It's summertime, and for music fans that means braving the portaloos again. And the dodgy food. But bless them, summer festivals have become an integral part of the dance music calendar. If you want a day out with your mates, a bit of adventure and a few surprises, nothing beats trekking into country to catch a swag of your favorite DJs at a festival.
The best thing about them is their potential for surprises. You plan your itinerary, study the maps, but when you get into the thick of it, you miss who you came to see and end up dancing with Israeli hippies to bongos by the river. And it doesn’t matter. Festivals are an occasion for different tribes to mingle. Not to mention Funktion One sound systems. Electronic music is best heard outdoors, and nothing beats to listening to great music while watching the sun come up.
If you were mad you could spend every weekend at the microworld that is the festival, but most of us have to pick and choose. So here's a helping hand: RA’s top ten picks for the remainder of July.
Off the coast of St. Petersburg, Russia
One for those who have mileage points to burn, Fortdance is a Russian electronic music festival held in a former military fort off the coast of St. Petersburg. Even though the venue is only accessible by boat or helicopter, more than 5000 people are expected to attend.
Deep Dish, Dean Coleman, 20:20 Soundsystem, The Youngsters and King Roc are the headlining internationals but it's hardly about the big names, is it now?
RA Event Details: Fortdance 2006
09. MOVE! FESTIVAL
Move! is Chicago's first ever house festival. The two-day festival will be held for the first time this year in the city credited as the birthplace of house. Affiliated with the seventh edition of the Gay Games, expect a broadminded audience of music lovers.
Strictly for old school house fans, if catching Danny Tenaglia, David Morales, Frankie Knuckles and Derrick Carter plus famed house divas Barbara Tucker and Jocelyn Brown all in the one place floats your boat, you should Ctrl-N over to Expedia now.
RA Event Details: Move! Day 1 | RA Event Details: Move! Day 2
08. EXTREMA OUTDOOR FESTIVAL
Eindhoven, The Netherlands
The Extrema Outdoor festival is organised by the Dutch progressive house collective of the same name. This year Extrema have decided to go head to head with Dance Valley Weekender and a quick look at their lineup explains why Dance Valley's prog tent is on the thin side.
Progressive fans should be in heaven with Sasha, Deep Dish, Steve Angello, Steve Lawler, Desyn Masiello, Kosmas Epsilon, 16 Bit Lolitas and Sander Kleinenberg all booked to spin. Best of the remaining jocks include Josh Wink, Funk D'Void and up-and-coming lady of techno Shinedoe.
RA Event Details: Extrema Outdoor 2006
07. DANCE VALLEY WEEKENDER
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
July 14 - 15
For the second year in a row, Dance Valley will take place over two days at Spaarnwoude, a lush nature reserve on the outskirts of Amsterdam. This year's weekender is mainly geared at fans of hard dance, trance, hard techno with a dash of house, prog and electrohouse thrown in.
Friday highlights include sets by dark electrohouse maestro Thomas Schumacher and RA podcast king Dominik Eulberg. On Saturday, the Circo Loco tent is probably the best place to make as your meeting point. Luciano, Loco Dice and the usual DC-10 residents will be joined by live sets from Guido Schneider and Matt John. The Electronation tent also has an interesting lineup: the Dahlback cousins will play together as Hugg &Pepp, A Guy Called Gerald and Roman Flugel will spin back-to-back plus look out for live sets from Modeselektor and Dirt Crew. If you're not into trance then Joris Voorn and Secret Cinema are the pick of the local talent while proggers will have to make do with Hernan Cattaneo, Danny Howells and Max Graham.
RA Event Details: Dance Valley Weekender Day 1 | RA Event Details: Dance Valley Weekender Day 2
06. GODSKITCHEN GLOBAL GATHERING
Long Marston Airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon, England
July 28 - 29
Global Gathering is Godskitchen's annual summer bash. For the second year in a row, this year's event is a two-day camping affair. The line-up includes pretty much everyone who's made a splash on the UK dance music scene in the last ten years in the realms of trance, hard dance, progressive, breaks, drum'n'bass, house and techno.
Notable mentions include Danny Howells, Lee Burridge, Hernan Cattaneo, John Digweed, Carl Cox. Tom Pooks, Justice and Serge Santiago get our votes for best of the under 35s while techno heads can probably string a decent weekend together courtesy of Josh Wink, Adam Beyer and Jeff Mills.
