DGTL Festival tears up Amsterdam

House | Friday 10th April 2015 |

With a quick recap on 2014, DGTL Festival was one of the liveliest, most organic and well organised festivals out of the plethora of choices I went for last year. Opting for that greener element was a sure fire winner for 2015 garnering, huge exposure upon the travelling community from around Europe. The cosmopolitan crowd that endeavored to take on DGTL for 2015 also had even more to shout home about as the line-up grew stronger and the capacity was increased by a few thousand. 
The site was the same however, with a few minor differences. I was at first slightly disappointed that the Red Bull airplane hanger had gone only to find out the crane was to play host to the ever-present brand. Pretty cool right? What was even cooler was seeing Cinnaman and Breach go back to back in there over looking the boisterous and mingling crowd. 
Anyway onto day one. With the weather not at its finest it wasn't as though we had to trudge through layers of mud to find our way; the industrial elements that faced us meant getting round the site in all conditions was simple. All the arenas were covered and the sound never leaked as cargo craters were the foundations of each site. Think a disused warehouse and marina, and the end scene of Lethal Weapon 2, and you'll probably have the right impression. The authentic raw balance of festival site and programming of the bookings was met with a sell out audience.
Looking over the acts for the initial day, Makam was one of the stand out artists, closing proceedings in the Phono. Admittedly not one I was originally looking out for, he was a sure fire hit with his home crowd and really set the standard for the following day. I was particularly interested the Phono room, which also saw Locked Groove and Steve Rachmad notch up impressive outings with solid deeper blends of techno. The Analog arena offered the tech house drops and punchy basslines that are sure fire crowd pleasers. Finnebassen closely followed by Adriatique were on fine form and led the charge into the early evening. The Digital arena, which was by far the largest and had the surrounding podiums rather like Amnesia, played host to the big hitters Hot Since 82 and Jamie Jones, the latter rounding things off with the aptly titled Fat Gash EP by the ever-present Hull producer wAFF. 
Of course there was an after-party, it's just wrong to think that there wouldn't be in Amsterdam. This was duly held in the warehouse next to the site which was home to their ADE showcases last year. There was a 2,500 strong capacity right until the sun came up with Boris Werner and Jonny White from Art Department both taking the reigns.
Day two went along a more techno theme. Innvervisions, who are a staple at most festivals, had a bustling atmosphere from start to finish. Of course Dixon will be talked about in every review as he has the knack of presenting an alternate set each time he plays. However on this occasion, dare say I so, I believe he was out shone by Recondite who played slightly before him. Offering a really eclectic start, he soon dove into his live elements of darker and encompassing techno that set things up perfectly for the main man Dixon. The arena was finished off by Ame who literally added the cherry on the cake to another stellar outing from the German imprint. Sidney Charles is also worthy of a mention. The Tribal Sessions mainstay had a very mixed audience who all stomped to his music. The same can be said of local stalwart Prunk, who has been setting the industry alight with his array of talent. 
My picks for the day came from Extrawelt who played in the Analog arena. The duo played into the early evening with a driving mix of techno. The mix was littered with drums and energy that had the onlookers in awe of their every move. John Talabot and Job Jobse also had a sublime outing with melodic house. The ex-Trouw booker Jobse also got warm applause in remembrance of the club that sadly left us earlier in the year. A fine way to end the ever-growing festival.
All in all DGTL was another fine example of why you need to fit at least one or two Amsterdam festivals into your diary this year. Not only do they head down the environmentally friendly route in a way that even Glastonbury would be proud of, but they align their programming perfectly and always look at extra ways to offer a better experience. The drinks tokens scenario will always be an issue for some, but it seems to be a trend in Dam and I belive over the years has proved beneficial. The help on hand is second to none and the venue is just the way we all like it - raw, dirty and well executed with sound and light. Lookout for their Barcelona outing in August.