Somerley Tea Party’s Third Edition Kicks Off Festival Season
It now seems necessary that everyone kicks off their festival season with a small festival, or a day festival to begin feeling those summer vibes. Filling this category for us this year is Hampshire’s newest boutique festival created by well-known Bournemouth events organiser Get Satisfied. The Somerley Tea Party began three years ago set in the picturesque grounds of the Somerley Estate in Ringwood. Somerley have worked hard to create a unique dance music festival, keeping the elements of the event small and intricate. 2016 saw the festival pull in its best lineup so far across five different stages.
Also new this year was the addition of camping at the festival. This two night affair at the beginning of June seemed a very fitting way to break into 2016’s summer of festivals. They say ‘small is beautiful’, and Somerley have managed to keep the atmosphere that had been built in the previous two years of the event. Situating the campsite right next to the main arena did not upset the feel of the festival and partygoers were always right next to the action.
Friday night broke us gently into the festival. Somerley’s woods proved to be a popular stage; lights dangling from the trees provided a calming atmosphere and really sets the scene of the weekend ahead. Somerley’s dnb/bass tent returned to the festival, but this year was a smaller affair. ‘The Dome’, although not as big, was a more stable structure (after 2015’s popping of the inflatable dome) and offered a great space to listen to some jump up drum & bass and bassline music. Also on offer was the festival’s Big Top, which played host to a number of big names across the weekend. Most notably, on Friday night, tech/house producer Jonas Rathsman took to the decks. Bournemouth’s AU curated their own stage at the event; a small, well-designed area with an open-sided cover to keep the majority of audience protected from the elements. The only gripe with Friday, however, was the lack of people at Somerley. The festival felt exceptionally quiet, with many of the stages being beyond empty.
Saturday at the festival was the main affair though, with many punters turning up for the day festival experience. Saturday saw the fifth stage open up, situated in the Somerley Estate’s quaint walled garden. This year the festival organisers came up with an ingenious way of getting everyone into the walled area, without using the original gate, which is only really big enough for people to enter single-file. Temporary steel steps were constructed that went over the top of the wall and down the other side. This meant when reaching the top, you were overlooking the whole main stage and dance area, not to mention the amount of people that could enter the arena at once. This stage is where festival-goers were graced with the likes of BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac, tech/house legend Eats Everything and top British producer Redlight among others. This was certainly an improvement for the festival on 2015.
Somerley deserves a round of applause for bringing something different to the Hampshire music scene. The festival sets itself apart from the likes of Mutiny and Soundclash, creating a more calm vibe and focusing more on detail rather than size. We hope that the return of the festival in 2017 proves to be even better!
Site Setup 8/10
Festival Communication 7/10
Attention to Detail 8/10
Creative Content 7/10
Value for Money 7/10