Looking across the lineup for DGTL festival, it’s tricky to know quite what to expect. If one thing is clear; no expense has been spared. Even half way down the list, you’re looking at names that would normally be headliners in their own right. If you’re looking for a heavy weigh-in of DJs for your hard earned euros, then DGTL festival is the one but that’s assuming you get as excited about Gold Panda as you do about Adriatique.
When you arrive at the site you’re first struck by the sheer size of it. Six prefabricated stages are spread around the dockyard ranging from the ample Stereo stage to the absurdly massive Digital stage, all adorned with impressive lighting rigs, visuals, the whole nine yards. The surrounding industrial structures are all lit up, making for a spectacular surrounding, especially at night. It’s a good thing there’s lots to look at because you’ll be lucky to see what the DJ is up to, especially at the Digital stage. We miraculously managed to squeeze a look at Seth Troxler followed by Hot Since 82. Both had no problem filling the huge space and neither did the speakers but from the middle of the room it was hard to get an idea of what was occurring.
The Stereo stage, tucked around the back of the site, failed to draw much of a crowd at all on Saturday despite the powerful combination of Jackmaster B2B Optimo and a beautifully crafted closer from Joy Orbison ending on a banger from Midland. Jackmaster and Optimo’s set involved an individual DJ set up each and the two of them playing records over the top of each other in quick succession. The double act transitioned from the more break-led tracks from Jackmaster on the left into some pounding techno from Optimo on the right.
The Ellum stage proved a good middle ground between impressive scale and sound system and still some sense of connection, particularly when Maceo Plex took to the decks with a tempered and suspenseful set full of slow burning crescendos and erie atmospherics. Some unfortunate selections came by as well, like the ‘dance-floor ready’ edit of Crockett’s Theme, the main soundtrack from the Miami Vice series. The crescendo at the end of his set was even more unexpected though, as he ramped up the BPM until a wall of kick drums began to drill into the crowd before abruptly finishing, and that was that. A far from perfect ending in the most popular stage that day.
Picture credits: Marty Marn, Tom Doms, Kirsten van Santen