Unless you’ve been living in exile (or don’t have access to the Internet), you’ll know it’s Hijacked Festival tomorrow. We’re pretty damn excited and are hoping for a day in which the sun and musical stars shine brightly. But this perfect day won’t be recorded by Lou Reed. Instead, music royalty from all corners of the contemporary soundscape will provide a fitting soundtrack for thousands of party people across the bountiful grounds of Powderham Castle. As we’ve explored elsewhere, household names complement underground tyros in the festival’s eclectic, progressive line up. But with so many stellar acts on offer there will inevitably be clashes. And, as experienced festivalgoers will note, clashes often provoke confusion, panic and fallout.
But don’t worry, dear reader. Like a journalistic Jesus Exetera is here to help you out of this pickle and guide you through the day with an eclectic schedule that will ensure minimum hassle and maximum pleasure. Although we dislike organised fun as much as the next strong, independent music lover, we can assure you that this plan of action will allow you to seamlessly float from stage to stage so you’ll magically be in the right place at the right time all the time. Thank us later.
If you’re catching an early coach to Powderham take a stroll around the grounds like you’re the Earl of Devon and absorb the surroundings. Clock the stages, bars and toilets as this will be you’re home for the next 12 hours. Duplex Sound will pump out quintessential deep house summer sounds at the Main Stage to get you nicely warmed up for the day’s shenanigans. Deep house then gives way to Our House, as residents Doodles and Marek continue the party for the next hour or so. After soaking up the atmosphere on ground level, you may want to get a birds eye view of proceedings with a ride on Hijacked’s very own Hot Air balloon. Grime Queen Madam X will then bring you firmly back down to earth with her dark, grimy sounds over at the Jungle Stage from 13.30.
After a half hour break to meet up with incoming friends for lunch, take selfies and make the online world jealous before heading back to the Main Stage via the bar to catch Real Nice Records’ Benedict Jackson spin some classic and cutting-edge disco/House. Mix things up with a trip over to the Aquarium at 15.45 to enjoy ex-Thick as Thieves heavyweight Deuchars blast out genre-bending sounds that blend everything from Soul to Techno into one sumptuous mix. You may be tempted to give your dancing shoes a reprieve, but the hardcore among you should bounce over to the Jungle Stage where student DJ Item promises to pound out the intense drum’n’bass and dubstep breakbeats that have made him such a stalwart in the Exeter scene this year.
Veteran jungle pioneer Congo Natty then takes to the Main Stage in the early evening for a set guaranteed to re-energise those wavering batteries and keep you skanking long in to the night, before Dropsteady Freddy offers a chance for you to put your gun fingaz up with an hour-long funkaledic hip-hop experience at 18.30. The football fans, however, may want to regrettably forgo Freddy and join this writer in watching Arsenal smash Aston Villa in the second half of the FA Cup Final on the big screen.
When the football’s over, head to the Aquarium stage to dance away your sorrows or celebrate your triumph to the sounds of Last Magpie, the man who puts the “Mak” in Mak & Pasteman. This is a particularly astute move if you plan on forgoing the duo to revel in Artwork’s set later on. Stick around at the Aquarium to witness techno triumvirate Dark Sky descend on the nautical stage. The trio’s debut album, recently released on Modeselektor’s Berlin label Monkeytown, is largely composed with live performance in mind. Here’s a fantastic opportunity to get up close and with some live instrumentation and bask in a moment of shifting techno-induced introspection before TEED kicks off a string of big hitting headliners ready to take over the main stage as the sun sets. His idiosyncratic combination of pop sensibilities and darker house vibes is sure to get the crowd stomping Jurassic style. Bok Bok will be wowing hordes over at the Aquarium, so if you want to shake things up you could do a lot worse than catch the grime groover before a certain Ms. Dynamite takes over for a half hour set back at the Main Stage from 21.30.
The loudest sing-along of the day is likely to be for “Dy-Na-Mi-Tee,” but the Queen of R’n’B boasts a fierce back catalogue straddling pop, garage and grime she consistently unleashes on raves around the country. One need only look at audiences’ reaction to DJs dropping certified bangers the likes of “Boo” and “Wile Out” (see the crowd losing their shit when DJ EZ drops “Boo” in his notorious three and a half hour boiler room set, for instance) to get an idea of what to expect as the evening draws to a close. Finally, stay put at the main stage for a climatic hour of the legendary Artwork. Coming to notoriety as one of the founders of the original dubstep scene in Croydon, nowadays you might hear anything from techno to grime in his sets. As one of the UK’s most experienced DJs, he’s certain to give a masterclass in partying to the people of Devon that’ll have you buzzing until the lights come on in the Phoenix afterparty.
Then, after a nightcap and kisses goodbye, it might be wise to get some sleep.