Animal Crossing might be a familiar crew to some readers. They’ve hosted stages at festivals including much-loved Welsh boutique stomp-off Gottwood, and the world-beating Glastonbury. They’ve thrown parties in abandoned car showrooms, and under derelict railway arches. Nevertheless, emerging from pandemic restrictions the team are well and truly coming of age.
On Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd August the promoters will throw their first ever solo festival, Summer of Love. Centred on an as-yet-unannounced location somewhere close to town, the event boasts a stacked line-up of artists and additional entertainment for those who want something beyond slamming 4/4 beats.
This includes a Smolensky Gallery-hosted Artist’s Corner, Wellness Hut with Mind Manchester and BLOK, and a Record Fair in association with online giant Juno. As for music policy, expect deep but bouncy, pared-back tech-y-ness from some seriously in-demand players.
Scoring a veritable coup d’état, Sunday sees Romanian minimalist icons [a:rpia:r] play together — Raresh, Rhadoo and Petre Inspirescu. Not something anyone sees everyday, Manchester hasn’t witnessed this for more than ten years.
Elsewhere, Apollonia’s Shonky goes b2b with Traumer for the first time ever, with Onur Ozer, Cristi Cons and Evan Baggs also on the list of names that should have you excited if you like it solid, long and loopy.
This is before we mention Praslea and Raresh going head-to-head as Praslesh for Saturday’s top billed act. Elsewhere, London party starters Hamish & Toby, and rapidly rising synth player Ethel should also be on any attendee’s list.
“Every decision we have made previously has to led up to creating the momentum towards the festival. It’s just amazing that we’ve been able to bring it to life after such a tough period,” Animal Crossing’s Olli Ryder tells of when the festival idea was born. “There are so many things we’re excited about.
“Musically, the people we’re showcasing are categorised as genuine artists,” he continues. “Creatively, we’ve really been able to spread our wings with the onsite look and feel, it will be a big ball of love from the moment you pass through the gates. We’re proud to be working alongside Smolensky Gallery, who’ll be showcasing an abundance of local Manchester artists in forms of spoken word, poetry, live art and so much more.”
Like any decent party, finding the location was a case of clutching triumph from adversity. “It was a happy accident, another site had let us down at the near-final hour, we reached out to an old friend of a friend and when we pulled up outside the gates the stars aligned and the sun beamed through the atrium roof. For me it’s a timeless space, it will forever feel fresh, raw and wonderful.”
While the festival runs for 24-hours across both days, the crew are looking to make a consistent, long-lasting impact on Manchester’s nightlife and grass roots cultural scene. Opened discreetly last month, Summer of Love Festival after parties will be held at The Loft, a brand new club venue that has been welcoming 200 dancers per night since 23rd July.
“The Loft is our own intimate club space, which will further add to the creation of our community. All-white walls, primary-coloured beams, and lime-coated booth sitting in the centre of the room,” Ryder says. “The space you want to go to on a weekly basis and see the same smiling faces. It’s just a hang out for people to come and enjoy good music, have a dance and be free.”
Summer of Love Festival tickets are still available — Weekend and Sunday passes only.
Keep up with what’s happening at The Loft on Facebook.