By Jay Clark
To the delight of electronic music fans around Europe, Dutch festival DGTL returned this year. We went to check it out, and have put together a list of seven reasons why this festival is worth the trip to Amsterdam.
1. It’s a city festival, but not on mute.
A lot of city festivals are severely hampered by council imposed noise restrictions. By locating the festival at the NDSM dock, the organisers were able to pump out the music without having to worry about neighbours complaining constantly. However, guests at the next door Hilton must have been a bit perplexed- the windows were permanently shaking throughout the festival!
2. “Installation Art”
Each year, the festival has a competition to select an art installation for the festival. This year was won by Altijd Raak and his “Installation Art” theme. His project, involving a series of interconnected towers dispersed around the festival connected by one central tower, allowed guests to enter into a mysterious world of lights, mirrors and sound. A mesmerizing addition to the event, I’m curious to see what they’ll come up with next year!
3. The stages
Every year, the festival organisers put in plenty of effort to make sure their stages are unique and memorable. This year was no exception, the organisers using a combination of bespoke lighting and stage decor to create impressive backdrops for those present. Our favourite was the Digital stage, quite simply because the view from the backstage looking over the masses of early afternoon revellers during Makam’s heavy techno set was a sight to behold.
4. Diverse bookings
Good festivals aren’t defined by their headliners, but by what you can explore by moving around. Acts such as Andrew Weatherall, Makam and Gold Panda were just as good as any of the headliners and well worth their slots at the festival. Having a succession of live acts, such as Gui Borrato and KinK on the XLR8R stage, were great additions as they showed quality electronic music doesn’t have to be limited to Traktor and turntables.
5. Vegetarian only food
Meat production and consumption are one of the major causes of environmental problems we have- by some estimates estimates 20 vegetarians can be fed on the same amount of land it takes to feed one meat eater. Encouraging positive cultural and behavioural change should always play a part in festival organisation and it was refreshing to see the DGTL organisers take on such a current issue.
As any good forward thinking festival should, DGTL took steps to reduce waste as much as possible. On top of placing recycling bins throughout the festival, the festival collects plastic cups throughout the event. The idea being that can be reused for purposes as diverse as new art installations or fully functional skateboards. A great initiative and one I look forwards to seeing the results for.
7. It’s in Amsterdam!
From the unusual yet extremely charming way the town is built, to the canals, coffee shops, and museums, the city is one of the most culturally invigorating in Europe. It’s also easy to navigate (I swear it only takes 15 minutes to walk from one side to the other), and locals are blessed with the uncanny ability to speak better english than most brits and americans. A couple of tips- want to experience the city without being knocked around by tourists? Head to Jordaan. A five minute walk outside the center, the area has all the canals, (coffee) shops and restaurants you need, without the throngs of tourists. Want to go clubbing and hear some of the best underground music Amsterdam has to offer? Head to Radion. An open minded crowd, a 24h licence and plenty of unique little touches make this place as great as anywhere you’ll find in Berlin.