History of Baskerville Hall

Baskerville Hall (a.k.a Clyro Court) near Hay-on-Wye was where Big Love Festival began, back in 2016. Prior to that, we ran another festival there for a number of years. We may have moved to a new location in 2022, but it will always have a place in our hearts.

Baskerville Hall has a special kind of magic, dating back to Victorian times when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a regular guest.

It was the early 1990s that really cemented Baskerville at the heart of one of the most influential underground music scenes since the 1960s.

Rave culture, music, dancing and parties had taken over the youth of the nation. Baskerville became a home to dance music, hosting parties by promoters that went on to become the stuff of legends.

Between 1990 and 1994 the venue played host to the likes of Danny Rampling, Carl Cox, Darren Emerson, Jody Wisternoff (Way Out West), Grooverider, Colin Dale, Luke Slater, Easygroove and Mixmaster Morris to name just a few.

The Warehouse-style nightclub attached to the hotel accommodated legendary rave promoters Fantazia, who put on one of their first parties at Baskerville, as well as the house music promoters Chuf Chuf whose weekend parties – often found happening in country mansions throughout Britain – were created for a more discerning type of clubber.

If the walls of Baskerville could talk they would probably say “Top one, nice one, sorted” and relay some crazy story about the executive suites of the hotel and the swimming pool.

Castlemorton marked the end of the free party scene in the 1990s; the government would make sure that the police would have powers to stop these events ever happening again by dealing a crushing blow to the rave scene with the criminal justice bill in 1994. The bill helped to create the systematic commercialism of dance music and the destruction of what was at the heart of the movement.

It meant that these parties were consigned to history only to be remembered by the party people who danced till dawn together.

Baskerville was a birthplace for some great UK festival giants with Green Man, Big Chill and Boomtown’s precursor bringing their festivals there during the early days, and still plays host to a number of underground events and music festivals annually. You could say this crazy hotel and mansion, with its anything-goes attitude, is one of the most significant venues to support underground music in the UK.

Big Love Festival carried on the tradition of bringing big vibes, good people and a proper party to this magical and musical estate for four years. After a two year break because of Covid, it’s time for us to venture out into a new site that offers even more creative possibilities.