If there’s one thing the dance music world does not need in 2023, it’s yet another festival. Indeed, there are now so many festivals that the season is fast becoming a thing of the past – hence why record label and events company Defected have expanded into the normally dormant winter months recently.
For us at Ears To The House, the first two weeks of January this year were spent sifting through numerous emails telling us about an endless number of festivals. Had we written about all of them, we’d have published nothing else for most of the month – but one or two themes did quickly emerge during our reading.
The main one? Most festivals in 2023 are basically the same. The same lineups of DJs seem to be on every bill – great news for those DJs who have a stream of consistent and high paying jobs, terrible news for a scene which has never needed new blood more than it does now.
Back in October of last year, Fabric announced that they wanted a slice of this seemingly lucrative pie – announcing they were launching the Exodus Festival. It was due to take place on July 8th and 9th on the grounds of Kelvedon Hall, a plush country house near Brentwood in Essex – currently owned by the Channon family.
The house was purchased in 1937 by Henry Channon, an American who moved to Britain in 1920 and became a Tory politician. Four years earlier, he married Lady Honor Guinness – and in case that name sounds familiar, this is the very same family associated with the infamous Irish dry stout.
But the very rich Guinness family, whom Channon married into, has been struck by no end of misfortune over the years. For instance, the founder of the Dublin brewery, Sir Arthur Guinness, had 21 children with wife Olivia Whitmore, but only ten of them reached adulthood.
Elsewhere, John Guinness, a British diplomat, was involved in a car accident in 1978 – which killed his 4-year-old son Peter. And in 1986, a then 22-year-old Olivia Channon was found dead in her room at Oxford’s Christ Church College – an overdose of heroin and alcohol were to blame.
Fabric announced recently that Exodus Festival would not be going ahead – and even took to Instagram to tell ticket holders there’s a free drink in it if they come down to the club on London’s Charterhouse Street on July 8th or 9th…
So what ultimately went wrong? Has the Guinness curse struck again, with Fabric being on its harsh receiving end? The jury is out on that one – but one thing less in doubt is a statement made by Fabric co-founder Cameron Leslie shortly after the festival was announced…
“We appreciate there are so many wonderful festivals out there – we have huge respect for our friends, colleagues and those who work hard to allow people to have amazing experiences and such a good time; but as a team we feel we can add something that complements such an amazing scene and with our own twist. We really hope everyone can enjoy what we are planning.”
The lineup for this festival, whose purpose was to “add something that complements such an amazing scene”, included the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Seth Troxler, and mysteriously rising star Ash Lauryn. In other words, their festival featured at least three DJs who are also appearing at numerous other festivals this year.
In their attempt to add something, Fabric have actually managed to add nothing…