REVIEW : VOLTAGE FESTIVAL 2019

The past 10th and 11th of August took place the fifth edition of Voltage Festival. Settled in the heart of a disused power plant, the Voltage Festival built the worthy reputation of being one of the best techno festivals in Europe. Let us go back to this edition’s two days to understand what makes it unique.

DAY 1

The Voltage Festival is located in the Zwevegem municipality. As soon as you get there, you immerse in an industrial atmosphere. The Transfo – where the festival installed since it was created – is imposing. The redbrick building, its chimneys and rusty pipes can be seen in the distance.

It is 13 o’clock, the festival has been opened for one short hour only but Parfait – Possession’s (Paris) resident – is already turning up the BPM’s in the Turbine, the only indoor scene. By way of, softer, appetizer, Hesh opens Rotor, the small outdoor scene. On Saturday, Initiate and Form & Function hosted this scene. We will also remember the extremely well mastered B2B in perfect harmony between Lunar Convoy, founder of Norite label, and his friend Altinbas, member of Form & Function.

At Voltage Festival, time flies, artists succeed one another and we easily wander from scene to scene. It is 17 already. Shlomo Begins his set on the Anode scene. The scenography is impressive – the scene is simply at the heart of a tangle of electric cables and metallic poles. Shlomo delivers a set as aggressive as you could wish to an audience who asks for more. Then comes Fjaak’s live performance, of an irreproachable quality.

At the same time, Rotor scene is vibrating with the hypnotic and modular sounds of Iniate Shaman, a duo formed by Iniate’s two founders – Brice Deloose, aka Pattrn, and Hawkan. They are followed by a succession of Belgian artists, such as Parallel Circuit and Border One, from whom we will remember their dj sets’ quality. The end of night was marked by Blawan solid set in the Turbine and Ben Klock’s closing on Anode scene. A scene with a breathtaking aesthetic once night falls.

DAY 2

Second day of the festival, the third for campers who arrived on Friday afternoon. Tiredness begins to be felt by some but the quality of the warm-ups quickly erases it. Warming up or opening a stage is never an easy task but Neila, Phara and Haissem, all three have done a remarkable job on their respective stages.

Deep In House took control of the Turbine, this covered stage, overhung by rotating gears. A judicious choice from the organisers because the line up proposed by the Brussels collective (also founder of the C12) is just right for the place. What’s more, it’s a clever mix of deep-techno and techno, with a perfectly thought-out schedule layout. We will also remember Luigi Tozzi’s live performance and Wata Igarashi’s solid set.

Perhaps the only drawback of the weekend is the absence of Cassegrain in the timetable distributed on the festival site…. More than one festivalgoer missed this live show, which looked promising for the duo’s first appearance in Belgium.

This benefited one of the festival’s headliners, the young French artist I Hate Models, who was strongly awaited. In front of the well-filled Anode scene, the artist bewitches his audience with big kicks and, at times, acid sounds while mastering his fast and efficient transitions.

The end of the festival was marked by Lucy’s set, Rebakah’s live performance and Hadone’s set – a Franco-Belgian artist signed on the Taapion label.

WHAT WE WILL REMEMBER,

Each year, the Voltage Festival takes us to a surrealist and unique setting, in perfect harmony with the musical universe played there.

Let us talk about the music. The Voltage Festival is one of the few events in Belgium and Europe to cover so many techno subgenres. The quality of the line-up is impeccable, with a perfect balance between “international” and “local artists”. Voltage is not just a festival but, somehow, an overview of today’s techno scene. We see the best of both big names and emerging artists. An unmissable event for lovers of the genre.

Cover picture by Voltage Festival (Press release)
Pictures (review) by Cédric Dhooghe
English translation by Raphaël Rozenberg
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