|Top 10 May 2008 festivals
RA staff pick out the ten top festivals happening around the world this month.
As the Northern Hemisphere heads into spring, the idea of partying inside becomes less appealing - time to put your sunnies on and head outside. Most of our list is happening outdoors, and plenty of the indoor parties have an outdoor component, too. Think beaches, parks, plazas and swimming pools - time to say hello to the sun.
10. Indo Dance Festival
Divided into three arenas so there’ll be a possibility of avoiding DJ Lethal from House of Pain, the Indo Dance Music Festival isn’t a bad day out for Jakarta residents looking for some fun in the sun. Groove Armada have been replaced by Basement Jaxx, while elsewhere on the bill is minimal/house (M.A.N.D.Y.), breaks (Krafty Kuts), nu-disco (Rub N Tug) and B-more club (Diplo). Not to mention hip-hoppers Naughty by Nature and plenty of locals. In a town that loves to club but is often passed over by many of the touring bigshots, this party stands out. - Jeremy Armitage
RA pick: Check Diplo – dude has mad skills on the decks.
09. Inox Festival
Inox Electronic Club
Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday
A first glance at the line-up at Inox and you might not realise this festival is happening in France at all. English festival favourites Carl Cox, Sasha, John Digweed, Pete Tong and Steve Angello are all spinning, but, yes, this is France after all - the rest of the bill has all stripes of electro with John Dahlback, Oliver Huntemann, Stephan Bodzin, Popof and the like all heading to Toulouse. If the club closures in Ibiza sound like a drag the Inox fest might be worth a Eurostar ticket. - Tami Fenwick
RA pick: Stephan Bodzin's live set of hiss and buzz is quite the spectacle.
Saturday | Sunday
Iconic trance institution Gatecrasher rolls into summer this Bank Holiday Weekend with a two day extravaganza of bands and DJs not to mention a newly-added karaoke stand. And the Crasher kids have all grown up – expect to hear dubstep (Skream, Benga). indie-electro (Crystal Castles, Soulwax, NYPC, Simian Mobile Disco) blog house (Sinden & Herve, Crookers, Radioclit) and disco (The Glimmers) alongside the usual Brit festival staples: electronica (The Chems) drum'n'bass (Roni Size, Goldie) and breaks (Evil Nine, Meat Katie). There are also label showcases by Ed Banger and Turbo plus a tent programmed by Leeds night Dirty Disco, who've managed to rope in Luciano, Gabriel Ananda and Matthias Tanzmann. We kid you not. For those wanting to relive the classic Gatecrasher One days, there's also a Crasher Arena with Paul Van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold, Chicane and other arpeggiator abusers. Bring lots of chupa chups. - Tami Fenwick
RA pick: Turbo office boy Thomas von Party has the coolest name in dance music, which is a good enough reason for a looksee.
The four-day Spring Festival in Graz celebrates the emergence of spring, of course, although if you fully indulge in the nighttime programme you’re not going to see too much sunlight. There’s a leftfield house night with Rainer Trüby and Château Flight, a Chicago house party with Robert Owens, Larry Heard and DJ Pierre; a techno night with Josh Wink and The Wighnomy Brothers; as well as showcases from London parties Chew the Fat! and The End. For those who do manage to get up in the early afternoon, there are also multimedia events, workshops, symposiums and seminars including a tasty-looking exhibition of analogue synthesizers. – Christian Rose-Day
RA pick: Detroit legend Juan Akins is deejaying on the electro night.
06. Primavera Sound Festival
Parc Del Forum
Held at the Parc Del Forum in Barcelona, Primavera is the indie alternative to Sonar. But don’t put your fingers in your ears just yet: there is plenty of electronic music amid the guitar squalls and floppy fringes. In fact, Barcelona makes it a point to mix up guitar music and techno in the clubs, and this year’s Primavera bill is similarly open-minded with 808 State, Alan Braxe, Apparat, Digital Mystikz, Ellen Allien, Kavinsky, Model 500, Para One, Portishead, SMD, Supermayer, Thomas Brinkmann, Throbbing Gristle, Tiefschwarz and Robert Hood on the bill. Hardly Reading then. It all takes place at the shell on a Barcelona beach, so add in mojitos, sunbathing and a Ferris wheel and it’s not a bad excuse to go to Catalonia at all. - Jeremy Armitage
RA pick: Welsh post-punk band Young Marble Giants are reuniting in 2008. Catch ‘em while you can.
