Festivals are popular all over the world but it really seems that nowhere does them quite like the Netherlands.
The flat Northern European country has a plethora of them, on just about all year round, but one of the foremost and standout offerings is undoubtedly Straf_werk. This year, the festival has more competition than ever with 40 odd in the city alone playing out in 2015. This one though, comes from the same people behind DGTL, Valhalla, and the Straf-Werk club night, so they really know their onions and cooked up a mesmeric setting for this year’s event.
One of the festival’s main features is that it supports its residents, giving them a big stage on which to do their best work. Prunk is one of those, and he had a great set time – on the main stage, ahead of Hot Since 82 (and, if anything, laid down a cooler set than the headliner). The crowd was a writhing mass throughout, climbing on shoulders and popping throughout. He dropped plenty of his own cuts like Another Vibe, as well as likeminded efforts from plenty of big names, proving how he really is on the verge of a breakthrough.
In all, the festival had five different arenas set up and each one different in look and sound. One was a huge marquee top that had a few thousand people in, and another was made out of vast shipping containers. Playing this stage was local Rush Hour man Tom Trago, who went pretty disco with his beats, followed by hot UK talent Huxley, dropping plenty of kicking garage cuts and bass heavy house bombs, before heading in to town to play the afters with Skream.
In the other arena we visited, we found Kink doing one of his mesmerising live shows with a vast array of hardware. He bounced about with much energy as he tweaked, filtered, cut and looped his techno and textured house sounds into a compelling evening soundtrack. The crowd loved his energy and repaid it in kindness every time he looked up. Also in the Green Arena was Innervisions man Henrick Schwarz, who went deep and moody with his great set and pleased the more heady fans in the crowd.
Over all this boutique festival is a great experience and not just for the music – the site has a dark, post apocalyptic vibe with industrial influences yet all set in a lush green forest on the edge of town. From wood pallets to steel containers, incredible light and lasers to crystal clear sound, every single base was covered and it really was a 360 degree party experience from start to finish.