Kallida festival 2019 was an absolute treat. From the picturesque gardens to the Manor house, the festival couldn’t help but make a strong impression. Held this year at Sparkfields Hall in Yeovil, Somerset (19th-21st July) the site stands out with the clever light installations, intimate club spaces and tearout-fun main stage. The atmosphere was conducive to the clued up holistic party British festivals tend to get so right.
For those not acquainted with Kallida, it’s an intimate 400 capacity affair that focuses on providing a safe, friendly and well curated experience in the kind of country manor one of the characters in a Jane Austen novel might be found. The stages were perfect - a basement room split in two by a cage for the DJ, a ground floor dining room transferred into a modern feel club room by riveting lighting, a small outside coach house providing a platform for some of the smaller late night acts and big open air marquee for the daytime - and predominantly - live acts.
The set up of the festival suits the size and vibe perfectly - a main stage hosting all manner of acts serves up the entertainment each day prior to the the three smaller and more intimate dance stages open up later to provide the evening’s revelry. In addition to a pool party on both Saturday and Sunday held by Kallida stalwarts (including Colder Tech Support) there was no lack of gripping and forward thinking music.
The festival platformed a range of acts associated with Nyege Nyege Tapes including Kampire, and Otim Alpha - a two piece from Uganda playing a synthesis of ‘modern’ electronic beats with traditional acholi wedding music and transforming it into a style called acholitronix. Frenetic yet precise, energetic yet captivating, it was a blinding performance on the festival’s main stage that was likely burnt into the memories of all in attendance.
Otto and the Mutapa Calling, another excellent live act based in London, which includes - according to their own website - soprano, tenor and baritone marimbas (almost like large wooden glockenspiels), mbira, hosho, drumming and singing were another absolute highlight of the weekend.
Otto and the Mutapa Calling
Teki Latex’s genre bending performance in the cage (which reminded me of London club the Cause’s main room booth) was also spectacular. Blending bassline, electro, techno and seemingly everything with mainstream pop and some classic hits only served to prove what a fine art the French Maistro of genre mashing seems to have honed. He had the crowd eating out his palm all night. Nothing was off limits.
Proteus had the Coach House bouncing with her eclectic blend of ear bleed techno and electro, she brought a lot of energy to the room and despite it’s small size and despite contending with more well known acts, she kept the floor going for the whole of her set.