Reviews/Previews

Enter Space Ibiza 2014

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If a prize was to be given out for most captivating PR campaign in Ibiza, then no doubt Richie Hawtin's Enter would be a top contender. Simple techniques and concepts have proven to be effective as the  brand's unmistakable black dot logo showers the island, be it on beach balls, towels, street signs or on the skin of punters in the form of a temporary tattoo Hawtin has got it covered. Following the opening party two weeks ago, things are heating up as we get ready for the third installment of the third season of Enter.

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Enter prides itself on being not only a place to dance but to have an all round experience. This is carefully crafted through differently curated rooms all providing something unique, a perfect choice for the different stages of the night if you arrive when the doors open and stay until the doors close, then you'll want to be taken on a journey through your 12 hour marathon, and Enter provides the goods in droves.

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The journey begins with the much loved Sake bar, the only room that is open until midnight. This brings a rare opportunity for the early birds to see one of that night's headlining acts up close and personal, in a dodges and dives through the crowd.

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As the guest headliners come and go however, the Sake bar will always remain the domain of trustworthy residents Hito and Bella Sarris. Both have graced the bar since the opening of Enter and know just how to get the crowd swinging, fitting the vibe of the room perfectly. This week features Bella Sarris B2B with Fernando Costantini, a perfect sound harmony to follow the opening set by Maceo Plex. It will be intriguing to see if he plays out his new tracks, released on Hawtin's M-nus label which were inspired by the Enter experience itself.

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The terrace this week will see French trio make their Enter Ibiza debut, no stranger to Ibiza but perhaps more used to the booth at DC10 it is always a treat to see the way artists approach new nights to them.

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If you want to be immersed face first in techno, then the main room is where to head, where this week Marc Houle will be showcasing live performances of his new album ‘Cola Party’.

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It is hard not to get sent in to a frenzy as this room is geared to play with your emotions. A constantly evolving light show in sync with the music grows gradually more intense as different elements are added dancers come and go, ice cannons cool you down and keep you on edge and bombs of black dot confetti are dropped. It is special to see Hawtin play in a place where he has total control, and this week he will be joined by Luciano for a b2b set.

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In addition to the dark, cave like ‘Mind’ room, the newest addition to 2014 features a place to encounter interactive technology. Always an advocate for the latest gadgets, what Hawtin has up his sleeve for this area is anyone’s guess, but it makes the concept of a chill out area much more interesting.

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Upon entering Space on a Thursday night, prepare to be transported deep into the depths of Richie Hawtins world, and that’s not a bad place to be.

Written by Eileen Pegg

 

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Loft 1st Birthday

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A party that celebrates and encourages their residents and guest DJs to freely express themselves through their music. Where intimate gatherings of friends and newcomers come together to hear ingenious wax wizards. Even though this party is only 1 year old they have already brought Voigtmann, Audio Werner, Nicolas Lutz, Peter Glasspool, Praslea, Giovanni Verrina, LamÂche, Isherwood, Francesco Del Garda, Greg Brockmann & Robin Ordell to the beautiful City of Brescia in Northern Italy. This is LOFT, a party ran by two friends who's soul focus is the music.

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Their next event is the celebration of their 1st birthday with guest DJ's Alex Picone and Francesco Del Garda. Alex has played alongside living legends such as Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin and Luciano and has had his productions supported by Raresh as well as Senior Villalobos. A true veteran who will be the perfect icing on LOFT.'s birthday cake. 

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Francesco on the other hand is one of the most exciting DJs around at the moment, his experience and confidence to elegantly execute transitions and layer complex contrasting rhythms seamlessly has gained him a reputation amongst followers who have aptly named him 'The Wizard'. Experiencing timeless moments is not an every day occurrence but if there is someone to pull it off at the moment it's probably going to be Del Garda (If this guys not on your radar, then check him out).

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BA:RS and Pabie will be playing a b2b2b set which I'm sure will cover an eclectic range of music judging by what I have heard from these guys play previously. LOFT. also have a mix series, their latest episode is from resident Marco Maranza, the mix alone makes me want to be on the dance-floor from opening doors, so as to not miss out on anything special. David Chew Toy and Gabro are also LOFT. residents that are not on this line up but are also expressing their own individuality regularly at LOFT. gatherings and can be checked out in the mix series.

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The venue and sound system is also very important to the LOFT. community, the Bozak AR-6 and custom sound system are both great characteristics that create LOFT.S warm sonic atmosphere, in the summer they reside at open air venue Vinile 45 then move to Disco Volante to hibernate for the winter.

19th July 23:30 to 06:00 missing it would mean missing out.

