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Arctangent Festival Review 2022

I don't even know where to begin when it comes to ArcTangent Festival - I didn't know what to expect as I had always been to Rave-like festivals in the past where wide-eyed people walk around gormlessly whilst you are stuck inside a Techno tent wondering why you are in the Biblical Sodom & Gomorrah situation and in what past life did I F***. up so bad to deserve this; ArcTangent is the complete opposite.

Sat neatly in the Mendip Hills of beautiful Somerset, ArcTangent is isolated enough to make you forget your 9-5 job for just a short while. Consisting of five stages which sit shoulder-to-shoulder, the 4-day festival had an impressive lineup with headliners such as Opeth, TesseracT, Cult of Luna & Her Name Is Calla. ArcTanGent is known as the festival to experience all sorts of subgenres such as Math rock, Post-Rock, Shoegaze and Black Metal (and many more), so we were excited to see how they would fit all this fantastic music into 4 days.

You would think with such a heavy lineup of Rock that the festival would be insanely intense and domineering but in all honesty, it's the nicest festival I have EVER been to. Open arms, friendly faces - people are here for the music, it is what binds us together and the people who attend are passionate about creativity.

We saw a lot of acts, all brought their own unique qualities which made it hella easier to remember them. because of this, if we included EVERYTHING then it would be a thesis and we want to avoid that.

Arriving on Wednesday saw us get to grips with the area, following the buzz of people we made our way around to see that the one stage was open, playing heavy rock to get us into the mood for the next couple of days. People were chatty and sociable and a point that I will keep making - everyone is friendly. smiles all around, food in hands from quite a large selection of vendors and in the midst of the countryside. Wednesday evening was a good day, bearings all set and tent up, a few ciders and bed it was. I am old now.


Manchester based band PIJN
PIJN @ ATG Festival

First big day of the festival, waking up in a hot sweaty tent brought back memories of musical life before the pandemic, people buzzing we sprung awake to run down to catch our first band of the day PIJN. We saw them a year ago in Manchester, standing out for their raw and organic sound which I think they project effortlessly, so we were excited to see what they brought to a bigger arena. As they were setting up, and sound checking the people funnelled in and filled the space quick. rocking out, a few people muttered, "these guys are epic!" as they churned out experimental rock chords and head-banged to the end, 30 minutes does not do them justice.

Hilda Heller of BLODET @ ATG
Hilda Heller of BLODET

Coming all the way from Sweden post-metal band, Blodet. With lead singer Hilda Heller whose voice reached out to everyone, especially during the song 'she remains', her voice reminding me of a young Blondie was particularly sensational. Before the end, the whole stage was packed to the brim, with people swaying in a trance-like state, a testament to the music.

One of the most notable for us on Thursday was A. A Williams who wowed us with her voice and filled the venue full of energy that we spotted a few people with tears in their eyes because of the emotion portrayed. Known for her melancholic vibes and lamenting lyrics it was nice to see her on the main stages, having an entire tent in the palm of her hands was a real scene to behold, the grasp she had was otherworldly.

A.A Williams @ ATG 2022
A.A Williams @ ATG

I would say in terms of acts there was a mixture of hard-hitting, heavy and soft melodic. there is a balance which must be upheld to ensure that all artists are given a fair chance to project their sound, unfortunately, this was not the case with Natalie Evans. Known for her joyful, whimsical upbeat tunes which have roots within the Math-Rock scene, she provided a respite for us, a haven in which we could take a step back from the hard-hitting sounds. yet was positioned slap band in the middle tent during other artists who were a lot harder in sound. as the people pushed forward and her politely apologising for the sound not travelling far, I did think it was rather unfair of them to place her there, at that time, on one of the heaviest musical days. with that being said, she took it like a true performer, harp and everything and delivered an unbelievable beautiful set that made me wish there was another area, further away that would have projected her music better. listen to her album below here for a better look into what she has to offer.

