There are so many times and moments I’ve felt peace, love, and joy in the world but the feeling you get when at a dance festival with every single man and women 100% tuned into that exact moment takes some beating.
The most monumental and epic time that springs to mind occurred only last summer. In the midst of an emotionally charged and mostly dance absorbed weekend of fun, thrills and frolics, I was taken to a higher stage. I felt like Guetta was Rapunzel in his medieval castle and we were all his minions trying to climb his hair just to get a piece of the action.
Extrema Fest is one of the Netherland’s foremost events, even though it takes place outside the traditional Amsterdam hotspot. The venue for this year’s event was the recreational beach Aquabest in Eindhoven and it is there that a myriad of different festival tents were all laid out in front of us when we arrived on July 12th.
Interestingly the festival also brings together a diverse array of sounds from hardcore EDM to full on classic techno. Techno had been missing for a while but this year for the 19th edition it was back with a bang, as were interactive opening night displays that involved punter’s smartphones. The stages were fantastically designed and there was a certain magic to the whole site, no doubt down to the fact that artists and creative groups from the talented greater Eindhoven area, both international and local, were all called upon when designing sets and dressing stages.
And so to the music. For me the big draw was the New York techno don that is Levon Vincent, who played his usual, classy and metallic terminator sounds to a happy looking crowd of knowledgeable people who cheered at all the right moments. On the same stage the likes of Hotflush man Locked Groove and garage king Zed Bias also offered up fine sets to the hungry on-looking crowd.
The Emerald Techno stage did what it said on the tin and offered up banging, heavy sets from UK stalwarts Ben Sims and James Ruskin as well as Detroit’s originator Jeff Mills and Berlin’s bad man Ken Faki. Dutch lad De Sluwe Vos also managed to hold his own with a raw, blocky house and techno set that kept people dancing.
For many, though, it was the EDM that brought them to this year’s Extrema. The main stage was a full on aural assault from the biggest in the game. Bakermat live, for example, brought the maddest reactions from the kids squeezed against the barrier at the front of the stage. Nervo also managed to lay down a fantastic set that tickled every sense, Afro Jack served up banger after banger and Sneak Sound System managed to rock the thousands strong crowd with a maximalist set of full on drops, breaks and lively synth lines.
With all the man lighting rigs, 3D visuals, quirky stalls selling all sorts of party extras and tons of dancers, as well as mad fireworks, canons shooting paper and explosions and so much more, Extrema really lived up to its name and took everything to the extreme. It was a festival that made us embrace everything that is important in our lives. Fun, friends and music!