Although technically not over yet, summer seemed far away in Amsterdam the last weeks of August. And even though I had my fair share of festivals over the last couple of months, I couldn’t think of a better destination than Ibiza for a nice combo of beach and beats. The adventure started Friday afternoon and standing right behind Ferry Corsten when boarding the aircraft left no room for error this was the right flight. At the Ibiza airport big billboards invited me to come and see shows of Avicii, Afrojack and Steve Aoki, but unfortunately for them I had other plans…
At the Marina Botafoch in Ibiza city, Corona held its SunSets festival where the line-up was very promising. However, because of a huge delay of my flight and some problems at the apartment I missed most of it. By the time I was there I could just hear the MC thank Bondax for a great performance. A false start but I wasn’t going to let my evening be spoiled by a minor setback and with Maya Jane Coles and Disclosure still coming up, there was no time to whine.
When entering the festival area, the first thing that got my attention was the fabulous main stage. This could have been one of the main stages at a major festival like Awakenings or Mysteryland, but here were only a little over 1,000 visitors. Decoration looked fine, the food was terrific and the bar staff worked quickly, which unfortunately isn’t very common at other Spanish festivals. Meanwhile Maya Jane Coles was playing a set that got me in the mood for a great party weekend. Although the build-up could have been better, her track selection was exquisite.
Next up was Disclosure with their live set. Now the stage looked even more impressive, with three big LED screens right behind the brothers from Croydon. They ended the festival with a splendid performance where tempo and intensity were very well balanced and their biggest hits perfectly timed. Furthermore, the guys displayed total control over their instruments, be it keyboard, guitar, drum pad or midi controller. The crowd loved it, singing along, clapping their hands and filming everything until their arms got tired. Even a rather embarrassing two-minute lipsync surprise performance by Eliza Doolittle in a Miley Cyrus outfit couldn’t spoil the fun, and exactly at midnight ‘Latch’ meant the end of both the live set and the festival.
Like many festival goers I decided to extend the night at Sankeys for the Flying Circus party featuring Martin Buttrich, Audiofly and Steve Bug. The German minimal was something completely different than the UK house, but of the same high level. Seriously monotone, but absolutely never boring. A great way to end this first day on the White Isle.
Saturday it was time for Ushuaïa where the Ants family had taken over the hotel, pool and DJ booth. As I entered the party, Ben Pearce was playing tunes excellent for paddling and showing off years of hard work in gyms and plastic surgery clinics. After that, Stacey Pullen took it up a notch and did a great warm-up for the headliners of the evening, Joris Voorn & Nic Fanciulli. Whereas the other DJ’s all played at the pool, they had the pleasure and honour of doing their performance on the big stage including an amazing light and pyrotechnics show. I had the feeling the set was more Fanciulli than Voorn and because of the many breaks and drops it was a bit too much ‘tech house meets EDM’ for me. The crowd didn’t mind though and Daft Punk’s classic ‘Around the World’ was welcomed as a perfect end to a perfect night.
Day three already, but no signs of fatigue or bad vibrations, so on I went to Pacha, the club where the VIP area is bigger than the dance floor. You wouldn’t expect a deep house DJ here and at first the Solomun +1 party did feel a bit out of place. Jackathon’s very own Heidi was the guest for tonight and she played a very solid set to prepare the audience for what most of them had come for, with all due respect for the UK DJ. The Diynamic label boss fully lived up to the expectations and played a firm, deep and surprising set, visibly having fun behind the decks. When it was time for the b2b session, Heidi wasn’t that sharp anymore, but Solomun kept entertaining the crowd, now with more recognizable tracks. By the end of the night he had taken my prejudice away of him not fitting at Pacha and confirmed his status as one of the leading deep house DJ’s of the moment.
Now here’s a little tip from my side. If you go to Ibiza for a weekend, don’t make the mistake of booking your flight back on Monday, as you’re missing out on one of the best parties on the island, which is Circoloco at DC-10. The location is absolutely great and the line-up amazing, week after week.
Djebali had the honour to kick off this edition of Circoloco, both at the Garden and the Terrace. He played some good techno tunes, but especially at his indoor set had to cope with a small audience. The same can be said for Hold Youth who opened the Main Room. Ellen Allien was more lucky with a full Garden in front of her. Ellen is her own biggest fan in a positive way. She is constantly dancing and singing behind the decks, showing a lot of energy which, along with her melodic deep and tech house, is very contagious. But the best set of the night, and maybe of the whole weekend, was played by ‘good old’ Timo Maas. The German DJ has been around for over fifteen years and celebrates his 11th summer as a DC-10 resident. His deep and energetic set was in perfect harmony with the raw building that is the Terrace area. This is exactly why you don’t want to miss this party.
So after four days of great parties and some relaxing at the beach I’m fully charged for the winter season in Amsterdam. With the last summer festivals taking place this month, I’m already looking forward to the next big event, ADE. And for next year another trip to Ibiza of course. Because I can’t get enough of this magical island!