It’s a rare thing to come out of a festival with anything else than a hangover. Virgo is different.

Well not exactly. You do come out with a hangover, a big one. But there is also something else. Let me explain:

Virgo is not your everyday festival. Located in Devon, one of the most beautiful part of England, Virgo is closer to a hedonistic utopia than to the orthodox definition of the word “festival”.virgo

© Hugo Revel 

For three days, the small crowd –around 600 persons- is cut off from the rest of the world, to create an ephemeral community that sleeps, eats, leaves and dances around the Virgo castle.    

This unusually small crowd for a festival still contains pretty much every element of the British music scene. Hippies, techno maniacs from the North, trendy Londoners, as well as numerous other styles you had never heard off.

On Friday evening the party goers gather in this isolated spot, to answer the call of Virgo. Once settled on a hill nearby, the crowd drifts towards the castle. Three stages are available. The first one is a massive “bedu” style tent planted on top of a hill with a view on the lake. Equipped with sofas, a bar and most importantly a Funktion one sound system, it’s the heart of the festival.

image2

© Hugo Revel 

For those that are highly motivated, the second stage -a small room on the side of the building- is dedicated to hard-core techno and drum n bass.

On top of that, the beautiful garden -ceiled by stone walls- that crowns the castle, is also transformed into an open stage. Your main concern at Virgo, is therefore to decide which of these three locations best fits your current mood. Easier said than done.

© Hugo Revel 

But in case you do feel a little bit overwhelmed by the activity around the three stages, you can also decide to have a little rest in the “hammock spot” situated a hundred meters away from the epicentre of the action. The venue offers, a hammock, a few sofas and a little out of tune striped piano which gradually becomes everyone’s best friend. 

© Ed Haynes

What sets aside Virgo from other festivals is that it is not entirely focused on partying. Daily activities are also central to the identity of the venue. One of the most popular is the Yoga class which takes place every morning around noon. But you can also attend a chocolate tasting session, watch troubadours juggle with fire sticks, cycle on the smoothie machine, listen to a live band or simply watch artist paint abstract art on giant canvasses.

© Ed Haynes

But for most people time passes simply by enjoying the atmosphere whilst listening to the exotic daily music selection, ranging from Ethiopian jazz to American disco. So even If you do feel a little bit consumed by the previous night -something exacerbated by the fact that you have to sleep in your underwhelming camping material- you do not actually feel tired because the atmosphere is so relaxing.

Anyway on Friday and Saturday music stops around two AM which means you are in decent shape the following day. A good call by the organisers because it allows the crowd to attack the last night with the required amount of energy. And that’s worth it, because this year Sunday evening was definitely the highlight of the festival.

For the second edition of Virgo, the very demanded Hunee played from eight to midnight on the top stage. His unique style is based on bouncy techno tracks, which he uses as a mean to introduce a fine selection of limited disco tunes. A very difficult blend that only he masters, which transcends the music and offers a rare combination of minimalism and disco. 

© Ed Haynes

Another interesting sight that night was the 3D projection of psychedelic images on the wall of the castle, which blew everyone’s mind.

The party then went on to the early hour of the morning, ending in the tent with only a selected few holding to that point. A quasi Darwinian selection.

On Monday morning the short-lived community disaggregated in a disorderly manner -some even leaving without their tents.

@Hugo Revel

On the train back home you are left to wonder: what was so special?

For myself it’s the memory of these moments when I was lying in the grass, feeling the sun and the light countryside breath on my skin, drinking a few beers whilst listening to some of my favourite disco tracks and enjoying the company. A few moments where I could think of nothing that could improve the instant.

See you next year…

Enjoy this selection of tracks played at Virgo 2016: