Enchanting Debut: Electric Love Festival 2013
Despite Austria’s not as notorious as for instance the United States or Belgium are for their inimitable electronic dance music festivals (Ultra Music Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland, etc.), several local event managements have proven to set up remarkable festivals with high class line-ups. Representing this fact, Revolution Event decided to set up something that caters to the international electronic dance music scene and is comparable to A-list festivals in this industry. As the result of meticulous planning and preparation the first ever Electric Love Festival was scheduled for the second July weekend (12th July – 14th July).
After a break of about four years, the Salzburgring in Plainfeld (Salzburg) was chosen as the location for a three-day music festival again. Amidst it’s well-known race track and surrounded by the gorgeous Austrian mountains four stages arose from the ground:
- Electric Heart Mainstage
- Club Circus
- Talent Stage
- Greenfield Stage
STAGES & LAY-OUT
Performing on these four stages, a total of 78 acts from four countries ensured that all festival visitors got one’s money worth.
As a matter of course emphasis were laid on the ‘Electric Heart’ Mainstage where the very elite of electronic dance music marched up to do what they do best. Set for the line-up were none others than Chuckie, David Guetta, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Dyro, Hardwell, Joachim Garraud, Nari & Milani, Nervo, Nicky Romero, Showtek, Steve Angello, Steve Aoki, Vicetone and W&W among others. Although the stage itself didn’t boast of terrific production in terms of stage set up, but was rather kept deliberately simple, the flowery meadow theme fit pretty well into the overall picture. As the major line-up was spread over Friday and Saturday, Sunday was just to round the weekend off with an ‘Electric Picnic Brunch’ accompanied with performances from local artists.
The lightshow, visuals, pyrotechnics and sundries pretty much met the international standards overall. As it was the very first edition of ‘Electric Love’ some short technical problems on the visuals can be connived readily.
In addition to the Mainstage the organizers decided to offer the crowd another stage with an international high-class line-up. Therefore the so-called ‘Club Circus’, a 10-mast-palace tent with the capacity of up to 8.000 people, was pitched a bit off the beaten track. To cover a wide range of electronic music genres, two theme nights were arranged. Whilst ‘Club Circus London’ appealed a more Drum & Bass and Dubstep interested audience on Friday, the programme for ‘Club Circus Berlin’ was fully filled with Techno representing artists. Acting in place of these genres first-rate artists such as F.O.O.L, Krewella, Lexy & K-Paul, Trolley Snatcha and Moonbootica were spinning the turntables on these two days.
The ‘Talent Stage’, a smaller tent between the Mainstage and the Club Circus, was – as the name implies – the place where 24 local talents got their chance to perform in front of about 300 people by winning online votings in advance.
Latter stage was placed in the middle of the camping area and was provided exclusively to the campers. Performing acts of the ‘Greenfield Stage’ ensured that all campers could already adjust to the forthcoming weekend experience on Thursday and further entertained them during Friday and Saturday.
All in all the physical set up of the whole festival area allowed easy movement and breathing room between the stages without increasing the distance between everything too much.
As the surrounding area was also suitable as camping ground, the organizers enabled the option to camp on the ‘Electric Greenfield’. Therefore three camping packages were offered to the festival attendees:
- Basic Camping
- Comfort Camping
- Caravan Camping
So the campers could decide for both the comfort, time saving variant with an already pitched tent in an own, blocked area as well as own sanitary facilities and charging stations for mobile phones or the conventional “selfmade” camping. Of course the ‘comfort’ tent became the user’s personal property afterwards. Both variants had an own parking lot close to their areas. Also separately situated was the caravan camping area with power connections. Whilst the Caravan and Comfort Campers could visit the basic camping sites anytime, the Basic Campers had only access to their own area.
Opened it’s doors from Thursday, 11th July at 9:00 am to Monday, 15th July at 11:00 am, the ‘Electric Greenfield’ was further equipped with any kind of infrastructure such as showers, toilets, a 24-hour ‘Electric Greenfield’ Market with an camping adapted assortment, a Lunch area, as well as a BBQ area, where people could have their barbecue. Beside offering food, beverages and all kinds of personal care products the market also offered a carefree camping package which people could get there after purchasing it for EUR 85,- in advance. Included were a ‘Electric Love’ pop-up-tent, two ‘Electric Love’ sleeping bags and two ‘Electric Love’ camping chairs.
Anyway, there are still people who don’t want to sleep in a tent or a caravan. Those were free to use some of the local hotels and guesthouses, whether they use one in Salzburg or one in the several neighbouring villages. Prices for bed and breakfast in latter case are about EUR 30,- till EUR 40,- per night, whereas the accommodations in the historic old town of Salzburg are a bit more expensive.
To make the transfer from and to the festival area as easy as possible, a free shuttle bus was organized which transported people from Salzburg’s central railway station to the festival area and back. Except during certain nightly breaks that service was available every 10-20 minutes.
In advance it need to be said that you could visit the festival from the age of 16. From that age you could also stay overnight at the ‘Electric Greenfield’.
Indeed, the following prices only apply for this year, but we assume that the prices won’t change too much till next year. Anyway the ticket prices during the initial sale ranged in price from EUR 79,- for the standard three-day festival pass to EUR 129,- for the VIP variant. The early bird tickets were available for purchase from EUR 69,- up. Furthermore it was also possible to acquire one-day tickets from EUR 54,- up. Resold tickets typically surged to anywhere between EUR 100,- and EUR 200,-. Anyway both ticket variants didn’t include the camping. Therefore campers had to pay surcharges as listed below:
- Basic Camping: EUR 19,- (per person)
- Comfort Camping: EUR 69,- (for two persons)
- Caravan Camping: EUR 79,- (for three persons; plus EUR 19,- for each additional person)
VIP guests of ‘Electric Love’ had access to their own viewing decks on the left and right side of the Mainstage as well as to one at the ‘Club Circus’. Available throughout these various decks were own bars, which certainly helps detract from the festival vibe. A further perk was the access to exclusive restroom facilities.
In addition the separate ‘Laurent Perrier VIP Lodge’ was placed directly on the racetrack a bit upper left of the Mainstage. Sponsored by the eponymous champagne brand, it only provided access to certain acts, as well as national and international personalities.
TYPE OF PAYMENT
To the detriment of the major audience the official currency was set in form of tokens which were available at the few token stations throughout the venue. One token corresponded EUR 1,- and was splittable in two pieces. Logically some tokens remained in one’s pocket at the end of the festival. A quite expensive souvenir!
FOOD & BEVERAGES
Apart from several drink and food bars throughout the venue at which the ‘Electric Love’ goers could get an abundance of an internationally inspired cuisine (mainly quick meals) and all sociable drinks, the organizers also decided to pitch up an ‘I Love Austria’ tent to offer traditional Austrian food such as the Wiener Schnitzel as well.
Beside that campers also had the option to purchase something at the Electric Love Market or order a meal in the lunch area right next to it. While food and beverages were a bit above the standard fare at the bars, people could expect low prices at the supermarket.
Opening the major line-up on Friday, 21 year old number one protege of fellow countryman Hardwell, Dutch DJ and producer Dyro, showed the ‘Electric Love’ audience why he got as acclaimed as he is today. Aside from playing well-known tracks such as his collaboration with Hardwell – ‘Never Say Goodbye’ – he also convinced with unreleased stuff such as his yet just released remix of ‘Centre Of the Universe’ as well as a forthcoming original on Nicky Romero’s label, entitled ‘Calling Out’.
Following his drift, compatriot duo Showtek fired up the crowd with heavy-hitting bangers such as their yet released ‘Booyah’ in the early afternoon.
Keeping the show running, Wardt van der Harst, 1/2 of W&W, needed to make a solo-performance for any reason. But this shouldn’t be his only one that day.
Going on stage afterwards, Dirty Dutch inventor Chuckie announced that he has brought good and bad news. Unfortunately he lost his music (proceeding from the assumption that he meant his USB stick) on his way from Greece to Austria, but gladly he has friends like Dyro, Showtek and W&W who kindly helped him out of this situation. Well, which crowd can think of a better solution than a B2B2B2B set with Chuckie, Dyro, Showtek and W&W in this case?
Adjacent performance was, beyond doubt, one of those to which the audience was looking forward most of all. And justifiably so. Brotherly Belgian duo Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike got the crowd pumped up with all the tracks that have made them rise that high in the recent years. Also joyfully welcomed was the common bottle of Grey Goose Vodka that is now considered to be an inherent part of their shows.
Going ahead, Size Records label honcho Steve Angello delivered a respectable performance, dropping his just released collaboration with Matisse & Sadko – ‘SLVR’ – and the Mafia’s chart topper ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ among others.
Closing the mainstage, two-time Grammy-winner David Guetta electrified the crowd with an intoxicating and dynamic show. Accompanied from fireworks, the festival attendees crossed over to the ‘Club Circus’ tent in order to see the last performance of day 1.
Shortly before 2:30 am three cheering voices rang out of its Backstage area. “1, 2, 3, TROLL!” Following up was the trio Krewella. Hard beats featuring the vocal stylings of the two talented sisters and a physical performance that just forced every single person in the tent to totally going nuts. Who haven’t seen Krewella live should definitely catch up on that.
Welcoming the first ravers on the Mainstage in the early afternoon of day 2, a few local artists such as the dj and producer team Barnes & Heatcliff started to heat up the mood of the crowd. Opening the major line-up of Saturday right afterwards Dutch duo Vicetone got on stage. With ‘Electric Love’ as their first big festival until then, you might have thought that this could be a bit difficult for them, but the duo managed it perfectly and even stuck out of the mass of high rated artists with their unique sound.
As the day advanced, Italian Nari & Milani stepped behind the decks and delighted the audience with their significant sound.
While the area in front of the Mainstage was becoming increasingly fuller, French space invader Joachim Garraud appeared on the stage and served the audience the unique stage performance he has been working on in the past years. Therefore his keyboard was, as usual, also among him. Very much to the joy of the crowd.
Setting out to the turntables shortly after, ‘Best European DJ’ and ‘Best Remixer’ (according to this year’s IDMA’s), Revealed Recordings owner Hardwell received an enthusiastic welcome. Expressing his thanks, the 25-year old delivered an incredibly energetic performance before flying over to ‘Ultra Europe’ subsequently.
Keeping the mood high, Australian songwriters, singers, producers and DJs NERVO entered the stage around 9:30 pm. In addition to convincing with their latest hits ‘Hold On’ or ‘Like Home’, the multitalented twins were also testing a bunch of new tracks such as their yet released Spinnin’ collab with Ivan Gough – ‘Taking This No More’ – featuring the lovely voice of Beverly Knight, their forthcoming ´Until You’re With Me` which will be out on their album soon, as well as their unreleased collab with Ummet Ozcan and R3hab, called ´Revolution`. Beside their diversified, thrilling set they also stood out by not asking the crowd to sit down and jump up at the drop, like every second male DJ does nowadays, but commanding the guys to get all the girls on their shoulders. A delightful sight for sure!
Representing the Dutch domination in this line-up once more, whiz kid Nicky Romero was up next. Opening his set with the intro edit of his latest collaborative effort with Krewella, entitled ‘Legacy’, the partly ‘Vendetta’ masked ‘Protocol Records’ label head continued pumping up the crowd with productions such as his floorfiller trademark ‘Toulouse’, his treatment on ‘I Need Your Love’ as well as his heavily applauded collab with Avicii – ‘I Could Be The One’.
Headlining and therefore closing the Mainstage on Saturday Dim Mak Records’ label head Steve Aoki showed up at 0:30 am. Beside his peerless live set he literally added the icing on the cake – five of it to be precise – with picking out some guys of the crowd to stage dive on his dinghy and an air mattress. Last but not least prior act Nicky Romero also paid a short visit to that performance.
Who couldn’t get enough of raving, went over to the Club Circus tent to dance off to the Hip Hop influenced House sound of German DJ and producer team Moonbootica in conclusion.
Approved for 45.000 attendees per day, the crowd ultimately reached the 19.000 mark on Friday and the 21.000 mark on Saturday.
Although the audience was mainly made up of two nationalities – Germany and Austria – you could also see some people holding up flags from Ecuador, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom among other countries. While the crowd was diverse as attributed to the sheer amount of festival goers, a healthy majority of the crowd obviously really was and is into electronic dance music.
Overall the vastly European audience definitely brought an energy and enthusiasm that made this festival come to life. Holding up signs affected to the acts whether if it were marriage proposals for Nervo or typical ‘Cake Me’ requests for Steve Aoki, lifting up friends, not only to let them sit on their shoulders but even stand straight on them to get a better view, as well as singing and screaming louder than the volume of the speakers, were just a few things that made the performing artists going nuts as well.
Times where you had to rack your brain about how to show up at any kind of festival are doubtlessly over. So whatever you’re going to wear on such a festival these days, there is only a tiny chance that you’re the odd one out.
Accordingly some guys naturally were showing up with outlandish fancy dresses whereas the majority was dressed for comfort, wearing simple creations that allowed the wearers to dance off. Furthermore, due to the warmer temperatures, shirtless guys and scantily clad ladies were also a regular part of the crowd.
Although 2013 was the first year for the festival, further editions of ‘Electric Love’ will probably continue occurring within the sweltering months of summer. Anyway the weather in that time period is characterized by gradually rising daily high temperatures with daily highs around 30°C, cooling down to comfortable temperatures throughout the night. Even though it often can be partly cloudy during the early summer months, the precipitation is pretty low.
Anyway weather is always out of our control and therefore never 100 percent foreseeable.
Writer Credits: NightTunes & Prysm Radio
Photo Credits: NightTunes, Electric Love