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 2 of our DGTL Festival report, this time through the eyes of our very own Philippe Stalder.
As we feasted away the night at the after party on Saturday night, our knees were a bit shaky and our brains a bit dizzy when we got into the line to jump on the N.D.S.M. ferry that took us to day 2 of DGTL Festival. After kicking back a couple of early beers we were on level again and we quickly found ourselves at Oliver Koletzki’s set at the Audio greenhouse. Koletzki spreaded so much love and positive energy with his music that the audience was dancing like a bunch of happy vegetables out of a mayonnaise advertisement. However, it was rather spring making an advertisement for itself. The sun was shining almost the whole day, obviously ignoring the weather forecast which was pretty pessimistic that week.
On our way to the food stands we found ourselves in a real advertisement this time, in the form of the Desperados party tunnel. A beautiful mannequin guided us into the front yard of the party tunnel where we got a free beer. When the 30min countdown was over, we were led into the actual party tunnel, not really knowing what to expect. A bunch of ad designers must have had a really ambitious idea; capturing the peak of a party within 20min. No foreplay, no hanging around at the bar or leaning with the back to the wall. The DJ’s just blasted straight-up party climax music through the speakers, confetti was blown up in our faces, and some more well-shaped mannequins squeezed some more Desperados in our gullets. After the pandemonium was over, we were not quite sure what we had exactly just experienced, but it was fun nonetheless.
After we ate some very tasty vegetarian gyros, we headed over to see Gerd at the Red Bull stage. This Rotterdam-based breakthrough act tightened up the noose with his dreamy melodic breakbeat techno with a deep engagement of funk and touches of hip-hop here and there. Later that day we returned to Red Bull for the mad professor Kink, who was naturally laying down some gruesome analog work. He absolutely destroyed the crowd, he possibly received more energy from the people in front of him than any other artist that day.
After enjoying a short little sun-bath outdoors we headed into Phono where Finnebassen lived up to the high expectations that usually surrounds prestigious artists like him. This Finnish dude brought back the melancholia with his dark and dirty house music, the basic ingredient for much musical soul searching.
[From this point on my memories are slightly blurred, which might be a consequence of Amsterdam’s finest]
What has remained freshest in my memory was the set by AKA AKA + Thalstroem, who were representing their label Burlesque Musique, with a clear focus on non-conformist minimal and techhouse, influenced by swing, jazz, balkan, funk and other out-of-the-ordinary yet highly danceable music. And also Arjuna Schicks pleased our ears with his sound that lives on the outskirts of ambient, minimal and deep house, though always with a distinctive melodic and energetic edge.
Of course we hurried ourselves to the Digital stage for the sets of Hot Since 82 and Jamie Jones. Oh Lord, have those guys got a record collection! The supreme moment of course being the immense sit-down right in the middle of Hot Since 82’s set. Turned out that the Yorkshire-man was a bit baffled by the spectacle himself as well, as he shared his experience with his fan base not a day later. The last hour of the Festival we spent at the closing of the Innervisions stage where Dixon took over the game for himself. The vibe was nearly spiritual as he closed the set. That’s what you get when you invite DJ royalty like him.
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One minor point of critique I would like to raise at this point is that the visitors were not allowed to fill up their bottles at the water taps of the toilets. Visitors who tried to fill them up were –if needed forcefully- guided away by security guards. In my case they did not need to use force but they sent me away with the advice go and BUY water. It is clear to me that the organizers need to make a return on their huge investment in an event like this, so an economic incentive is justified. However, being Swiss and mostly having attended German festivals, it seems very disconcerting that organizers of a dance music festival put profit over security (not DGTL per se, as I’ve heard that this is pretty common at Dutch festivals). In my opinion tap water isn’t something you can claim and withhold from others, especially not at events where it is known that party drugs will be taken by a lot of visitors and so dehydration lies right around the corner.
For me DGTL Festival was a blast from the moment I walked onto the NDSM terrain. The organization more than satisfied the high expectations that had been built up ever since the first trailer video started surfacing on Facebook. Its vibrant yet laid-back atmosphere was what instantly grabbed me and which seemed to carry through during the entire duration of the event. The brilliant line-up gave me some pretty memorable sets, where I found myself constantly standing next to a nice blend of positive people that were there predominantly for the music and their favorite artists. A feature that some other organizations would be jealous of.