- Zahin Ali
A Family of Ravers: Kaleidoscope Festival 2022 Review
Leeds-based dance night Wax Palace returned down south once again to close off the festival season with The Kaleidoscope. Set in Wiltshire, this intimate, 800-cap festival was all about championing a new generation of electronic DJs and producers, for a small community of lovers of the underground. Though intimate, this party packed a bass-pounding punch.
Spread over 3 stages and 3 days, headliners Riz La Teef and Dr Banana were joined by heaps of fresh, rising talent in dance music. The main stage opened on Friday night with a 5 hour takeover by Gimme a Break, shelling out electro, breaks and garage (and even paramore at one point) under a purple-lit revolving disco ball. The second stage - a repurposed old bus fuelled by Quantum Audio’s mammoth soundsystem - opened on Saturday with an all-day takeover from No More Parties, featuring sets from Ade, Xander and Syntax. The third stage was courtesy of Aurora Soundsystem - a sharp, weighty setup booming from the back of their campervan, hosting the likes of Moova and Lila.
Gimme A Break Records kicking off the Friday night
Other features across the weekend included takeovers from Nazakat and Aurora Sound, and sets from Papa Nugs, Luxe, Sophia Violet, Napes, Moova, Phasmid and Amy Os, spanning a diverse range of sounds - from breaks, to jungle, hardcore and beyond. The small but mighty crowds were on top form all weekend, gun fingering, skanking and head banging into the early hours of the morning, never letting up energy.
Honourable mention has to go out to DJ Love for an electrifying close to the weekend from the bus stage on Sunday night. His techno set - described as ‘biblical’ - managed to send the weather machine into overdrive and cause a prophetic thunderstorm that only served to turbo charge the crowd. One guy even hopped onto the roof of the bus and stripped off - imagine that final scene of Step Up 2, but instead of Timbaland, it was techno. You couldn’t have written a more fitting end to the weekend.
The festival wasn’t just about the music, though. There was a well-curated programme of activities throughout the weekend to keep festival-goers busy and united. To bide time during the day, there was stand-up comedy, morning yoga sessions, a live saxophonist and the chance to play a stranger at chess. All this helped create a chilled, friendly atmosphere across the weekend. From the ravers, to DJs, bar staff, security and the organisers, everyone was overwhelmingly nice, and always down to have a chat or a dance with each other. The community vibe of the festival was genuinely one of its highlights - and is an advantage of smaller festivals, as that’s an energy that’s hard to cultivate at bigger headcounts.
Scruz tearing up the bus stage
All I can say is, big up Wax Palace for putting on something really special. They managed to create a real sense of unity, backdropped by some heavy hitting sets from a range of old and new faces on the electronic music scene. They showcased the role that grassroots festivals have to play in keeping the underground alive and evolving and reminded us of the magic of intimate, DIY events. That being said, after the buzz that’s followed this weekend, I can’t imagine The Kaleidoscope staying this intimate for much longer. Ravers are already asking for The Kaleidoscope 2023, and I’m really excited to see how Wax Palace build on this years’ success to create something even better next time round.