Review| Extrema Outdoor 2013: One day is never enough

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Blogger: Alex Dalais

Extrema Outdoor 2013, now known as XO Live, is a one-day music festival set around a dam called Aquabest in the Netherlands, an hour by train from Amsterdam. 75 artists perform on 7 stages, each one facing outwards from the water and each named after a different precious stone; Diamond, Quartz, Crystal…..

The organization of Extrema is at the top-end of the game, with perfect logistics matched with a mobile app giving you the floor plan and artist line-ups, no Web connection needed.

The Diamond Outdoor Main stage featured the likes of Nicky Romero, Dada Life, Eva Simons, A-trak, Major Lazor and Justice.

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(View of Diamond Outdoor Mainstage from the dam, Xo Plus area behind)

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(Dada Life – Diamond Outdoor Mainstage)

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(Crystal Outdoor Arena)

Schwarzmann’s deep house almost caused me to miss it, but the very gifted (and 20-year-old) Porter Robinson stood a little taller than the rest on the Emerald Beach stage by dropping into new genres with every track. An incredible performance – enhanced by the stage design and live visuals… Sub Focus(live), Diplo, Modestep and Knife Party also performed on this stage.

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(Porter Robinson – Quartz Indoor Mainstage)

An “Xo Plus” ticket grants you access to raised platforms behind main stages and an exclusive area at the far-end of the lakeside – the XO Plus & VIP stage areas. Our very own Goodluck performed on the VIP stage this year in their first appearance at Extrema, so let’s hope for a main-stage spot in 2014.

The Organisers took full advantage of the location, using boat to transport artists from the floating deck press area to the back of stage where they performed. I had the chance to meet Justice before they boarded the ferry.

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(Xo promotion girl)

Major Lazor played before Justice (peak afternoon slot time), bringing an excellent live element with a massive street-style speakerbox stack around the DJ’s (Switch & Diplo) centre stage, dancers jumping on top of it, and the Rapper/MC walking up-and-down the stage runway chanting lyrics and hyping the crowd.

They brought festival-goers on stage, turning a dude into an object/pole for the dancers and sending him off with a stage dive.  Closing with everyone’s favorite Major Lazor track, Get Free (Andy C remix), they were quite possibly the best live performance at XO this year.

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(Major Lazor – Diamond Outdoor Mainstage)

True rock stars of electronic music, Justice followed with “Justice – For Tuna” as their opening track. From there they launched the futuristic bass-driven sounds that they have become known for, throwing in unique twists as part of their live show

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(Justice – Diamond Outdoor Mainstage)

What was unexpected was how they pulled out classics… After ear-melting electronic tricks, they would ‘break into song’ by playing a sing-along classic with a reworked beat or by simply giving fresh voice to the original. The show finished at 23:15 with a fireworks display on the dam, and any act should consider itself very lucky to get the headline slot at this festival.

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(XO Closing Fireworks display)

The Verdict:

One day is simply not enough time to see this number of amazing artists.

Stage set-up: 8.5/10

Each stage was unique. The main stage’s sound system, L-Acoustic Line-arrays, was a similar size to what we would use for a show in Greenpoint Stadium.

Festival set-up: 9/10

Cash buys tokens (“Muinten” in Dutch) which buy everything else. The entrance and bars ran like clockwork. No queuing, at any time. Around a dam, sun out, well-organized – little to complain about here.

Transport: 4/10

No camping means an easy trip to the festival on a train but, with trains being infrequent late at night, the bus/walk home is no fun.

Vibe: 9/10

Mostly Dutch, all ages, all friendly, and some over two-metres tall. Only love and good vibes – highly recommended!

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Rumoured to have the blue-prints for Krang's TechnoDrome, stolen straight from Dimension X, he’s the type of guy who exudes so much coolness that he adds whole countries on Facebook at one time instead of just people. Always up for a party and a Tequila shot or two this is the guy who we always call first, both before and after a night out…