|Top 10 April 2013 Festivals
Our top picks for the first festivals of spring.
10. WIHMini Festival
March 30 - April 27
Compared with other newcomers to the Parisian festival circuit, the WIHMini Festival is well-seasoned: this year's edition will be its third. Kicking off on the last weekend of March and lasting a full month, it comprises ten separate events at Showcase, a club located in an old naval hangar beneath a bridge on the Champs Elysées. Some weekends feature veterans such as Sven Väth, Agoria and Ellen Allien, others focus on more contemporary house and techno from the likes of Huxley and Joy Orbison and local artist Dyed Soundorom, with each event backed by 3D visuals from NYX. All of the parties happen on Friday and Saturday nights, so you're better off flying in for a weekend than staying for the duration.
RA pick: Expect hometown hero Dyed Soundorom to deliver the goods when he plays alongside Scuba and Ellen Allien.
April 18 - April 20
Opening Night | Day One | Day Two
For the past seven years, Rokolectiv been responsible for putting together some of Bucharest's most exciting lineups. Treading the line between heady experimental and straight-up party music, this year organisers have once again enlisted dance floor-friendly jocks alongside more leftfield acts. John Talabot will serve up a 4/4 pulse, while Holy Other and Evian Christ will be on hand for the less conventional stuff. Taking place over four nights at the Museum of Contemporary Art and National University of Music (both in the city centre), Rokolektiv will also feature a strong visual element, with installations and screenings open throughout its duration.
RA pick: Kuedo's been killing it recently—catch him playing live with MFO.
08. SónarSound Tokyo
April 6 - April 7
Day One | Day Two
Six years since it first arrived in Japan, SonarSound Tokyo is becoming a local institution. The mini-festival offers basically the same thing as its parent event in Barcelona—a smart and eclectic cast of electronic performers—but condensed into two nights at one of the city's most impressive clubs, ageHa. Though it might be a stretch to say they've outdone themselves (their lineups have always been strong), this year's bill certainly leaves nothing to be desired, with contemporary favorites such as John Talabot and Actress offsetting innovators like LFO and Underworld's Karl Hyde.
RA pick: See dub legend Adrian Sherwood flanked by Pinch.
April 9 - April 14
It might happen in the throes of Design Week, but Elita Festival makes sure fashion isn't the only thing stylish going on in Milan each April. Ricardo Villalobos will share headlining duties this year with Yasiin Bey (the man formerly known as Mos Def) at the five-day event, which takes over clubs and music venues across the city. Lindstrøm, John Talabot, Jesse Boykins III and James Holden are among the artists filling the notably wide stylistic gap between these two heavyweights, and Esperanza and Clockwork will be on hand to lend Elita some Italian flavor.
RA pick: Hard to go wrong with John Talabot's sultry take on house.
April 25 - May 2
Weekend One | Weekend Two
Donaufestival is a pretty classy operation. Now in its ninth edition, the two-weekend event takes place in Krems, a small Austrian city by the Danube with a population of less than 30,000 people. Its program pairs theatre performances and visual art with a particularly inspired cast of musicians—this year's lineup runs the gamut from Detroit techno to the avant-garde, with Laurel Halo, Robert Hood, Actress and William Basinkski among the highlights. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more charming setting for such forward-thinking sounds.
RA pick: With NHK' Koyxen, Lee Gamble, Bill Kouligas and SND all onboard, the PAN showcase is looking pretty appetizing.
April 1 - April 6
If you're planning on being at this year's Snowbombing, we suggest you take your trip seriously. The mountainside institution is one of Europe's most loved festivals, and the more committed you are, the more you'll get out of it. Whether you arrive dressed as a giraffe or a member of a bobsled team, spend your days skiing or nursing a hangover, it's crucial that no half measures are taken. Musically, there definitely haven't been any. Heavyweights like Carl Cox, Seth Troxler and Maceo Plex will all make their way to the Mayrhofen resort, as will old schoolers Norman Jay, Kerri Chandler and Todd Edwards.
RA pick: Look out for the igloo raves that take place 6,000 feet up the mountain.
04. Pleasure Principle
April 26 - April 28
Trevelgue Holiday Park
Tucked away in a quaint corner of the English countryside, and taking place on the cusp of another busy summer festival season, the first Pleasure Principle weekender will likely remind many of Bloc in its Minehead pomp. The new festival, which will be held at Trevelgue Holiday Park in Newquay, Cornwall, is a joint collaboration between the Numbers and Dedbeat crews. The inaugural lineup bulges with quality underground house, techno and bass. There's a mix of established US talent—Omar-S, Levon Vincent and Robert Hood—plus UK favourites like Ben UFO, Floating Points, Space Dimension Controller and Blawan. Throw in a few curve balls, such as East London grime collective Ruff Skwad, a live PA from New York soul legend Leroy Burgess and a headlining set from Lunice and Hudson Mohawke as TNGHT, and you have one of 2013's most promising new festivals.
RA pick: L.I.E.S. chief Ron Morelli playing his first UK festival with label regular Steve Summers in tow.
April 12 - April 24
Empire Polo Field
Coachella has become so big that it now needs two weekends to satisfy demand. Though the world-famous festival in Southern California has always leaned towards rock and pop music, no matter which weekend you go (they're identical) dance music has more of a foothold than ever this year, from mainstream acts such as Bassnectar to the likes of Disclosure, Cassy and Dam-Funk. It's not every day you get to dance up a sweat with 80,000 other people in a polo field.
RA pick: The newly reunited Postal Service, whose wistful electronic pop is the stuff mass-singalongs are made of.
02. Communikey Festival
April 25 - April 28
This small festival in Boulder, Colorado has grown from humble origins into something better every year, with an increasingly impressive hand-picked lineup. Focusing on the creative process as much as performances themselves, Communikey features film screenings and lectures to keep the daytime busy, while artists like Derek Plaslaiko, ambient duo Mountains and Nicolas Jaar fill out the city's intimate venues at night. If you're anything like us, you might just grow to love the place.
RA pick: Don't pass up this rare chance to see German techno artist Redshape play live in the US.
01. Time Warp
The idea behind Time Warp is pretty straight-forward: take about 50 house and techno DJs, throw them in a multi-floor venue with space for 20,000 ravers, and let the whole thing roll for a solid 15 hours. This simple formula has served them well since the mid-'90s, when Time Warp held its first editions in cities around Germany. As usual, the 2013 lineup has a number of artists that have been back nearly every year since—Sven Väth, Richie Hawtin, Laurent Garnier, Carl Cox, Ricardo Villalobos—which reflects what might be the festival's biggest success: for something of such enormous scale, it still feels like a family affair.
RA pick: You couldn't pick a better time to see Papa Sven in full effect.
Published / Friday, 01 March 2013
Photo credits / Header - Stephen Cardinale
Rokolectiv - am_draci
SónarSound Tokyo - Masanori Naruse
Donaufestival - Armin Rudelstorfer
Snowbombing - Andrew Whitton
Coachella - Jannette Whippy