With this being said, the acts and sound got progressively better. By a post-rock-inspired session from MaybeSheWill as the sun lifted her head above the tent, it was cathartic and cinematically sound which led on perfectly to Prog metal band, Cult of luna closing. Lights bounced, beers glugging as the vibrations hit the air and C.O.L jumped on stage giving a visceral and moving set which made even the biggest, Viking men jump in glee. playing tunes such as 'Passing Through' and my fave, 'Cold Burn' which made day 2 fantastically memorable.


MONO @ ATG Festival 2022 - photo by Jez Pennigton
MONO @ ATG Festival 2022 - photo by Jez Pennigton

Friday was a great day, with such a beautiful lineup! Covet got us grooving with Yvette Young's sick riffs, whilst Caspian got us blaring loud with a cinematic rock set midday. feeling the rain oncoming, the clouds got bitterly grey we ran over to hear the post-rock gods (and goddess) that is MONO. People politely packed in, some sat amongst the side but all in all were stunned by their set, some crying from emotion (good emotion). I spoke briefly with them backstage, imploring them to play 'Ashes in the Snow' in which they comforted me by saying it would be played. That was the opener and one of the most special moments of the entire festival.

After a little food we were ready for the evening, firstly seeing the crazy atmospheric set by Swiss Avant-Guard rock band Zeal & Ardor who blew us away. Manuel Gagneux, the lead singer, got the crowd pumped enough for the closing set by Tesseract. with lasers zipping through the air, Tesseract closed with a hypnotising bang which was the highlight for many when we asked around. they stood out because of this and for the incredible energy put forward with songs such as 'Juno' & a few from their 2021 album 'PORTALS '. Oh, we do love a light show. this was more than enough for our energy, we slept soundly that night.


Closing set Tesseract - Friday
Closing set Tesseract - Friday

The last day, Saturday - It started off hard and heavy, making a reminder to everyone that it was the last day, Frontierer woke us up, with an insane set and equally insane crowd. Coffee in hand after being shaken awake we saw see Elephant Tree, who released stoner and doom vibes into the crowd, groovy. Applauses echoed into the late afternoon, Jo Quail graced us with a mesmerisingly heavy set with her cello, creating a brooding performance which has to be seen.

This Will Destroy You (TWDY) brought post-rock to Saturday by playing some outstanding songs from our fave album S/T, these guys are essential listening in our very valid opinion. lying down in the sun, and listening to this iconic band made us incredibly happy to go into a much heavier night.

Pupil Slicer melted the stage with some heavy, punk vibes, igniting the crowd into a mosh pit and churning them up like Fred Durst at Woodstock '99. With that mind-altering performance, we rushed over to see Opeth play. Not what we expected as we heard that every set they play is different - they were soft and gentle at first, talking a lot but as soon as they got the crowd warmed up they led a powerful performance which echoed into the night. with this on our minds, we had to catch Her Name is Calla over the other side. Gives a different emotion in comparison to Opeth, yet still delivered an emotively strong set which borders Folk & Post-Rock, perfectly highlighting the range of genres that this festival has to offer and will always offer.

We cannot go without mentioning The Silent Disco. We unfortunately only got the opportunity to try it out on the last night, but save the best for last right? packing into the main arena, people flew in to make the last night as memorable as possible. on one channel you got intense rock which led on nicely from the festival acts, to DnB and even Tattu with "All the Things she said". one questionable time was when it went from Snoop Dogg to Johnny Cash - NEVER DO THAT AGAIN, horrific. Would I have liked to have heard some ABBA - of course, will I do it again... maybe - convinced Id be a better DJ.


Overall? People were polite, kind and always looking out for you. ATG is a wonderful festival for people who enjoy the rock genre, who want to explore different sub-genres and all in all have a bloody memorable time. There is a reason why there are veterans of this festival and every single year it grows and grows, making improvements to sound and overall quality which makes it one of the best festivals I have ever been to.

What would we change, not much looking back. In one way It would be nice to see some tents which accommodate things other than music or food - more chillout areas, more arty tents, maybe more musical associations through labels & Artists talks - but then again, would that take away from the charm of ATG?

Now you ask, would we go back?... no question about it - obviously we would.

See you next year for ATG 2023

Watch this space for some of the interviews we managed to bag... you will want to hear them.


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