|Top 10 September 2011 Festivals
RA gets its September festivals on.
If you're planning to make a pilgrimage in the name of electronic music, September could see you visiting Italy, the US, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Croatia, Japan and the UK. From this we can only conclude that "doof doof doof" devotees are well travelled.
10. Resonance Festival
September 24 - September 25
Castel Volturno, Italy
Its mission is to join attendees' spirits together to act as a single resonator, and it takes place within Italy's largest health and wellness resort. You'd be forgiven having the wrong idea of what Resonance Festival is all about. Sure, there are the metaphysical musings and the calm location, but rather than drumming circles and psytrance, Resonance's defining feature is its 24 non-stop hours of no-nonsense techno. One of Italy's greatest proponents of the form, Lucy, will jet into the coastal town of Castel Volturno from his base in Berlin for the bash, and his pulling power will be eclipsed only by that of New York's Joey Beltram. Homegrown talent takes up half of the extensive lineup, including Ovum signee Nico Lahs and Stroboscopic Aretefacts duo Dadub.
RA pick: Joey Beltram making a rare Italian appearance.
09. Electric Zoo Festival
September 2 - September 4
New York, US
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
It took an organisation of Made Event's stature to finally nail a sustainable electronic music festival in New York. Electric Zoo moves into its third year on Randall's Island in 2011, and aside from some transport-related issues and the inevitable grumbles over the commercial nature of its line-ups, things have seemingly gone pretty smoothly to date. Made certainly recognize that in order to get 25,000 people through the gates headlining names such as Tiesto, David Guetta and Armin Van Buuren are entirely necessary. The jewel in Made's underground crown, Sunday School, take care of an area for each of the three days, with Carl Cox, Luciano and Richie Hawtin headlining their respective days.
RA pick: Joris Voorn & Nic Fanciulli—the middle ground between the two could be intriguing.
08. Berlin Festival
September 9 - September 12
Raving in an airport and clubbing until 7 AM—only in Berlin, right? Two days of live music goes down during the day at Tempelhof, the disused airport-turned-concert hall, followed by two nights of electronic delights over in the Arena complex—a warren of warehouse/outdoor spaces in the Kreuzburg district of the city. Features of the dense lineup include the likes of Mount Kimbie, Battles, The Rapture, Hercules & Love Affair, James Blake building up to DJs like Mr Oizo, Jimmy Edgar, Diplo and DJ Hell set to carry things on until morn. In essence two festivals for the price one. If you're still not convinced, throw in free entry to over 40 venues covering the length and breadth of Berlin's rich club scene as part of the parallel Berlin Music Week, and you probably have more parties than even a Berlin clubber could handle.
RA pick: Glaswegian post-rock pioneers Mogwai in all their ear-shredding glory.
September 16 - September 17
You can defiantly say otherwise, but the weather plays a vital role in any outdoor festival. In all but a few locations September can be a dicey month for such events but, without meaning to jinx the thing, Thessaloniki's Reworks Festival should face no such issues. Its roughly 12,000 attendees have late summer sun and four stages of music to look forward to, while outside of the two day festivities the city is littered with the kind of cultural substance and pristine beaches that would make it an attractive destination in itself. In terms of talent, the Vilka Complex will host an array of acts across two indoor/two outdoor stages, set to the backdrop of Reworks watchwords: multimedia, art and culture. International names like Hercules & Love Affair, Dubfire, Lamb, James Holden and Art Department all perform, while more experimental tastes are catered for via Alva Noto and Mika Vainio.
RA pick: As the sole dubstep act it'll be interesting to see how Benga goes down.
September 23 - September 24
The Hague, Netherlands
TodaysArt is a two day performing and visual arts gathering that has taken place in The Hague, Netherlands each September since 2005. The event exists at the intersection between disciplines that so many European festivals look to occupy, yet sets itself apart through a forward thinking approach to curation, low cost entry (€35 for a weekend pass) and intelligent infrastructure. This year TodaysArt will extend to include an event in the Belgium capital of Brussels the following weekend, while the influential mnml ssgs blog will program a room over the two nights, which so far boasts Peter van Hoesen, Ancient Methods, Delta Funktionen, Oni Ayhun and Senking. Their choices are indicative of the festival's musical direction at large: experimental electronics from the likes of Vladislav Delay Quartet, Kangding Ray, Elektro Guzzi and Raime will most certainly rule the roost here.
RA pick: Kangding Ray's excellent OR LP will be worth following up in a live setting.
