Earlier at the festival's other main stage, Bridge, the scene had been similarly idyllic, if the music a little tougher. Lyric Hood watched on from the side as her father, the Detroit techno artist Robert Hood, played to a swelling throng, joining the dots between rougher bombs (Clouds' "Chained To A Dead Camel") and his own, sleeker Floorplan productions. Like at Pyramid, a huge dual carriageway loomed large over the stage, and there was something oddly liberating about letting loose while cars whizzed by unawares. Once you were out from under the camo netting, the dance floor backed onto the site's designated chill-out zone, a tree-lined plot dotted with hammocks, comfy chairs and a stand offering free fruit and lollipops. I whiled away a happy hour here during Hood's set, the music loud and crisp enough that I could enjoy it from a horizontal position.
Crossroads is the brainchild of Fuse, the Brussels club that celebrated its 23rd anniversary in April. Even if it was their first festival, you'd expect world-class bookings and a hassle-free time from a team with so much experience. But I was surprised and impressed by other aspects of their approach, like the site's cosy, DIY aesthetic—the only ads were for other festivals—and the crowd, who were warm, diverse and a little silly. (I lost count of the amount of people I saw try—and fail—to scale the ridge in one go.) Often, when nightclubs become institutions, they lose sight of the little details and develop a homogeneous following. Instead, Parc Des Etangs was filled with all sorts, from older ravers and black-clad techno heads to starry-eyed teenagers with their heads in the speakers. All day long, the vibe was exceptionally carefree. (The only, admittedly significant snag, was that people had to pay to use the toilets.)
For the final couple hours, the audience had the choice of Mike Servito (Pyramid) and Fuse resident Pierre (Bridge), who's been with the club since the very beginning. I flitted between the two, intrigued by Pierre's reputation as one of Europe's unsung heroes, but in the end I settled at Pyramid, where the tunes were funkier and more euphoric. A couple started a limbo line on the dance floor while the Detroit DJ dropped oversized weapons like KiNK's remix of Unit 2's "Sunshine." This track was a turning point; until then, Servito had been holding back, teasing the audience with summery jams (Larry Heard's "Burning 4 You") and acid rollers. As "Sunshine"'s piano riff burst into life, everyone on the floor roared and threw their arms to the sky. Behind the booth, Tama Sumo sat on the wooden decking nursing a well-earned drink. She was beaming.
Photo credit /
Kris Van De Sande