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There Is No Place Like Home

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Home is a place where many of us feel most comfortable, a safe place, a place we share with family and friends, an on Saturday 28th June 2014, I think we all made Studio 338 our home and became members of a unique extended family.

Summer in London is always one where the weather begs to taunt us with grey clouds and tropical style downpours. And without fail at around midday the heavens opened on a day greatly anticipated by many. Nonetheless we headed down to the tunnel approach at the mouth of the Blackwall, where Studio 338 resides. I arrived after the proceedings had begun with a talented pair in the form of Francesco Del Garda and Max Vaahs opened. At this point Dan Andrei was now steering the ship with a selection of boucey summer grooves, gently warming us up for the mammoth session ahead. The venue was perfect for a day when the weatherman couldn’t make any promises. Protected from the rain under the perspex roof the arena began to rapidly fill with a display of smiling faces from across the capital and further.

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The walls had been dressed in deep green foliage, detracting from the raw industrial feel of the naked walls adding a sense of nature’s touch to the concrete garden. Among the hustle and bustle of the crowd a member of the Perlon cloth stepped on stage to take us up a gear. The small Japanese figure of Fumiya Tanaka was now in control. Calm, collected and cool are three words that don’t even shed a glimpse of light on Tanaka’s effortless execution. By this time the sun was blazing, with the added warming greenhouse effect of the roof over the terrace. If you’d had shut your eyes for more than a moment you could easily have been on holiday somewhere dancing away to your hearts content. Tanaka carried us through as the sun began to set over the rustic gasworks with everyone now packed in and moving in a uniform groove.

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With the atmosphere building at pace, a more intimate setting was stirring on the second floor. Next Wave back to back sessions were underway. Some much appreciated downtime was taken to absorb what could quite easily have so far been the best party I’d been to in a long time. Barac was at work by this point. An undeniable talent, he delivered a set which I was only partially able to appreciate as I was drawn back to the terrace for more of Fumiya’s master class. The HOME insignia was now dressed in a hypnotic display of enchanting visuals constructed by the Dreamrec, bringing the stage’s backdrop to life. Suddenly it felt as if we had taken a step deeper into the mythical forest-like setting. A roar of cheers swarmed the crowd with the changing of the guard. The three amigos had arrived, Rhadoo, Petre and Raresh RPR Soundsystem.

pedro - CopiaWith the blur between space and time becoming more apparent a momentary watch check made a steak in my memory at around 10pm. We had only reached the halfway point! For a moment i took a step back to look around at what was taking place. “Home is where the heart is”, and I could definitely feel the love at this point. I was back in the groove and ready to be carried away on a cloud of RPR sorcery. Between the floaty aura of Petre, the oozing flamboyance of Raresh and the devout focus of Rhadoo something magical happens.

An awesome harmony transpired through the hours between sundown and sunup. The people, the place and the music complimented each other to no end. I don't think there is much more that I would have wished for in a party, whether here in London or even abroad. There wasn't a moment of consideration at the possibility of lacking energy to go the distance. Once again the sun dawned on the terrace bathing us in its euphoric glow. 

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We had come full circle and the end wasn't even a shade in sight. It was almost as if we had started all over again. I wish I could close my eyes, click my heels and be taken back. Right up until the last track played out, I had a thirst for more of the delights they had shared with us over the last nine or so hours. On reflection I can without a doubt say that HOME set the precedent for anything to follow. From cradle to grave it was nineteen hours of pure class, and if you weren't there then i can only express my sincerest apologies for whatever led you anywhere other than Studio 338 on 28th June 2014, and for those that were privileged enough to share it with me and the other few thousand people then you will know... “There is no place like HOME

 

 

Written by  Anwaar Bent

Pictures by Daddy's Got Sweets

 

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From Flicker to Flame: Outside The Big Smoke

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London: habitat I'm sure has been many a poets' muse and many an opportunists' terrain. Where the streets are seldom lonely and the walls act as an  artists' canvas. The only refuge on this island for house and techno connoisseurs parched for a taste of something fresh London, with its concoction of contrasting souls and sonic frequencies that reinvigorate seemingly desolate spaces. Basements, warehouses and rooftops are transformed into ceremonial rendezvous.

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Some go to listen, others to dance, some attend purely to socialise and enjoy the atmosphere where others go to study. There are numerous innovative parties that intuitively cater for what their audiences crave. in our fair capital: Art of DarkHalf Baked, FUSEToi ToiUndersound, the list is long enough that if I were to credit all the parties that deserve praise I would be in need of an extensive scroll. That's without naming the influential DJs and radio shows that all have their own part to play in making London the extraordinary experience it is.

