First arriving at the world’s largest clubbing festival back in 2014, this momentous concept has welcomed a host of heavyweight names to its stage including DJ Rush, Monika Kruse, Nicole Moudaber and Dubfire thus cementing itself as one of the leading gatherings in all of Techno and Tech House at this annual industry meet-up.
Traditionally tucked away in the former shipyard housing the NDSM hall in Northern Amsterdam, this year’s edition issued revellers with a change of scenery for this daytime extravaganza.
Far beyond the beautiful, sloping architecture and canal-lined streets of the Dutch capital, Dockyard Festival’s newest abandoned industrial estate of N-1 Park was located between land and water oozing a robust yet derelict character.
With fans now accustomed with a high standard of excellence from this underground series, Dockyard Festival was once again equipped with compelling light displays, production and sound quality. To further add to the excitement, dance floor proceedings were divided up into four impeccable stages hosted by the likes of Cocoon, Mindshake, Polegroup and Terminal One making the 2017 showcase arguably its biggest to date.
Coming complete with disused cars, abandoned steel shelters and scattered showers, the fourth day of ADE proceedings ensured Dockyard loyalists attending had braced themselves adequately enough for the damp and muddy conditions that awaited them over at N-1 Park. Upon arrival however, our committed journey through the rain paid dividends as we discovered Lenny and Lawrence Burden, better known as Octave One, on hand behind the decks over on the Terminal One stage.
Treating early attendees to a live display illustrating their versatility, the Detroit originals proved to be an essential inclusion on what was an already stacked billing. Pushing forward the pillars of both funk and soul, the Burdens continued to explore the boundaries of live performance with elliptical selections further enhancing their bass-heavy 4/4 Techno-Soul style.
Determined to get a taste of all four stage offerings, we eventually made our way over to Polegroup for another example of live performance excellence courtesy of Dystopian regular, Vril. Delivering his dark, spooky Techno shades to a suitably intense, passionate audience, the enigmatic Hannover local conducted a militarised euphoria of only the highest order. Renowned for his quality productions, the work in of his collaboration with Rodhad titled ‘Target Line’ left many onlookers speechless out of sheer admiration.
Switching up our surroundings, we shifted our focus to the Cocoon tent to go get up close and personal with Italian stallion, Ilario Alicante. Blessed with a record-breaking Time Warp debut at the tender age of just 15-years-old, the Livorno-born selector showed no signs of slowing down at Dockyard with an eclectic, diverse range of sounds injected into the veins of the Cocoon faithful. Exceptional from start to finish, our personal highlight from his set came when he blared out the Solomun Renaissance Remix of ‘The Age Of Love’ by Age Of Love – incredible scenes.
As day turned to night, Irish-born talent, Mano Le Tough, took charge of the reins from Ilario at 6pm. Zurich-based, the Maeve co-chief elevated the atmosphere within the Cocoon tent to new heights with an impressive balance of eclecticism, versatility and commitment to constantly challenging himself on the decks. Real name Niall Mannion, his set insertions of his latest release, ‘Kite Dub’, and his remix of ‘Un-Unify’ by Hundreds provided perfect examples of exactly why he is such a unique and important voice in today’s vibrant electronic music scene.
Following a short bar-stop for beer refills, we headed over to a jam-packed Mindshake tent to catch the penultimate performance from Dutch delight, Egbert. Rolling out one great dance floor-focused belter after another, the Rotterdam favourite had all hands in the air and kept them there throughout the duration of his 60-minute set. Equipped with limitless ambition and energy, the warm, upbeat and irresistible Egbert sound proved electric once again, especially during the inclusion of his latest release on Mindshake, ‘Lachgas’.
Speaking of Mindshake, closing out dance floor operations at Dockyard Festival was none other than label head-honcho, Paco Osuna. Armed with endless bounds of creativity, courage and a relentless search for new forms of expression, not many come with the deep awareness for sound aesthetics quite like Paco. A constant fixture at Music On over in Ibiza, the Barcelona-born extraordinaire coated the Mindshake tent with the purest Techno sounds defined by depth, darkness and imagination – the ultimate close to the ultimate day.
Springing straight from the spirit of old Dutch industrial heritage, the hugely established and influential Dockyard Festival illustrated a futuristic dystopia defined by 12 hours of unrivalled, raw energy.
Photo Credit By: TK Photography