Prior to the festivities you all are so familiar with, in the South of Amsterdam in a place called RAI, the organizers of Valhalla revealed a festival that was beyond any expectation. Its proportions were felt immediately as a cordon of people was taking the direction to VALHALLA.
Since last year, Amsterdam & its party folk won’t be awaiting the magic of Christmas. Instead they will all look forward to the dreamlike festival where Holland greets selected artists from the electronic music industry in a two-way street. For those who do not know, Valhalla is a circus-like festival of great proportions. It’s a place where your DJ heroes are worshiped and venerated just like the name of Valhalla tells.
It extended over a number of eight stages, each with their own specific sound. The transition between stages or the search of that other sound within the festival was enlightened or darkened, depending on your state of mind, by trippy rides, games, clowns, magic tricks, carousels and anything you could think of in matter of fun and weird. Everything was specially designed so you would feel just like in full-scale circus. For some even multiplying their childhood memories of a circus with electronic music.
The Colosseum, one of the main attractions, was placed in the furthest point from the entry, and for good reason, You had to prove yourself worthy of reaching the techno Colosseum by starting a mind blowing adventure that passed through the entire circus of Valhalla. The place got packed in less than an hour with techno lovers and day trippers. Juggernaut techno legends such as the Dutch astonishment Egbert, Robert Hood one of the pioneers of the American Minimal Techno and also UK’s Alan Fitzpatrick burned out everybody’s shoes in the arena.
If anybody was interested in some fresh new sound that’s coming out now, Prestige was delivering what was essential trough new qualitative sound. In a form of a capsule, it felt as if you’d departed from the circus within and entered a hip location dictated by new music. Artists like Kerk!, Samuel Deep and Prunk delivered the freshest house sounds.
After being fascinated by carousels, a quite bizarre boxing match or bikes in a cage, you would find yourself in a corner called the Cotton Club. With an average of 100 people every time and people coming and going as they pleased, that place had a distinct vibe. This corner served as a minor distraction from everything that was going on around. Although the stage didn’t stand out as much with any specific features, the DJ’s present gave their 100% the entire night.
Then there was the Circus stage…There’s not much to say about this area except the artists & the sound that was coming out of the “tent” was at a world class level. Indie-Dance lovers could feel right at home. Obscure and never-ending can better characterize this particle of sound&space which was packed at all times. Finnebassen, Oliver Schories, & Joris Delacroix are just a couple of names which hopped on the Carousel before appearing on the Circus Stage.
Another main attraction on the festival was the Orchestra Pit where the DJ truly orchestrated a show of sound and good vibes all around. Artists like Solomun, Tom Trago and Tensnake kept their sets in theme with the name of the area as the orchestra was complete; well except Eats Everything and TEED who took matters into their own hands and gave meaning to their set by offering a circus of sound.
After a musical circus fest of nearly nine hours long, I was dizzy when I set foot outside again. This was more than a good party, it was a happening with all the bells, whistles and craziness that your mind can handle for one night. There will undoubtedly be another edition of Valhalla next year, where we’ll meet again, preferably zoning out on a carousel to the tunes of our favorite DJs.