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REVIEW: Maui Waui festival ‘a round the world ticket to new musical discovery’

PUBLISHED: 10:30 27 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:04 28 August 2018

Bloodshake Chorus performed at Maui Waui's Main Stage on Friday night Picture: JERRY TYE

Bloodshake Chorus performed at Maui Waui's Main Stage on Friday night Picture: JERRY TYE

JERRY TYE

It is the mind-boggling diversity that sets Maui Waui festival apart.

The Gentleman's Dub Club performed at Maui Waui festival on the Main Stage on Saturday Picture: JERRY TYEThe Gentleman's Dub Club performed at Maui Waui festival on the Main Stage on Saturday Picture: JERRY TYE

For three days, a quiet corner of the Suffolk countryside is magically transformed into a wonderland of international music, arts and culture, offering a cornucopia of sonic delights for all tastes.

Across six stages, crowds could watch acts veering from the mind-bending electronic dance of British rave pioneers Eat Static, through to afrobeat, reggae, folk – and everything in between.

For festival-goers seeking to broaden their musical horizons, Maui Waui is like a round the world ticket to new discovery.

Wrestling on the Friday night at Maui Waui festival Picture: JERRY TYEWrestling on the Friday night at Maui Waui festival Picture: JERRY TYE

Personal highlights included the politically tinged “roots reggae folk-hop” of the Undercover Hippy, the charming folk of The Shackleton Trio and the raucous energy of London dub-punk outfit Smiley & The Underclass.

Asian electronica pioneer Talvin Singh, who is now based in Suffolk, delivered a mesmerising performance in the Flavour Parlour, dance influenced folk three-piece Headspace led what seemed like a barn dance in an asylum and Bloodshake Chorus offered up a unique combination of horror movie theatrics and rousing rock ‘n’ roll.

The Scribes, a new wave hip hop three piece from Bristol, were my unexpected favourites, with a performance filled with energy, humour and lyrical skill. Their set fired through catchy hook-laden tracks interspersed with jaw-dropping feats of beat-boxing and a freestyling master class in which Ill Literate challenged audience members to wave random objects at him to weave seamlessly into his rap.

The Maui Waui festival storyteller John Row Picture: JERRY TYEThe Maui Waui festival storyteller John Row Picture: JERRY TYE

Alongside the music there were circus performances, children’s activities, body art, craft demonstrations, storytelling, wrestling and an endless variety of stands and stalls so that at times the site seemed more like a massive bohemian village fete than a mere music event

The diversity was reflected in the audiences who represented as colourful a cross-section of society as you’d ever be likely to encounter within such close proximity. There were festival veterans in psychedelic costumes, country gentlemen in tweed suits, young families with babies in buggies and scores of children playing happily.

At one point, I ventured into a lively rock ‘n’ roll set past a group of leaping young fans to find an elderly gentleman sat serenely on a walking stick seat in the midst of the action.

One of the Maui Waui festival sculptures Picture: JERRY TYEOne of the Maui Waui festival sculptures Picture: JERRY TYE

Elsewhere, ravers danced alongside young children wearing shoes that flashed different colours.

The organisers’ attention to detail was evident everywhere. From the sculptures around the ground to the models of strange nautical creatures, which enveloped the stages, down to the waltzer cars that doubled up as seating.

If I had to find fault with the festival it would be that the audiences were almost too spoiled for choice, meaning that some great musical performances were played in front of crowds that at times seemed unjustifiably small.

One of the Maui Waui festival sculptures Picture: JERRY TYEOne of the Maui Waui festival sculptures Picture: JERRY TYE

However, that could be easily rectified by more attendees. So here’s hoping “One of Suffolk’s best kept secrets” doesn’t stay too much of a secret for long.

Visit Maui Waui for more.

Cheering children at the Maui Waui festival Picture: JERRY TYECheering children at the Maui Waui festival Picture: JERRY TYE

One of the Maui Waui festival sculptures Picture: JERRY TYEOne of the Maui Waui festival sculptures Picture: JERRY TYE

Kat, coordinator at the entrance to the kidz area at the Maui Waui festival Picture: JERRY TYEKat, coordinator at the entrance to the kidz area at the Maui Waui festival Picture: JERRY TYE

Eat Static performs in the Crime Scene stage at Maui Waui festival Picture: JERRY TYEEat Static performs in the Crime Scene stage at Maui Waui festival Picture: JERRY TYE

Dancers at the Maui Waui festival World Stage Picture: JERRY TYEDancers at the Maui Waui festival World Stage Picture: JERRY TYE

Cheering crows at the Maui Waui festival Picture: JERRY TYECheering crows at the Maui Waui festival Picture: JERRY TYE

Maui Waui festival-goers at the Crime Scene stage Picture: JERRY TYEMaui Waui festival-goers at the Crime Scene stage Picture: JERRY TYE

Circus performer at Maui Waui Picture: JERRY TYECircus performer at Maui Waui Picture: JERRY TYE

Foolhardy Circus performer at Maui Waui Picture: JERRY TYEFoolhardy Circus performer at Maui Waui Picture: JERRY TYE

Bloodshake Chorus performed at Maui Waui's Main Stage on Friday night Picture: JERRY TYEBloodshake Chorus performed at Maui Waui's Main Stage on Friday night Picture: JERRY TYE

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