As far as DIY festivals go, you will be hard pushed to find one that embodies the ‘let’s pitch in together’ spirit more than the Three Wheel Drive this summer. Having relocated venue to Andover, Hampshire – and skilfully negotiated any teething issues that are an inevitable part of the growing process – all the elements are in place for the festival to bloom as it enters its second year. Promising to regenerate the warm organic atmosphere of the first, with a carefully curated three day line-up of bands, DJs, food, and art, the 3WD merits an inked mark in your summer calendar. Here is a mixed pick of some highlights of this year’s event that are not to be missed:
I.R.O.K : An Afro-punk band, otherwise known as the ‘The Intergalatic Republic of Kongo’, whose journey into outer-worldly funk is incredibly hard to follow. In reality, ‘I don’t understand this band’, a phrase which acronyms into I.D.U.B so neatly it leads me to think that inaccessibility is part of their objective. Drawing largely from Afro-futurism, a genre previously unbeknownst to me which can be dated back as far as the alien motifs in George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic, I.R.O.K are set to headline the Friday night with a show which pushes the boundaries of convention so far you will be left questioning whether the major key is more uplifting than the minor after all. Even if you don’t manage to grasp any auditory pleasure from this performance, the show promises to be something in and of itself. Even if this something is completely detached from your normal definition of good.
The Guest : Formerly part of Nervous Conditions, whose tumultuous and well-documented year has left what can best be described (using the beautiful words of Chris Martin & Gwyneth Paltrow) as a conscious uncoupling, the Guest’s burgeoning solo career has clearly involved some serious soul searching, and resulted in astute social commentary. Here is a selection of some of the lyricism within the reflective ‘Theme From Failure Part 1’:
“He lost all he thought he could ever love, so he fell to his knees and asked God; why must you punish me? I’m far too handsome not to be in magazines. So… I watched Mad Max Fury Road with my mother to learn what masculinity means… And I bitched about every group in South London, I am Sorry, Sorry.”
Sorry : Actually from North London, which only adds to the Guest’s aforementioned witticism, this band are undisputedly hot property at the moment. Imperfections and disjunct are central to their grunge-inspired sound. Oozing a certain mysterious, meticulous and disconnected aura, Sorry have been patient and calculated in building their identity – keeping full autonomy over their sound and creative vision.
Tom Drew : One part of Loop Hole Dub Station, a DJ duo whose esoteric dub selection last year was a unanimous highlight for the select few who chose to venture into the forest by daylight. I will be there again this year, and I will be sitting down for maximum comfort.
60s Space Engine : A self-proclaimed musical mechanism, and festival favourite, whose daytime explosives at last year’s event has – quite rightfully – secured them the Thursday night headline slot. I don’t think I can preview their performance any better than their own description, so try and consume this:
“We all love engines. We wake up, brush our teeth with a tooth-tool. We go to bed, tucked up in our sleep-machines. But no mechanism has brought more joy to the ears of carbon-based life than 60s Space Engine. This engine transmits 8-bit psychedelia between 1,000 and 5,000 Hz rendering any Earth-born a dancing ball of energy in minutes. Prepare yourself for washing ambience ready to erupt into hectic fuzz at any moment. If you like your sci-fi tales told through a Big Muff look no further. This space engine will show you corners of the cosmos you didn’t realise were inside yourself all along.”
Vinyl Hunter : A family run record shop, from the finest county in the country, bringing a selection and small sound system to the festival. I remember going to Vinyl Hunter’s Bury St. Edmund launch four years ago, and being mightily impressed by the operation, this initial impression has been validated by consistency over a sustained period. Quality assured.
239 EF : Kristina and Chloé, formerly known as Latete Atoto, are NTS residents who know their way around the turntable. Promising to bring an assorted range of rhythms to the Hampshire countryside, these high class selectors will attempt to get every blade of grass trodden at the venue.
Pluma : A food outlet based in Grow Tottenham, whose vegan ideology is so ethical, even the term wholesome does not quite suffice. This food stall promises to be completely delicious, and leave the diner with a clean conscience.