The point being that within the geographical confinements of London there is an abundance of innovative music to be heard, whatever the medium. But what about outside the city as, after all, London only counts for a small part of the United Kingdom. There are other venues around the UK that are integral to the UK's house and techno scene. 'Sankeys' in Manchester regularly has exciting events with awesome line ups and has been responsible for perhaps the freshest venue and club nights in Ibiza for the past few years.

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Which naturally leads on to events that don't have a huge financial backing. There are a few around, of course, with much smaller followings which I imagine have many more sustainability issues. To find out more regarding small parties around the UK and the challenges they face, being geographically located outside the artistically fruitful capital city, I've undertaken a case study of a little known party on the south coast of England 'muddywellies'.

From a gathering of likeminded friends brought together through their adoration of house and techno music, muddywellies generated momentum by building an intimate party built on family vibes and underground music. They draw from their united passion of unanimous defiance of lacklustre entertainment within the city providing affordable entrance and a sound system that values both clarity and warmth equally. This is a privately funded community, whereby every soul brings their strongest card to the table forming an unbreakable deck. True to any family aesthetic they share a space they call home The Joiners, residing in a neglected street in the heart of Southampton. Voted 'Britain's Best Small Venue' 2014 by NME Magazine this is a place of musical heritage where the ceilings sweat and the walls breathe. A dark yet eerily vibrant setting that accentuates the deep, rolling grooves of the muddywellies' residents.

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Some residents channel all their energy into the art of mixing while others keep an arm spare to hand sculpt their own productions, all of which are heard long before their date of release, pulsating from the muddywellies' sound system. Careful consideration of headline DJs is an important part of event preparation. DJs are chosen due to their style and never their hype. The muddywellies organisers travel to check out potential headline DJs' live performances at other parties as well as their podcasts and productions. This helps make sure the right talents are exposed at their events, further solidifying the muddywellies sound. Many of the muddywellies family's favourite DJs and producers have graced their dance floor including Isherwood, Rich NXTEast End DubsBrett JacobsSam.ulIttetsuPeter Glasspool and Monika Ross.

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Southampton is not the multi-cultural epicentre of creativity and expression London is. It does not have the vast population or the derelict spaces which can be converted into quirky havens for house and techno heads alike or a scene of ever flowing sonic wizardry people travelling religiously in hope of hearing the next innovative artisan, daring to experiment while those inside the box stretch its available space and regurgitate its accepted popularity. Neither do many of the cities in the UK but that's not to say that a successful party cannot be achieved. Perhaps muddywellies is proof of this a candescent light that, from a distance, may only seem like a flicker of hope, though up close burns bright and continues to evolve fuelled by community and passion. A true party for the people, from the people.

From speaking to the organisers about their future plans, it seems that flame is only going to grow in intensity. Already the muddywellies family have established a podcast series (available on ‘Soundcloud’) and are in final preparations to launch their digital label project, of the same name. Many of the same DJs and producers are involved in all three projects, further reinforcing that sense of family values. 

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Running a party outside of London surely seems a challenge and certainly will not just create or sustain itself. But, if people were to not attempt something every time the results were uncertain or seemed challenging, then humans as a race would have never evolved past our cave-dwelling neolithic stage. We would probably be capable of hitting sticks on stones to produce some kind of basic rhythm, but we certainly would not have synthesisers, turntables and studio monitors. Though I may be being slightly pedantic with my examples, the point looms clear as day. Put in the work, get something out of it accordingly.

With the right knowledge, passion, commitment and principles, the challenge of creating and sustaining a party outside of London is very achievable. Start small and prioritise the music, vibe, venue and sound over the profit and hype and take the time to socialise with your crowd. As muddywellies has shown this may just be a handful of friends to start off with but even the most intricately woven tapestry begins as a single thread. Many events are thrown by promoters rather than music lovers, which is perhaps the issue.  After all what is a party about if it is not about sharing musical experiences with one another?

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It should never be about how many people you can convince to come through the door it should be about creating a series of moments and memories for the people that share a passion for the music your party represents. After all do you want five hundred drunken time wasters grinding on your dance floor or eighty music lovers taking in each hi hat shuffle as if they were breaths of enlightenment?

 

Written by Michael Ainsworth

 

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Weather Report 2014, Paris

00weather 1 copyAfter the success of their inaugural event last year, the Weather Festival in Paris returned to the city last weekend for its second installment with a grander ‘plan de campagne’ that entailed new festival sites, a larger capacity and a mind blowing line-up, spread over four days.

