ArcTanGent Festival is returning to Fernhill Farm in Bristol this weekend for it’s fifth year and luckily for me this is the fourth time I will have attended. It’s the only festival in the UK to be dedicated solely to math, post and alt-rock and although very niche genres, there are a hundred other reasons why to attend this unique, gem of a festival.
Every year they exert themselves with the lineup, boasting huge names including American Football, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, 65 Days Of Static, MONO, The Dillinger Escape Plan, along with the best names in this new scene. This year they have Explosions In The Sky headlining, who you may not have listened to at home, but I assure you they have soundtracked a film or TV show that you have watched. Alongside films Lone Survivor and Manglehorn; they have also featured in television series including Friday Night Lights and One Tree Hill.
So what else does the festival have to offer?
YOU DON’T HAVE TO WALK 25 MILES PER DAY
If you’ve attended to a huge festival you’ll know there is nothing worse than having to trek 40+ minutes from your tent to the arena and back each day. Well, being one of only 5000 people you don’t have this trouble. Everything is pretty much a maximum 10 minute walk from you at any given time meaning you miss a lot less, you can nip back to your tent for a change of clothes or more booze whenever you like and you’re less likely to lose all your friends after that emergency toilet break in the middle of a band’s set.
Again, the quality of festival food is generally pretty grim. Oh, £8 for a plate of re-heated, Tesco value chips? Please take my cash so I don’t die of alcohol poisoning. But here you have real tasty food that is reasonably priced. The Pad Thai and onion bhajis are a real talking point, but you’ve also got incredible woodfired pizza alongside a heap of other delicious cuisines to choose from. Additionally, many vegan and GF options to satisfy your dietary requirements and desires.
Silent Discos are awesome. You have multiple channels if one fails to please your ears at that moment in time, and ArcTanGent’s is exceptionally great. They usually have sets from bands that have played over the weekend alongside some of the best alt DJs from around the country. The Mars Volta Channel is also an added treat and you’re sure to hear some unexpected favourites.
YOU CAN DRINK YOUR OWN BOOZE IN THE ARENA
Following on from food being extortionate at festivals, having to neck a whole bottle of wine before you enter the arena at midday because you aren’t allowed to take your own alcohol inside the arena is less than ideal. I’ve got friends who are amazing with their smuggling techniques. I was also told an incredible story by a security guard last year about a guy who attempted to smuggle a bottle of vodka within a loaf of tiger bread; but to be perfectly honest, I can’t be bothered with any of that. You can leave your tiger bread at home here because you can drink your own booze wherever you like, so a cheap weekend to be had by all.
THE ATMOSPHERE IS LIKE NO OTHER
ArcTanGent is a noticeably friendly festival bursting with like-minded music lovers. You will almost certainly leave the festival as a new fan of at least a few of the bands due to the size and how accessible everything is. I know we all have a hundred different festivals to choose from each year, but this is definitely up there with one of the best.