Despite the heavy focus on main stage artist, Saturday did find me spending significant time around the festival grounds as well. While walking through the space, it became obvious that the choice to keep the festival intimate was, in fact, the best choice. With the capacity to easily hold double the amount of attendees, the 10,000 granted into Dekmantel allowed for a balance between crowd and space. Stages were not sardine cans and queues were never endless; bypassing such embellishment as craft and clothing vendors, instead replacing them with an extensive selection of food options, of which the burgers were or particular tastiness. That being said, I found my way into the warehouse-like UFO stage, which provided undoubtedly the hardest beats of the event. Artists like Shakleton and Talismann did more than provide ample anticipation to San Francisco’s master of darkness, DVS1, whose relentless set turned out one banger after another with (fellow Dekmantel artist) Matrixxman‘s ‘Protocol’ unleashed to a devastating effect on the sweaty bodies before him.

Following the sonic punishment that was DVS1 came an equally hard set from Berlin’s Rødhåd. Intercut with flashes of light, illuminating the otherwise cavernous UFO tent, the Berghain regular provided little relief for the crowd. Widely considered one of techno’s finest ambassadors, Rødhåd’s stage presence is undeniable, moving with each kick, hat, and drop.

Further exploring the festival grounds brought some gentler beats to my attention. The aforementioned Boiler Room tent remained as packed as it was on Friday with newly anointed Dekmantel family member Palms Trax (whose ‘Sumo Acid Crew’ was also a highlight of, festival coordinators, Dekmantel Soundsystem‘s festival closing set) dropping his second set of the day, followed by Mano Le Tough doing the same. Though a tall order living up to Robert Hood’s emotional performance from the night before, Boiler Room still managed to keep its attendees moving inside its hangar-like space and out, albeit a larger facility may be in order for next year.

The final two Dekmantel areas came courtesy of Red Bull (The Lab) and Warsteiner (Selectors). Both areas design was nature focused with The Lab draped with illuminated willow trees, eventually giving way to the likes of Jackmaster, Tom Trago, and Cinnaman. As for the Selectors area, artists like the heavily hyped Young Marco and the trio of Floating Points x Hunee x Antal, dropped elective and diverse sets, tinged with disco, classics, and Chicago house in the atrium turned glass walled dischoteque.

Sunday

Sunday, once again, began with the main stage where Midland got a small but excited crowd moving with everything from techno to house, with ‘Shift Al Mani’ by Omar Souleyman making the crowd particularly crazy. Next up was Recondite with a stunning live performance, filling the space with curious onlookers and fans. By the German connoisseur finished, the dance floor was packed.

The Selectors stage with Solar was next on the program. The Bay Area DJ played a pivotal role in that region’s clubbing scene and co-founded its outdoor Sunset Parties. His rise began after opening for Dixon which left quite an impression as the Innervisions’ boss invited him to tour alongside him.

From here it was time to go back to the main stage where said Dixon was set to play. My expectations were not too high as I usually enjoy Dixon more within the nightclub environment, allowing for longer playtimes than most festivals. This time, however, I was proved wrong. The beloved and respected DJ took the sun-kissed crowd on a two hour ride of happiness, excitement and melancholy. Towards its end, Shazam was all around as &Me’s remix for Damian Lazarus’ ‘Vermillion’, the unreleased Robag Wruhme remix of Coma’s ‘Lora’ and (closed by) a track that sounded a lot like an unreleased Âme remix of ‘Something About You’ by Hayden James, all played. I’ve seen Dixon at quite a few festivals but this set seemed more diverse, open-minded and playful than others, which goes for many of the festival’s acts.