With such a line-up how could anything go wrong? Industry’s ‘crème de la crème’ (you pick up French really quick if you’re in Paris for a few days) was invited and the whole circus was playing over the weekend. 

Paris always feels like coming home to me. My first experience with the city was when I was a youngster and went on a camping holiday with my parents to the Dordogne; Paris was our first stop. All that I can recall from that first encounter, not due to extensive alcohol or any other less than legal substances - was eating ‘escargots’ (snails in garlic/parsley butter) and the beauty in which the whole city is draped. During the festival I asked someone why it’s so difficult to buy cigarettes in the city center and she replied saying: “Paris is like an open-air museum and you are not allowed to buy cigarettes in a museum either, right?”

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Anyways, the festival lasted four days. Apart from the main event, that started on Saturday at noon and finished at 10 the next morning (yes that is 22hours), there were Weather OFF events all over the city. As the OFF *any festival* parties are always better than the official opening events, I chose to miss the Weather openings ceremony with Mount Kimbie (live), Moritz von Oswald trio and Underground Resistance. Firstly, I wanted to pay a visit to Sonotown, the promoter that hosted the Weather official openings party last year - because XDB, DMX Crew, Jane Fitz and DJ Stingray were topping the bill. I’ve seen the latter play about two months ago at the Phonica ‘Record store Day’ Basement party and DJ Stingray (6.5 feet and wearing a balaclava) really impressed me. I’ve never in my life seen somebody mix that swiftly, he was playing his 12” electro funk and house records for not even a minute before mixing the next one.  But when I was told that Apollonia, consisting of French DJs Shonky, Dyed Soundorom and Dan Ghenacia, were playing all night long at Concrete. Sold.

I’m glad that I managed to go to Concrete because it was the best way to begin this weekend. I can understand why Concrete is seen as one of the best clubs in Paris and why it even belongs to the top clubs of Europe. The line-up, the sound system, the bar, the people and basically everything about the venue is just spot on. When the sun came up around 5 in the morning I had a ‘déjà vu’ that reminded me of the Watergate in Berlin, it was magical. Apollonia was playing a great energetic set and they kept the crowd entertained all night. This seems easy if you play with three people but its actually quite hard, unless you have great chemistry.  

On a festival that lasts for 22hours, people survive happily on three basic things: music, sun and some inhabitation removers (if you know what I mean).

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Surprisingly, immediately after entering the festival site I was already baring witness to people who seemed completely rat-arsed, and this was at a meager 4PM, with a whole day plus a whole night ahead. I guess Parisians just really like to party. This comes as no surprise, as the Weather Festival is one of the few festivals that is around the city during the whole summer, heck even the whole year. Despite the fact that this was the second edition and the fact that the French have little experience with festivals, the Weather Festival was extremely well organised.

The site where the main event was being held was historical and unique. Le Bourget was Paris’s first airport and started operations back in 1919. Nowadays the site is being used as a museum and a place for conferences and events. Normally airports are annoying places that many of us hate to spend time at, but if you have the chance to party on an airfield; Inside the hangers and on the ramps, that is a lifetime opportunity. They made this surreal experience even more realistic by placing (or leaving) several airplanes on the site (unfortunately not accessible) and even a space rocket that had quite a lot resemblance with the historical Apollo 11.

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The site covered four stages, both inside and outside, named after the four seasons. The main stage (or Spring stage), hosted the bigger names such as Ricardo Villalobos, RPR, Onur Ozür, Sonja Moonear, Seth Troxler and Derrick May. Although I’ve seen Villalobos playing many times before, I couldn’t resist taking a peek and seeing this legend work the decks. He seldom disappoints and always knows how to enjoy and please both the crowd and himself. Seth Troxler, or as they in Paris refer to him as “Le Seth”, has grown into a respected artist and DJ of cult status. Making a name for himself by his charismatic personality and by enjoying life in its fullest sense. Apparently ‘Le Seth’ is extremely big in France, because I heard many people talk about him hours before he had to play and when he did, the main stage was full with spectators. Le Seth delivered and gave me goose bumps when he played ‘House Nation under a groove’ by DA Rebels. Not because the track is anything new, but because it’s legendary, especially when you hear it on a massive sound system.

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The two indoor stages (Fall and Winter) were more Techno orientated. I had a small moment when I found refuge inside one of these hangers when it was pouring rain outside. I’m sure that respected artists such as Len Faki, Plannetary Assault Systems, Ben Clock, Marcel Dettmann, Adam Beyer and Chris Liebing were rocking these two stages, as the crowd were really enjoying themselves, but personally this is not my cup of tea. During the day the sun was out and it was a scorching 30 degrees, who wants to stand inside with those circumstances, anyways?