RA Event Details: Godskitchen Global Gathering 2006
05. MELT! FESTIVAL
Held in a disused steel pit in Grafenhainichen, Melt! is probably your last chance to get far far away from central Berlin before the maddening crowds arrive for the Love Parade on the following day.
Sporting an indietronic ethos, RA likes the sound of Pet Shop Boys, Aphex Twin, Soulwax Nite Versions (live), DJ Hell, Miss Kittin, Ellen Allien, Slam, Isolee, Wighnomy Brothers, Nathan Fake, Sid LeRock, Schneider TM and Mathias Kaden.
RA Event Details: Melt! Festival 2006
04. GLADE FESTIVAL
A field somewhere in England
The Glade Festival sprung up for the first time in 2004 after organisers of The Glade stage at Glastonbury decided to strike out on their own. Now in its third year, this time organisers have decided not to publish the full-line up in advance but instead hand it to festival goers at the entrance. The location of the festival is currently also under wraps too but we can tell you there'll be nine arenas hosting everything from experimental electronica and breaks to psychedelic trance and underground house. Location? Somewhere in a field in England.
RA sources reveal Craig Richards, Jimmy Edgar and Luke Vibert are just a few of the confirmed names but if you want to know who else is playing, you'll have to get on Google and trawl the messageboards yourself. Don’t forget to drop us a line if you have any insider information – firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line ‘Glade Festival’.
Official Website: Glade Festival
03. LOVE PARADE
Back after a two-year breather, the Love Parade hits the streets of Berlin this weekend. Unlike most press releases, the Love Parade can actually lay claim to being the largest party-cum-music-festival happening in Europe.
This year the emphasis is more on the music: besides the traditional parade of floats, organisers have added ten new fixed stages showcasing rising German labels and a stage dedicated to live electronic performance. If it all proves too much, there’s also a new chill-out area. And don’t forget the afterparties.
Tiefschwarz, Anja Schneider, Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano, Ewan Pearson, Paul van Dyk, Axwell and Steve Porter are just a few names participating in the event. For the full lowdown on this year's Love Parade check RA's special feature.
RA Event Preview: Love Parade 2006
02. MONEGROS FESTIVAL
The Monegros Desert Festival takes place in the middle of a desert near Fraga, Spain. One of Spain's edgier festivals, getting there (and getting home) is half the battle but once there expect seven stages of the best in techno, hip hop and tribal house.
This year Richie Hawtin will open the festival at 5:30pm with a three-hour set, but other artists to look out for include Sleeparchive, Apparat, Vladislav Delay (Luomo), Alexander Kowalski, Apparat, Black Strobe, Carl Cox, Deep Dish, Gui Boratto, Joris Voorn, Kaito, Magda, Marc Houle, Mark Broom, Nitzer Ebb, Sleeparchive, Troy Pierce, Vladislav Delay and Luomo. Tribal house heads should bring their most comfortable trainers as Danny Tenaglia will be spinning an eight-hour set.
RA Event Details: Monegros Desert Festival 2006
01. 10 DAYS OFF
July 14 - 24
Now in its twelfth year, 10 Days Off is Belgium's biggest electronic music festival. RA’s number one pick takes place over ten nights at the four-storeyed Vooruit and ICC Convention Centre in Ghent. Expect to hear everything from house, breaks, disco, electro and techno to rock, funk and nu-jazz.
For those with not-so-generous bosses, the festival has also spawned the smaller 5 Days Off festival. It takes place July 12-16 at various clubs around Amsterdam including Melkweg and Paradiso.
A taster of the DJs on each night at 10 Days Off:
July 14: Ellen Allien, Paul Kalkbrenner, Konrad Black
July 15: Miss Kittin and The Hacker, Kraak and Smaak
July 16: David Guetta
July 17: Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano, Herbert, Gabriel Ananda
July 18: Adam Beyer, Marco Bailey, Alexander Kowalski, Alex Under
July 19: Richie Hawtin, Magda, Booka Shade
July 20: Carl Craig, Digitalism, Theo Parrish
July 21: Layo & Bushwacka!, Sasse, Jazzanova, Ame, Todd Terje
July 22: Kenny Dope
July 23: Tiefschwarz, DJ Hell, The Glimmers, Andy C
Official Website: 10 Days Off