ALL WORDS BY D_Know
‘Sloterpark, one of Amsterdam’s favourite green spaces’ as worded by The Guardian is a 90-or-so hectare natural mass that would play venue to another edition of one of the Netherlands’ long-running house and techno festivals, Loveland. With six different stages, each of which representing a different sub-genre and set of acts, the event promised to be a busy one. Just an hour or two after opening and the venue already started to fill up as attendees circulated the various stages.
First on my list was to see the main-stage (known as Fire!). Having seen photographs of the gargantuan structure from previous events, I was very curious to see it with my own eyes… And gargantuan it proved to be! Set up as a series of white towers with a central DJ booth, its sheer scale and cinematic lighting display was certainly enough to inspire awe in even the most apathetic of partygoer. Opening this stage was Thai DJ, Nakadia, whose warm tech-house grooves got feet moving early. Building up nicely for Alan Fitzpatrick, she ended her set on a particularly high note with Andrew Meller’s re-version of Underworld’s classic anthem ‘Born Slippy’ (and being a slightly older crowd, this was exceptionally well received). Thereafter, Fitzpatrick temporarily turned things down a notch with a stripped-down techno opener that brought the crowd back down to earth. In typical fashion however, he quickly raised the roof with some big-room, rave-inspired pounders that he is so affectionately known for. Next, I headed to perhaps the most unique stage of the festival, the ‘Live’ stage (a scaled-down, orange-and-red version of the main-stage). Reserved for those who have developed their own unique live-performances rather than ‘DJ’ sets, first on my was to see one of the kings of the contemporary house-driven live set, Rodriguez Jr. With some serious production chops and confidence on the piano, he presented a well-crafted melodic set with some interesting dub elements, setting a high bar for the acts to follow. Having enjoyed the vibe of this stage (especially the raised seating at the back), I decided to stay to catch Detroit Swindle rather than move on elsewhere. Having been a big fan of their productions for quite some time, I was very intrigued to see the new live act that they put together. With an extra man behind the Rhodes and Nord (with vocoder) this was sure to be exciting. Playing out some of their newer material, it was a fresh sight and proof that they are serious masters of their craft. Thereafter I took a short walk over to the ‘Tech’ stage to catch Secret Cinema. As one of the early bookings in the Loveland’s infant stages, it was absolutely clear why he understood the crowd with such ease. With a ‘Gashouder’ type setting, fog-cannons and bass-heavy techno, it was after he dropped his new Drumcode collab with Egbert entitled ‘Maximaal’ that the tent really came to life! From here, it was back to the ‘Fire!’ stage to catch Matador handing over to Richie Hawtin. It was especially nice seeing the friendly dynamic between the two as they have had a long history of working together via Richie’s Minus imprint. Both put on a solid showing of techno, but I was soon back to the ‘Live’ stage for yet another highly anticipated set – that of Stephan Bodzin. This was one of the highlights for me as he masterfully took the crowd through a journey of intense emotion with delicate build-ups and synth improvisations to thumping drops – a true artist! Thereafter it was between Fire! and Nest for Egbert and Huxley respectively. And finally, I tried my best to hop between Sven Väth (at ‘Fire!’), Booka Shade (at ‘Live’) and Ben Sims (at ‘Tech’) to round of the night.
Having said this, the event clearly wasn’t short of attractions. Unfortunately, for me, this was its only minor downfall. Although a seriously comprehensive and high-level event, there was simply just too much to choose from! I was so distracted by the different options every half-hour that I found it difficult to immerse myself into a set – understandably, for some, this is a great attraction, however, one would either need to plan a ‘must-see’ schedule in advance or be satisfied with missing out. At least I know what to do next time around!
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