WE OUT HERE FESTIVAL 2023
Review and photography by Mia Breuer.
Trains from Brighton to Wimborne St Giles were filled with bags, tents and Brightonian Jazz enthusiasts ready for a brilliant weekend of beautiful scenery, a friendly atmosphere and great music at We Out Here festival 2023. At the new, larger locale, one could traverse through the grassy twists and turns that separated each stage- which held acts carefully selected by originator Gilles Peterson – or simply recline into the nearest hay bale.
Black Midi brought a raw, entrancing energy; a chaotic explosion of sounds that fell just into place. Their words, sputtered into the air with precise enunciation, immersed you into their theatrical telling of a hellscape, flaming over Morgan Simpson’s hypnotic drumming.
From Jah Shaka to the Smiths, Iqbal followed his We Out Here radio ‘warm up’ with a brilliant workout. In the warmly lit, intimate space of the Brawnswood tent, Iqbal connected with every soul in the room, spinning vinyl that called the sunshine inside.
‘I came to admire you for being alive’
As Alabaster Deplume ebbs and flows across the stage, he and his saxophone become one – for it becomes animated, and he becomes sound. A breath of thought lingered behind his every expression; the same word meant something entirely new with each utterance.
With the Brighton based record label Mr Bongo (and performing at Chalk just two nights before) Marcos Valle moved us with jazz bossa nova. He and wife Patricia Avi brought a magical romance, delivering a blessing of timeless joy and light into the air.
It was an immeasurable honour to see Brian Jackson’s final gig of his Summer tour. After his powerful main stage performance, Jackson shared his early memories of music with us in the talks tent. He described practising on a cardboard keyboard, which eventually led to his companionship with Gil Scott Heron. When asked, looking back, if there was anything he would change, Jackson replied ‘Not one. My life is all the things I did right and all the things I did wrong’.
SUN RA ARKESTRA
From Saturn, the Arkestra ventured to Wimborne St Giles and graced us with pure jazz and sequins. An array of instruments and colours filled the stage, certain to keep eyes transfixed as they danced. Celestial spirituality and imaginative whimsy; a very special spectacle. Space is the place!
Feeling right at home at We Out Here, Ezra Collective brought everyone together like old friends. Whatever any individual was feeling was set aside as the audience was united in a deeper sense of joy, which the collective joined as they jumped into the crowd. How fitting it was for this group to be the closing set, when the philosophy of Ezra is to study the greats that came before us. As Femi Koleoso said, ‘this is relationships built up through music over time, and how beautiful it is to see the youth taking it to new levels!’