Of the hundreds of festivals which take place in Amsterdam every year, Dekmantel Festival is probably one of the most iconic and memorable events which will take place this summer. Organised by the music label of the same name, Dekmantel embodies Amsterdam’s electronic music scene by focusing on what is responsible for the success of the Dutch capital’s club scene; friendly and passionate crowds, reasonable-sized stages with mind blowing line-ups and memorable b2b sets, and a tendency to offer to a large audience DJs and producers who sometimes are only known to a small, insider crowd. In contrast with most festivals, there is no place for boring filler and predictable closing sets here - world-class DJs such as Nina Kraviz, who previously closed one of the stages at the same festival, will this year open one of the smaller stages.
Starting as a rather local event, it is becoming quite common to hear stories of enthusiastic clubgoers willing to fly from another continent just for this very special event. Over the years, the festival has increased its mark on the city, adding a series of concerts along the main river of the town, on top of its three days of madness in the woods of the South-West of the city. The opening concerts (which will span over two days this year) make interesting use of the centre of Amsterdam with five different riverside venues connected to each other by ferry boats, offering a stunning view over the city. Part of the magic of Dekmantel is that the prequel to the festival gives an amazing glimpse into the state-of-the-art international electronic music scene. For this reason, while the performances of Mr. Fingers, British Murder Boys, Talismann, Helena Hauff, and DJ Bone are really promising, here are a few other opening concerts that we are looking forward to seeing.
Steve Reich & Slagwerk Den Haag
The American Steve Reich, pioneer of minimal music, will open the festival along with the Dutch group of percussionists Slagwerk Den Haag. The venue Muziekgebouw is no stranger to minimal music, as it hosts the World Minimal Music Festival every other year, offering a stunning view over the river and a perfect acoustics.
Fatima Yamaha / Floating Points
While Fatima Yamaha is enjoying a new found fame since the re-release of his electro-funk EP A Girl Between Two Worlds (featuring the catchy `What’s a Girl to Do’), Floating Points is slowly moving away from the deep house tracks which made him famous to explore electronic music laced with clear post-rock influences, and live performances which bear comparison to Pink Floyd.
Forest Swords / Optimo
With his first album Engravings, the British producer Matthew Barnes who goes by the stage name Forest Swords transported us to a dark, sensual, and twisted world soundtracked by deconstructed R&B tracks featuring heavily distorted guitar riffs and unintelligible vocal samples. Now on the label Ninja Tune, Forest Swords will present his new album Compassion at Tolhuistuin for an experimental punk-themed night closed by the Glaswegian DJ duo Optimo.
Dekmantel Festival takes place in Amsterdam from the 2 to 6 August. For more information, including tickets, please visit the festival's official website.
Photo Credit: Yannick van de Wijngaert