Festival Review: Valhalla Festival, Amsterdam

House | Tuesday 6th January 2015 | Annalisa

Half a year without a techno festival is not sustainable for all techno lovers in Amsterdam. Valhalla is known for its amazing, well-organised decor and music and for its stages that are well presented and signposted throughout the huge complex.

Visitors to Valhalla look all too familiar: same age and the usual techno outfit, but for the music lover it was evident that this was the place to be. Here and there some clowns and lion tamers walked around, but most visitors stuck to a shirt and jeans/ huff-caps style outfit. Entertainment included a carousel, small Ferris wheel, haunted house, shooting and a hut where you can suck on hookahs. These additional activities, and the size of the event, ensure a true festival feeling.

The opening was completely in the theme of Circus Animale. First, an occurrence of the Sand Magician, drawing in sand on a light plate of different animals adding something really special. Finally we got into the swing of the music, all the more amazing because of the stellar quality of production - even the acrobats made The Martinez Brothers pause their performance just to catch a glimpse of the talent on show.


The main area had a podium filled with life sized elephants and huge screens, projecting some obscure visuals throughout the festival. They had wacky circus like features including folding mirrors and burlesque dancers, all adding fuel to the fire and providing that extra festival spin on proceedings. The different stages provided a mixed range of music from house and disco through to techno. The occasional house classic rotated at the beginning of the evening and the Flexican still made for some hip-hop tunes even after some heavier cuts where torn through it.

To select the best acts playing wasn't an easy task. KiNK was on hand to provide an amazing live show to a packed venue, whilst Prunk ventured over the chill out area, not so chilled out by the time he laid out some solid bass heavy cuts to the amazement on-looking crowd. Kolsch rounded off the whole festival, with his fedora hat in tow. The live set was met by huge applause and ended the show on a perfect note.

Ben Pearce was on fine form after a big night previously at Warehouse Project and The Martinez Brothers never fail to show up when in Dam. Highlights for me were Daley (Hot Since 82), who had a packed house throughout weaving in and out of deep and tech house. Other acts that stood out were kick drum enthusiast Boddika, who provided the heavier instalments of techno, whilst Joris Voorn curated a fine hometown gig to round off. Local hero Boris Werner also provided us with a memorable performance to a near packed house.



Trying to avoid music clashes and the risk of echoing beats sitting in a small corner is never an easy task, but the sound was perfectly monitored. Containers and large curtains stopped the sound with huge success and added to the effect of the underground raw antics.


Valhalla is a great party; an indoor festival par excellence and a nice alternative to the smaller parties protagonised by techno enthusiasts during the winter. This year was the festival’s 3rd, and unsurprisingly a complete sell out. Next year the bar is sure to be raised even higher for yet another epic event.
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