The festival market is more crowded than ever before. But that’s a good thing for the dancers among us, because it means promoters have to try harder than ever to win us over and coax hard earned cash out of us. One crew doing just that is Love Festival. Aside from a paradise location on the sun-kissed, picture-postcard perfect island of Aruba, it boasts a wealth of cultural offerings as well as first rate DJ guests from around the world. We sent someone to investigate if this might be the best winter festival of them all…
Arriving in the tropical heat of Aruba it was immediately apparent that Love Festival would offer an experience unrivalled by many previous international festival experiences, but not for the reasons imagined. For what is a small island 20 miles north of Venezuela, it seemed on the flight out that the scene couldn’t be as vibrant, forward thinking and well educated as what we found. The line up was comprised of an array of international talent, including likes of Carlo Lio, Dennis Ferrer, the irrepressible Roger Sanchez, UK talent Bontan, Stefano Nofarini and a host of local acts all connected to the Aruban scene.
See also: Love Festival Aruba Podcast By Bontan
Arriving at the festival site as darkness fell having spent the earlier part of the evening at one of the several warm up events on offer, (the festival opened around 7 PM – with pool parties and other options available to attend from 2pm onwards as the hotels within walking distance) we found 5 stages stretched across pristine sandy beaches. At the far end, and a first for love festival was LBQT+ stage, local dancers from this scene performed to a driving tech house sound track, with the DJ booth raised high above the dance floor. It was apparent that this was the stage where most investment had been made in terms of production, with a performance type air to it.
The main stage occupied the central part of the beach and it was here that Robert Sanchez hammered it out to a large crowd of predominantly Arubian crowd with a smattering of foreigners – mainly Dutch – occupying pockets of space. With a wide range of ages all smiling gleefully arms aloft pumping it demonstrated how inclusive the festival was. It became apparent that Love Festival wasn’t the only electronic music influence on the island, but In fact part of a wider scene where ‘Heart’ nightclub and ‘Underground’ (a group who introduced themselves as the crew behind Aruba’s warehouse party scene,) as the crowd seemed far more educated when it came to both the music than what would be expected from such a small island.
Underground had there own stage set closer to the sea which was constructed from wooden pallets and several speaker stacks. Speaking with the crew, they spoke at length about Aruba, the parties they ran and Love Festival – giving us further insight into what went on over the rest of the year. It didn’t seem like theres was ever a shortage of parties to attend. Blasting out high octane techno, with monstrous kicks thats made the atmosphere intense on the confined dance floor, we got down bare footed alongside the Underground crew sharing drinks, emersing ourselves in the local DJs selection.
The second highlight of the second night was finally the Techno Stage, which was at the far end of the site, had one of the most intense systems of the entire event, which pounded our eardrums to bits. On the second night of the festival Carlo Lio closed it out to the biggest crowd of the festival. Not holding back for a moment Carlo went in, with big rolling beats, never letting his foot off the gas for a moment. Looking around you saw wide grins as people stomped around in a similar fashion to one you would find anywhere in Europe. Again proving that Aruba really does have something to offer beyond what you would expect for an island so seemingly far removed from the global electronic music hubs. Perhaps its the dutch connecting, the island being one of the territories, that has helped this develop.