Isle of Wight Festival 2018: A Weekend With Astrofunk

Backstage with Astrofunk

After an hour drive, an uber ride, a ferry and a water taxi, we had finally hit the Isle of Wight. An abundance of bags and tents were thrown into a buggy, and the Astrofunk boys clambered in. The engine spluttered and the buggy trickled along a solid three metres before coming to a sad halt. But this did far from dampen the excitement in the air, if anything it just made everyone more eager to get going. One hilarious rescue mission later, and nearly being flung out of a back of a buggy, we arrived in the campsite. Tents were popped up and sleeping bags were out – all with 5 minutes to spare. Harry Gibbons, Cal Sørensen and Oliver Johnston get memory sticks at the ready and run towards the Field of Dreams stage. 

It was the headline slot. A huge Astrofunk collab: Harry James b2b Wax (of On The Wax fame) b2b Goldwork. The stage loomed high and projections lit up the field: flashing names and showcasing other Astrofunk past times. The boys were fluid in their mixing, and had courage in their track choice. This field, in about 12 hours’ time, would be filled with nearly 10,000 happy England fans watching the World Cup game, and rest assured you, this Astrofunk set would have gone down a treat for the after party. The mark of a successful set is drawing in a crowd and making them stay there, and that was definitely achieved here. 

Harry Gibbons, Cal Sørensen & Oliver Johnston

The next morning, I peeled myself from the sweaty inside of my tent, and crawled out into the sunshine. Today was the day we were being joined by Dan Parsons, also known as Pandar. We meandered over to the artist lounge where Pandar would grace us with a set of disco tunes which perfectly accompanied the summer heat and the cool Old Mount Cider I was drinking. I had certainly never had a festival experience quite as relaxed as this before. From here we headed back to camp. Astrofunk’s duties were done for the weekend so it was time to explore (and by explore I mean find some beverages).

Zane Zephirin (sunami.wav)

It occurred to me this weekend that I honestly was out of my depth when it came to DJing. I witnessed a conversation whilst the Astrofunk crew, including Zane Zephirin (who played a killer set with Matt Baines on the Friday), were sat in front of me. We could hear the roaring sounds of the Smirnoff Stage and the boys were giving their honest opinions. They spoke with such intuitive critical thoughts, and technicalities that there is no doubt that they actually know what they are on about. They noticed things I would never dream of noticing, and had such a depth in their knowledge of different music genres. For anyone who thinks DJing is a piece of piss, and doesn’t really understand what DJ’s “actually do”, then simply ask them what they do, because believe me they have a lot to talk about. Not only are they DJ’s but they are producers, engineers, promoters, event planners, managers, and artists all in their own right.

The rest of the afternoon was consumed by live acts from the main stage: Van Morrison, Sheryl Crow and The Killers, to name a few. This was definitely more my scene than the set played by Ed Solo the previous night, but I enjoyed both equally. I guess you never really know what you’re going to enjoy at a festival. It was refreshing to see the Astrofunk lads appreciate the live bands just as much as the DJ’s. And it goes without saying that The Killers performed an incredible live set – one which made Harry Gibbons exclaim “This is the best moment of my life”. Couldn’t agree more Harry, couldn’t agree more.

So now Astrofunk head back to their Southampton home to conjure up more cosmic nightlife experiences for the astronautically inclined. But if they do happen to come to your town, make sure you get your disco dancing shoes at the ready and get your groove on, because it will be worth it.


Keep up to date with Astrofunk and all their resident DJ's here:
Harry James:

Alongside the others:


Oliver Johnston (Goldwork)

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