Imagine a secret corner of the Isle of Man – a magical corner hidden at
the foot of a mighty stretch of verdant hillside, cocooned by trees. A
corner flooded with happy faces, outrageously spacey and middle earthy
outfits, and… Glorious noise… Oh so much glorious, glorious noise!
What is it about Dark Horse though that makes it not so much a
staycation as a catharsis? Where there is no wind down, just a letting
of your hair down? Where even if you don’t drink (yes, painful), the
spirit lifts your spirits and even when your tent’s being battered by
gale-force winds and torrential rain, nothing can dampen them?
Is it the anticipation (huge!)? Is it the vast array of cultural
exposure – from the mind-bending textures of experimental ambiance, to
the happy beats cocktail bar; the hedonistic poundings of the dub club,
the supremely awesome Soundcheck stage, the local bands, the Mothership,
Mother T’s, the headliners and of course! The spout your shout Feral
stage - where I myself was blessed to be invited to strut my own poetic
garblings (dressed, rather dubiously, as a top hatted solar flare)?
Or is it just the toilets? No – seriously – is it the toilets? Because
really my lasting memory of Dark Horse will be eternally trying to reach
them only to be waylaid. This festival is simply one of the few places
where all my favourite party heads, old and new, seem to gather to break
the proverbial party bread together. Though I do love a good festival,
for me personally, it is this which sets Dark Horse apart as an
experience to be cherished – where each familiar face from all eras of
my (many!) years on this fair to middling planet Earth, is like finding
Funny then that I only stumbled on this incredible gem in the Manx crown
by accident. Back in 2017, I fortuitously emerged from an extended
health crisis, straight onto the intriguingly named ‘Dark Horse Stage,’
with Han-FX, JorDMC and my beloved trombone - literally the day after I
met them! The band is one adventure that continues to be a lot of fun -
Dark Horse a collective highlight in our musical calendar. People, party
and vibrancy all steeped in a huge breath of culturally delightful air,
2019 was stellar - big up to the organisers and roll on Dark Horse 2020!
By Jackie Morrey-Grace