05. Green & Blue
There are few organizations that know how to party like Cocoon, and there are few finer ways to party in the summer than under the sun. Put the two together and you have yourself Green & Blue. The powerhouse label, promoter, club, etc. etc. etc. returns to Waldschwimmbad Obertshausen after a two year break. To celebrate the reunion, they've booked a few new names for the annual shindig: Christian Burkhardt, Carl Craig, Rhadoo, Petre Inspirescu and Raresh all make their debut bow. The main draw will undoubtedly be Sven and Ricardo, of course. (They headline the Green and Blue stages, respectively.) Karotte, Sascha Dive, Chris Tietjen, Markus Fix and Frank Lorber, meanwhile, finish things off. As per the setting, expect lots of summer-y house vibes, all leading up to the inevitable "do you or don't you" question when the water beckons at party's end.
RA pick: Arrive early and check out Cocoon's best kept secret, Chris Tietjen, warm things up.
04. Outlook Festival
September 1 - September 4
Fort Punta Christo
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that all of modern bass music's biggest names have been booked for Outlook 2011. And much like the artists themselves, the vast majority of the attending audience will hail from the UK. The Leeds-based team behind the event have again secured Fort Punta Christo, an abandoned 18th century fort situated across the bay from the Croatian coastal town of Pula, which on the ground means parties in both dungeons and beaches. Skream, Digital Mystikz, Kode9, Hudson Mohawke, Loefah, Scuba, Shackleton, Martyn and Pearson Sound represent only the tip of the iceberg in terms of talent that'll be present, plus there's the prospect of numerous boat parties hosted by key imprints and promoters. With all this in mind, we should have perhaps mentioned at the outset that Outlook 2011 is now completely sold out, so apologies for that.
RA pick: Martyn showcasing tracks from his forthcoming LP.
03. Decibel Festival
September 28 - October 2
Any electronic music party has to deal with legal obstacles, from curfews to sound restrictions to the occasional sniffer dog. But few are as challenged as in Seattle's scene, a city where the bars close at 2:00 AM and artists aren't even allowed to drink on stage. That said, these trying circumstances have had impressively little effect on Decibel, arguably the Pacific Northwest's main beacon for electronic music of all kinds. Now in its eighth year, the five-day audio-visual extravaganza offers everything from avant-garde concerts to jacking after parties, and continues to pick up momentum. This year's event has an extra day of programming, a few new venues and the series' strongest lineup yet; from big names like Moby to underground favorites like Kyle Hall, Deniz Kurtel and Motor City Drum Ensemble. And despite Seattle's rainy reputation, the weather is supposedly quite nice that time of year.
RA pick: The US debut of Amon Tobin's eye-popping ISAM performance should be a top priority.
September 8 - September 11
Robin Hill County Park
Isle Of Wight, UK
It's pegged as the ultimate boutique festival experience, but eight years in, and with a 'Best Major Festival' trophy from last year's industry awards, no one can deny that Bestival is indeed a major player. Combining the spirit of the British eccentric with the diversity of Glastonbury, the wacky themed dress-ups of Bang Face, and a strong commitment to environmental consciousness, Besitval remains one of the most beloved offerings in the UK. Those who ferry over to the Isle of White this year will be treated to a full four-day experience, featuring sentimental singalongs as The Cure play their only European show of 2011, and Primal Scream present their seminal album Screamadelica in full. The UK styles of Magnetic Man and a Rinse FM showcase will rub shoulders with Stateside pioneers Public Enemy and upstarts OFWGKTA; Joakim, Paul Kalkbrenner, Julio Bashmore and Horse Meat Disco will show their individual wares, while Brian Wilson put a tick in the "legend" check box.
RA pick: Bjork closing the main stage as the Sunday night headliner.
September 17 - September 19
A number of festivals have a lot of the elements that make Labyrinth great. Funktion One sound. A carefully curated lineup. An idyllic forest atmosphere. But no one puts it together quite like the Mindgames team behind the Japanese event. The speaker stack is bigger. The curation is better. The forest is greener. (That last one may or may not be due to the drugs.) Donato Dozzy, whose hypnotic tones have been the prevailing sound of the festival the past few years, will once again return alongside Labyrinth regulars Peter Van Hoesen and Function. As always, though, there will be some new members introduced into the family: Kangding Ray, Morphosis and Tobias. are all set to make their debut performances. It made a believer out of open-air festival hater Todd L. Burns last year. If you have a chance to experience it for yourself, it may make you a believer too.
RA pick: Morphosis embodies the at once pure and open-minded nature of Labyrinth.
Published / Monday, 01 August 2011
Photo credits / Header + Todaysart festival - Wilbert Baan
Decibel - Nic Launceford
Labyrinth - Kazuhiko Kimishita