For 362 days of the year, Whitebottom Farm is a peaceful corner of the Compstall countryside.
But for one weekend, the dairy farm becomes a patchwork of tents and tipis as 5,000 ravers descend for music festival Moovin.
The event started out as a secret barn party organised by former Haçienda DJ Herbie Saccani in 2014. He was later joined by the legendary Manchester club’s manager Paul Fletcher and his partner Rebecca Rosenberg.
Five years on, what began with a crowd of 600 local music lovers has grown into an established fixture on the festival calendar that lures people from across the country.
“We came down to the second party and it was this congregation of people in a barn and a couple of tents,” Paul recalls.
“I stood there going: ‘This is f***ing brilliant. I haven’t been to anything like this for a long time.’ It reminded me of the parties I used to go to back in the day and I thought I’d really like to get on board with this.”
Over the years it’s attracted some of the biggest names in funk, soul, hip-hop, reggae, house and RnB, legends like De La Soul, Goldie, Groove Armada, Gilles Peterson and Black Grape.
Soul II Soul, pictured here at Parklife, are among this year’s Moovin headliners
(Image: © Joel Goodman)
Last year’s event sold out, yet it remains relatively under the radar compared with the region’s larger music festivals.
“It’s a bit of a hidden gem,” says Herbie.
“One of the main attractions, without doubt, is the location. We’re very lucky to be able to go on that property and put on such a great event, and all the punters are so respectful of the land.”
Returning from August 23 to 25, this year’s line up punches well above the festival’s boutique weight again, with acts including Soul II Soul, 2manydjs, Big Daddy Kane, Morcheeba, Inner City, Lee Scratch Perry and Nightmares on Wax across three main stages – the Barn Stage, The Udder One and Mini Moo – and several smaller ones, including Pastures Moo and Last Resort.
‘It’s a discerning audience’
(Image: Moovin Festival)
“We book acts we’re really into and luckily it attracts a group of really cool people,” says Paul.
“It’s a discerning audience – a bit of an older crowd, but in the last few years we’ve seen a younger generation coming in too.”
Herbie adds: “We don’t want it to be just an old-school event, there’s lots of contemporary music mixed in amongst the legends.”
Boutique camping at Moovin’ Festival
Away from the music, there’s a wellness programme featuring morning yoga sessions, gong baths and a massage tent, as well as street food stalls serving up a range of world cuisine using only free range, ethically sourced meat and dairy, as well as plenty of vegan options.
Traders lined up for this year’s event include Streatza Pizza, The Farmer’s Wife, Wholesome Junkies, Artisam, Que Delicia, Tibetan Kitchen, Man BBQ, Dubbing Good Food, Little Green Juice Box, Ginger’s Comfort Emporium and Coffee On The Hoof.
But it’s the crowd that organisers believe makes the festival truly special.
‘The people who come are friends by the end of the weekend’
(Image: Moovin Festival)
“The people who come are friends by the end of the weekend, because it’s quite a small capacity compared to a lot of festivals,” says Rebecca.
“In fact, there was a wedding last weekend in the barn on the site where we have the festival, of two people that had met at Moovin. We’ve had two other proposals too.
“It’s just a really nice vibe.”
Tickets are still on sale from Skiddle , priced from £115.50 for the weekend, £33 for Friday day tickets and £55 for Saturday or Sunday day tickets. Camping passes cost an extra £22 and are only valid with a full weekend ticket.