Orbital, Quantic and The Staves head into woods for brand new music festival

The Staves. Picture by Garry Jones
The Staves. Picture by Garry Jones

SOME of the biggest names in dance music are gathering in the woods for a new festival combining tunes and country pursuits.

The inaugural Stowaway Festival takes place this weekend, with sets by pioneering electronic duo Orbital, producer and DJ Quantic, and dance icons Erol Alkan, Nightmares On Wax, Roni Size and Norman Jay.

Also appearing are indie-folk trio The Staves, Elder Island, Luke Una, Ishmael Ensemble and scores of other acts. There is also comedy, headlined by stars Russell Kane and Suzi Ruffell on Sunday.

The event, which starts today, takes place among woods and lakes at Blackpit Farm, Stowe, near Buckingham, is set to become an annual fixture on the festival calendar.

Created in 2017 as the Festival Of Beer, it has this year being relaunched as Stowaway, with what it describes as a mission “to deliver the perfect weekend antidote to the trappings of the modern world combining the very best in contemporary culture with wellness and family activities and food and drink from all corners of the world”.

Oxford Mail: Orbital headline Stowaway Festival
Oxford Mail: Orbital headline Stowaway Festival

Orbital headline Stowaway Festival

Festival founder Duncan Wheeler said: “We originally created The Festival of Beer as a way for our friends, and friends of friends, to get together and have a great time in our beautiful woodlands, and as a way of promoting the Blackpit beer we brew here on the farm.

“We’ve learned so much over the past five years and the festival has grown and grown. We’re so excited to relaunch as Stowaway and can’t wait to welcome new friends to this very special place.”

He added: “There is a secret world to discover with music, comedy and performing arts across multiple stages. Set in picturesque countryside with ancient woodland and lakes, there are hidden parties, banquets in the woods, wild swimming and canoeing, wellness and relaxation, kids’ activities, and artisan food and drink, including beer from the on-site Blackpit Brewery.”

Oxford Mail: Elder Island
Oxford Mail: Elder Island

Elder Island

Electronic dance act Orbital – brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll – headline tonight. They said: “We are really looking forward to playing Stowaway Festival.

“We love this kind of festival where there is much more to do than just watch us – although you’d be mad to miss our set!

“We always enjoy exploring the hidden happenings and beautiful countryside; you never know where you will end up.”

DJ Luke Una, who became a viral star over lockdown, plays tomorrow. He said: “I can’t wait to return to this magical place in the trees, where we can riot together into the early hours to beautiful music.”

The Staves – made up of folk-loving sisters Emily, Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor – headline on Sunday. They said: “Especially after the last couple of years we can’t wait to headline Stowaway and be back on a festival stage!”

Oxford Mail: Star - Russell Kane will perform his new show at Charter Hall
Oxford Mail: Star - Russell Kane will perform his new show at Charter Hall

Russell Kane 

They will be joined on Sunday by Elder Island, who said: “We are so excited to be playing Stowaway this year.

“We’ll be out exploring the festivities and soaking up the countryside. And we have got to have a move and a groove to the incredible line up.”

  • Stowaway Festival takes place at Blackpit Farm, Stowe, near Buckingham, MK18 5LJ from today (Friday) to Sunday.

  • Tickets start at £129. Go stowawayfestival.co.uk