May 28 - Jun 1
Mutek in Montreal is the most experimental of North America’s techno fests, and the longest running. The ninth edition features the usual split between music for the feet and music for the head with showcases from the likes of Mexican ambient artist Murcof, audio/video performers Rechenzentrum, and guitar abuser Christian Fennesz, and nighttime parties featuring Carl Craig, Radio Slave and Kode9. Also: if the Field can resolve his visa issues, we may even finally get to see what his live band is all about. Steel yourself for the weekend, though, when Mutek heads outside to Parc Jean-Drapeau for Mutek/Piknic, which this year features an afternoon of dubstep on the Saturday and minimal techno on the Sunday close of the festival. – Todd L. Burns
RA pick: Pray for sunshine on Sunday for the Vakant showcase featuring Onur Özer and Mathias Kaden.
04. Wax:On Live
The lush, tranquil Edwardian setting of Lotherton Hall should be slightly afraid. This year the absence of Gatecrasher and O2 has created a yawning chasm of potential in Leeds, and the inaugural one-day behemoth Wax:On has filled it. Sixty artists, fourteen hours, with enough variety across six arenas to please even the most fussy. The headliners are mostly indie (Primal Scream, Reverend and the Makers, Erol Alkan) but down the bill in all arenas there are interesting picks, including New York discoists Hercules and Love Affair and Tim Sweeney, conceptual househead Mathew Herbert, UK maverick Andrew Weatherall, a techno arena featuring Derrick May, Stacey Pullen and Steve Bug, the Innervisions crew, as well as arenas for blog house and drum n bass vs. dubstep. Genteel it is not. - Christian Rose-Day
RA pick: Make your way to the Technique arena early on for Spectral DJ Ryan Elliott.
03. Nuits Sonores
Nuits Sonores happens around Lyon in approximately forty venues including concert venues, clubs, bars, swimming pools, galleries and even a bit of industrial wasteland. The bills feature 250 artists, highlights of which include a daytime Body & Soul party featuring Danny Krivit, Joe Claussell and François K, and Prefuse 73 and Battle drummer John Stanier scoring digital film live. The club programme features Dennis Ferrer, Henrik Schwarz, Jeff Mills, Underworld, Cobblestone Jazz and plenty more, but it’s not just about the big names: expect the bars and open air spaces in Lyon to transform into art exhibitions, one-off parties, movie showings and events for industry hobnobbing and the like. Best of all, many of the events are free. - Jeremy Armitage
RA pick: Laurent Garnier back to back with Agoria on Nuit Trois.
Friday | Saturday
True to its name, Rome’s Dissonanze Festival is about dissonance as much as dance. Held in three areas at the Palazzo Dei Congressi, the main floor features beats from the likes of Model 500, Carl Craig, Booka Shade and Loco Dice, while the sideroom veers off in more experimental directions such as piano drone (Charlemagne Palestine), bleeps (Ryoji Ikeda), krautrock (Cluster) and neo-krautrock (Fujiya & Miyagi). There’s also a terrace, which will celebrate Italy’s disco heritage on the Friday with retro sets from Alexander Robotnick, Daniele Baldelli, Francisco and Rodion, and hip-hop, drums and samba on the Saturday with Brasilintime. Lots of variety. - Jeremy Armitage
RA pick: Drum freaks will be psyched to hear Fela Kuti’s extraordinary drummer Tony Allen is playing with Brasilintime.
Saturday | Sunday | Monday
Memorial Day. Detroit. Hart Plaza. You know the score. The ninth edition of the Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF) sees a host of techno luminaries hitting the States for America's finest three-day soiree. This year, the festival is divided up into four, possibly five, separate stages, with Beatport hosting the emotional techno of Alex Smoke and the sleek minimalism of Alex Under on Saturday, the M_nus crew (both Hawtins included) on Sunday and Dubfire on Monday. If live sets are your thing, hit up the Vitamin Water stage, at which DeepChord Presents Echospace, Half Hawaii, DBX, Carl Craig, Cobblestone Jazz and Joris Voorn will all be playing at some point over the 72 hour party. Or pay homage to some hometown heroes: throughout, the Real Detroit stage will feature Kevin Saunderson, Aaron-Carl, Terrence Parker and Stacey Pullen. Oh. And don't forget about the afterparties, either. – Todd L. Burns
RA pick: Carl Craig will play live on Sunday night. Expect fireworks.
Top photo credit: Matt Cohen
Need more festivals? Check out our full international festival listings.
Published / Wednesday, 07 May 2008