It’s been a week since DGTL Festival and we’re still recovering from the madness that weekend. Time to wind back and share our experiences. Here’s day 1 of our DGTL Festival report by Vlad Hatze.
10 AM, day before Easter, no chance I’m staying home. Wake up, wash my face, eat a bunch of cereal as you’re not going to come home for the next 2 days, say your prayer, arrange your take away “food” and out the door. One short bus ride and then you start hearing it. Across the river, the party is already on its way. The sound is propelled through the water, all the way to the other side of the shore. Out far you can see a huge a crane with a sign attached and a bunch of overlays of containers. It’s DGTL.
Short pass through the security as an overly hyperactive bodyguard greets me and starts checking me. All smiles and dancing follow from the music that’s blasting from the Kompakt stage, the first stage you see as you get passed the entrance and lockers. She sets me on my way not before joking “so where did you hide your drugs”. I give her a quick “nowhere”, as I’m more interested in seeing what’s cooking inside the festival..
It’s pretty early but the place gets packed quickly. I’m gonna skip the big stages for now and just get a bit of lovin’ vibe at the Crew Love stage where there is no set schedule. The Wolf + Lamb & Soul Clap crew are all playing back to back. Slow, 115 BPM’s, groove and an intimate space is the right place to start, seeing what’s awaiting for me for the next couple of hours.
I headed to the Red Bull stage where Axel Boman was putting on an ambiguous set perfect for the early morning and to get you rolling. The Red Bull stage was the perfect place to retreat if you wanted to hear something that was not so ordinary. Artists like Midland, Full Crate & Shadow Child took over the stage for the duration of the day.
As the drinks and other substances started to work on the visitors, the buzz started to grow. The terrain was soon filled with many beautiful Amsterdam girls. When I say many, I mean it was getting packed. It was literally hard to focus on your path as your head was on its own and if it could, it would do a 360 constantly.
Passing by the Digital stage, Deetron was delivering an easy to digest mid-day techno set as beams of lights made their way scarcely in between the already infamous containers. Over by the Analog stage, Ten Walls managed to fill up the immense industrial hall where the stage was located. His Live set made the windows shake as people were going nuts to tracks like Walking With Elephants or Gotham, as sunbeams were illuminating the dark obscure hall.
As his set was about to end I managed to rush over to the Audio stage and catch a glimpse of the mysterious Claptone that was supplying a good vibe throughout the transparent tent as the place was swarming with fans. But my ears were directed to somewhere else. Because over at the Digital stage, Mathew Jonson was expected to deliver a live set. As you entered, the place was vibrating and the floors could barely keep up it seemed. If you managed to look over the crowd and see Mathew, you could see him running from one side of the stage to the other as his analogue machines were taking half the stage. The music and sound he was laying down was a treat. High-energy techno and the sporadic aircraft-like sounds made his set one of my highlights of the day.
By the Kompakt stage, things started off right from the start of the festival with names like Terranova & Coma setting the tone during lunch-time, while people were all scattered in the back of the stage. Well, in truth, the stage looked more like a Brooklyn ghetto with a huge brick wall on the left side and bits of sunshine where the area was not covered. It was an enormous place and by the time I got there, people were coming into the shade as Michael Meyer & Gui Boratto were taking over.
During the same time at the Crew Love tent, Pillowtalk were setting up for their live performance just as Navid Izadi was about to finish off his. The preparations were worth the wait as Pollowtalk’s performance was outstanding. An hour of soul & disco grooves so well blended together were a true bliss, and worked as a sort of escape from what was going on around you. All originals, all new, all unheard before in Amsterdam. It was a true pleasure and as you wondered out of the tent, the atmosphere changed as darkness set its tone. In the opening of the far side of the festival an artificial mist set its tone for a “fine arts” recital under the immense DGTL sign. A mechanical hound bursting flames and 2 red & blue electric warriors were eye catchers that left the public astounded.
And to top the night off, we ended up at the Audio stage where Noir was inducting the crowd in an alternating state before setting them of for the after party. After more than 10 hours my feet were still moving, without my brain even acknowledging it, so it was time to head out the doors and enter the after party that was about to set off just around the corner.
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As a special treat, DGTL invited Mind Against to open the after party while Michael Mayer & Kolsch took over the ending part, putting on a smashing back to back, going from techno, to italo and even to Michael Jackson’s classic PYT. A brave move that last one, especially considering the afterparty atmosphere that was hanging around. But it worked like a charm and set the dance floor ablaze, with everybody singing along to the chorus. The place completely transformed before my eyes from the sunbaking old industrial hall into a full-blown rave.
By 5 AM my feet couldn’t take it anymore and the alcohol was making its presence felt and I knew in a few hours I had to come back for round 2..