Rosa Festival puts North of England “back on the map” for underground dance music

Written by George Barton

A new festival created by a young Sheffield-based music collective is seeking to champion up and coming artists in the underground dance scene.

Rosa Festival, born out of Rosa Audio – promises to be a “uniquely intimate and community-minded” experience, showcasing a variety of genres including drum and bass, reggae, bassline and garage.

Taking place near the scenic village of Bakewell in the Peak District, Rosa will host a score of talented DJs and producers; including Amplify, Bare Up  and Jaw-D.

“Rosa became an inspiring network of talented people that I just had to get involved in”

Alex Whitham – also known as Afex- a Sheffield based DJ and producer who is performing at the festival, told Sheffield Wire he thought “showcasing smaller acts is at the core of what Rosa is about, it’s something that gets them truly excited.

“There’s so much talent out there in bedrooms and basements but getting a chance to play on a larger stage with a big crowd is difficult without major popularity, and Rosa is really doing something special in providing an opportunity for people to perform and putting talent over fame.”

Afex said that although a lot of dance music has strong cultural roots in the South of the UK – where London and Bristol are recognised for pioneering genres like Drum and Bass – he thinks the North of England has a lot to offer to the scene, and believes Rosa Festival will help put North back on the map.

“For up and coming artists this also gives them so much more credibility moving forward and really opens up doors for their future which is incredibly valuable. I think a lot of people will have Rosa to thank for kickstarting their journeys.

“Underground music scenes are an integral part of UK culture and in my eyes it’s something that’s on the way up – our generation seems to have a real appreciation of past subcultures and an ability to breathe new life into them,” he added.

Two unique stages will include the Stag’s Head main stage and the Vibe Marquee, with grub provided by tasty food stalls – including the legendary Sheffield vendor John’s Van.

Headliners include high-energy Jungle producer Benny Page and the iconic soundsystem crew Mungo’s Hifi.

A spokesperson for Rosa Audio told the Sheffield Wire how the grassroots bass music crew – formed by a group of university students during lockdown – wanted to create something closer to the close-knit rave communities of the past.

“We took the pandemic as an opportunity to reassess how we could contribute to the industry. Looking at the state of UK festivals – we saw how commercialised and far from the original spirit of raving they had become, this where the idea of Rosa Festival was born.

“If you’re looking for a festival that will let you get closer to the spirit that drew you to underground music in the first place, Rosa Festival is the only place to be this summer.”

Rosa Festival will take place 15 – 18 July. Tickets can be found here.

Written by George Barton

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