No; Disco, House and Minimal are more my thing. Basically anything that covers a little bit of funk. The Summer stage, which was the smaller stage outside - covered everything that was funky and I barely had to move to see the artists I wanted to see. I only had to move my feet and move back and forth between the bar - it was perfect. Zip, Moodymann, Motor Citty Drum Ensemble, Soundstream (live), Floating Points, Margaret Dygas, S3A and Hold Youth were all on my list. Unfortunately, I had to miss the last two due a small delay I experienced getting to the site, which involved an 1 hour walk through a dodgy banlieue. Moodymann and Zip played by far the most spectacular sets I’ve seen over the weekend. Moodymann is truly extraordinary and a one of a kind DJ. He always surprises you during his set, keeping you anxious to hear the next record. He is one of those DJs who can play anything he likes, whether its hiphop, disco, jazz or house. This keeps his set exciting, diverse and very danceable. When he opened with “Get Down on Saturday Night” by Oliver Cheatham, my night couldn’t get any better.

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Well it did, Perlon label owned Zip played two of the finest hours of house music I’ve heard in a long time. Darting effortlessly between the vastly different elements of the Perlon arsenal, Zip’s set was frankly an exemplary exhibition of how the very best minimal is light years away from the repetitive clicks and vocal glitchers that have come to give the genre a bad name. When Zip was finished, it took me nearly 10 minutes to realise that Margaret Dygas took over the decks. She started strong, powerful and continued on the path that Zip carved. However due to a technical failure and a very sudden and intense Mediterranean shower - that made everybody run inside the hangers -  Margaret lost the momentum and her grip on the crowd. She had to restart her set twice to get back in her flow. This was a shame as she was killing it in the beginning.   

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Sunday is a day of rest and I took that opportunity to rediscover the beauty Paris has to offer. I could have decided to pay a visit to more OFF Weather events. There was enough to do in the city with parties being held in the infamous Rex Club, Le Batofar and La Machine du Moulin Rouge. However, I’m very keen on my health and physical being and decided to hit the sack early, so I’d be fresh for the closing party on Monday.

The closing party was miles away from Le Bourget and a huge trek. The festival site was located on Île Seguin, a small peninsula in the river Seine. There were three stages, two tents and one outside stage. Unlike the first-rate sound system I examined at the main event, the sound systems on all the three stages at the closing party were horrible. Maybe they did not test it properly or the technicians missed their sound check, but I couldn’t enjoy the music as I like to: flawless and without distortion. Anyways, Ben UFO played a really good set, but all my eyes and those of many more were focused on Three Chairs – the collective comprised of Detroit house luminaries Theo Parrish, Rick Wilhite, Marcellus Pittmann and Kenny Dixon Jr. The latter better known as Moodymann. They were spinning for 6 hours, an education in all things from the Motor City.  

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Maybe it was because of these high expectations; Maybe it was because of the quality of the sound system; Maybe it was because our Mo’ Town legends were all pretty smashed, or maybe it was because of the fact that Three Chairs is a new project that is still trying to find their balance, but in any case it was disappointing. They couldn’t keep it stirring for 6 hours and there was no structure or balance among the four of them. They were just throwing on records randomly and over-using the filter effect that honestly added nothing to their set. At least they had fun on stage and showed a great chemistry, as they’ve known each other for over 30 years. Rick and Kenny kept the crowd entertained with a lot of MC’ing and there is no doubt that they are individually all extraordinary good DJs. For these reasons they deserved the booming applause that they received at the end of their set… or maybe it was because the festival was closing and everybody was still dying to hear one more track.

From a punter’s perspective, festivals can sometimes be arduous: 50-minute treks across the festival terrain, long queues for bars and lockers, constant battling for dancing space and a view of the artist and a lot more other annoyances. Weather Festival exceeded expectations and did not lack in any of these things. This is quite exceptional as the French are not experienced with organizing festivals. Despite the fact that the Weather Festival is one of the only festivals held during the summer, it creates an amazing atmosphere.  Everybody is excited and looking forward to it for weeks, hell maybe even for months. It’s a Parisian festival ‘pur sang’, so no shirtless Italians, muscled Croatians or wasted Germans. This fact together with the countless musical highlights outweighed some of Weather’s operational shortcomings, such as the poor sound system at the closing party and the fact that they hadn’t sufficiently prepared for rain during the main event. The Weather Festival was a resounding success and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a multiple day festival for its community spirit, the setting, interesting musical showcases, the people and… the weather :)

 

Paul Fluks 

 

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