And you can get your fix of DnB and breaks at The Hex stage, headlined by A-Skillz and Dutty Moonshine with a special Sunday Jungle soundclash with Born on the Road vs Rumble in the Jungle.
Other stages include Balkanical Circus, where you can see gypsy and Balkan bands; The Drawing Room, hosted by Life 4 Land, UK Jungle and Bris-Tek; plus 24hr Garage Girls, Dutty Disco, SIKA Studios, Irie Bingo and Buckyham Palace – bringing to the party between them a massive selection of garage and bassline, hip hop and grime, dub and reggae, and cheesy disco party tunes.
With the simple mantra: ‘don’t be a dick’, good vibes and friendliness are important to Balter, with its intimate capacity providing a great place to meet people and create lasting friendships. Facing a few complaints in past years, organisers have stepped up security this year to give everyone a safer party, so whip out that sparkly purple leotard and get ready to Balter!
Balter Festival takes place at Chepstow Racecourse on 2-4 June. For more information and tickets, head to balterfestival.com.
WORDS: Charise Clarke
PHOTOGRAPHY: Beth Bicknell & Robin Hill