THE ancient and eccentric town of Lewes is the perfect setting for a home-grown festival celebrating the weird and wonderful collection of music and visuals that fall under the umbrella of "psychedelic" in the 21st century.

Returning for its third year in its current form at the beautiful All Saints Centre, this year’s iteration was better than ever.

We arrived to the blissful sounds of Wax Machine, a young band with a carnival-esque look (complete with clown makeup and flowing garments). Their unusual combination of blissed-out pop and funky guitars with flute and soprano sax set the scene for what was to be an eclectic evening.

It's worth mentioning at this point the visual ambience provided throughout by the festival co-organiser and experimental projectionist Innerstrings (real name Chris Tomsett), whose acid-trip splashes of shapeshifting colour slid around the walls of the old venue, making it feel like the audience were trapped inside a giant lava lamp.

Continuing the theme of arresting visuals mingling with forward-thinking sounds, as the next act Adrena Adrena took to the stage an enormous moon-like orb had been suspended high in the air at the front of the venue.

Japanese rock drummer E-Da Kazuhisa, his drumkit almost hidden beneath the shimmering white sphere, filled the room with complex avant-garde rhythms that ranged from jazz to punishing breaks, culminating in a wall of ear-piercing white noise.

Next came Vanishing Twin, an ensemble of experienced musicians each with an impressive pedigree of previous bands under their belts, coming together to form a dark, droney undercurrent of keyboards and guitars, held together by the soaring vocals of frontwoman Cathy Lucas.

Friday night headliners Wolf People are the best British band you've never heard of. They play true psychedelic rock in the 60s tradition, directly descended from Hendrix and Cream, dragged into the present via a strong infusion of English folk form and myth.

Close to the end of the touring cycle for their most recent opus Ruins, an ode to the impending collapse of civilisation, the band were tight and confident as they launched into a set consisting of a mix of recent and older material. It was triumphant, and as Wolf People start work on a new album, the world is theirs for the taking.

Onto day two, and a dank afternoon was brightened by the propulsive and thought-provoking songs of Dog In The Snow, aka Brighton-based songwriter Helen Ganya Brown. While her music might not fit into a neat definition of psychedelia, tracks like TV and Consume Me were diverse enough in sound and scope to defy genre and mesmerise the packed audience.

La Houle, from France via London, demonstrated their blissful, melodic shoegaze before Portsmouth rockers Melt Dunes delivered a sprawling show that fell somewhere between awe-inspiring and disorientating.

Former Stereolab man Julien Gasc followed, exemplifying his natural ear for melodies – it just seemed a shame that they were often drowned out by the overbearing instrumentation of his band.

As thrillingly fierce as much of the guitar music at the festival was, electronic duo Soccer96 offered a welcome change of pace and proved to be one of the highlights of the weekend. Dan Leavers' fleet-fingered synth work was matched beat-for-beat by the astonishing drumming of Max Hallett in a set that was both impeccably tight and, appropriately for the festival, mind-bending.

After such a sonic storm if fell to Swedish group Josefin Ohrn and The Liberation to close proceedings. Their take on psychedelia borrowed from 70s rock and adds driving, repetitive rhythms and catchy hooks. Needless to say, the sell-out crowd was rapt.

Once again, Lewes Psychedelic Festival proved itself to be the best way to take a deep, satisfying trip without leaving East Sussex.

Rachel Strange, Jamie Matthews and Edwin Gilson