Audioriver festival 2014 report
A killer line-up, a fantastic crowd, three days - one hell of a festival.
Report for USM by: Nicole Erini // Following a course of ever increasing popularity and record-breaking runs, wonder-event Audioriver didn’t need one more success to prove its status as one of Europe’s most prominent festivals. Yet it was absolutely dipped in it once again this year. Twenty five thousand music fans gathered like ants around honey at the city of Płock, to see top-notch names of electronic music performing, turning the city into a three day non stop party- and an ecstatic dancefloor.
To be exact, the party started in the train we took from Warsaw; a train full of festival goers with their tents and their most positive mood, heading north.
When we arrived in Płock we could sense the vibe of Audioriver the moment we stepped out of our wagon. Everyone’s destination was obvious and a reason good enough for strangers in the streets to behave like friends who hadn’t met for a long time. After our walk in the city and a few drinks with strangers friends, we stopped at the Old Town Square to pick up our passes and went straight to the site of the festival, right between the Vistula river and the Kalksee lake, next to the grass-covered hill. Five stages, two movie screening tents, numerous bar and food stants and other settings for hangouts (including a tent with plugs, which would have made my life oh so, so much easier, if I had remembered to pack my charger). And the TOI camp, an extremely well-organised camp site. Needless to say, last-minute booking of any kind of accommodation in Płock, was nearly impossible.
Picking certain performances as ‘favourites’, or highlights, is oh-so-hard in this case, and somewhat unfair. But, such is the task that plagues festival reviewers, so...
We loved all performances at the main stage: Pysh (helluva warm up), Skalpel, Karocel, Trentemoller (duh), Pretty Lights, 2manydjs and Last Robots. At the Circus Tent, Gary Beck, Nina Kravitz and Max Cooper, amongst others, kept the party off the ground ‘til long after sunrise. I would have liked more of Kravitz’s vocals in her set, and I think she’s way better as a producer than a DJ but, oh well. From the Last.Fm Hybrid Tent –which unfortunately had to close at around 2am due to weather conditions- we especially liked Fred V & Grafix feat. Dynamite MC and Camo & Krooked.
Highlights of the night were definitely the crowd’s reaction the moment Trentemoller started playing a version of his notorious ‘Miss you’, and the closing of the main stage with the – indeed very descriptive- ‘Love is in the air’, while not a single damn was given about the rain.
Talking about rain and on the not-so-bright side, the weather didn’t do us a favour and treated us with a cranky storm. Even though the Last.fm- Hybrid Tent had to close for safety reasons, the fans didn’t seem to bother that much. Apart from the water, the rain added a somewhat cinematic touch to the flood of energy that run throughout the beach. My friend Natalia summed it up in a quote: “I always wanted to dance in the rain!”.
Long after the sunrise, we fed swan families by the lake. The hell with it, why not. Lesson learned here: baby swans are called “cygnets”. Oh, and if you try to go anywhere near them you’re in serious danger. That too.
Saturday started with a desperate coffee hunt. We ended up with energy drinks and burgers, chatting with random lovely people by the lake (where, by the way, the party went on non- stop from Thursday night ‘til Monday). At this point I have to say, kudos to the Polish people for their excellent communicational skills. Apart from the fact they were all unbelievably friendly *insert hearts and unicorns here*, I didn’t meet a single person who was not fluent in English. A-mazing.
We wandered up and down the Fashion market, which might have been the discovery of the weekend: Polish designers. A wide range from mainstream to not-so-mainstream fashion, well tailored clothes and accessories that made us think we should have brought an extra suitcase. We (ok, I) picked up a skirt by the very, very talented Anna Fludra (do check her out at www.fludraslowfashion.com ) and headed towards the Old Town Square of Plock.
The Old Town Square was serving as a dancefloor and its fountain as a cooler for the hundreds of clubbers and their beers. People were dancing like there’s no tomorrow while elderly residents of Plock were walking their dogs (and occassionally dancing too). The Square was framed by the independent market stage, featuring goodies from CDs and clothes, to hand made jewellery and drinks, covering a wide variety of delights able to satisfy the consumeristic instincts of even the most picky buyers.
The only one who managed to withdraw us from the bouncing Square was Pysh, owning the decks of Audiobar. After opening the main stage the night before, the Warsaw based DJ and producer gave us a few hours of pure, feel-good, dance-demanding sounds and warmed us up again perfectly for the second night at the festival.
Back on the beach, Saturday night proved to be delicious, with a quick dinner and a fantastic line up. From the main stage performances we loved the mysterious Bokka- the band whose members refuse to reveal their identities-, Little Dragon, Booka Shade, Naughty Boy and the delightfully provokative Auricom and DJ Czarek, whereas the legendary John Digweed absolutely bombed the Circus Tent. We had a break from DJ Koze’s punishing beats at the Slow More tent, where Easy and Glasse were taking it easy. At the Last.Fm Hybrid Tent we enjoyed the ‘XX-ish’ Polish duo Rebeka, Daniel Avery and last but not least, Hatti Vatti & Lady Katee and Ivy Lab kept us for a good two hours at the Wide Stage.
I intentionally let a few days pass before I started writing this review, as my immense enthusiasm (and my tendency to automatically adore everything and everyone in every country I visit) made me wonder if I am truly objective about that weekend and if I sound like I’m sugarcoating like music editors do in order to get clicks and passes, well, you know how it goes. After all, the first day was rainy and four of the most anticipated artists of the festival had to cancel last minute (Guy Gerber, Loco Dice, Hot Since 82 and Audio). Nevertheless, organisation was nearly flawless.
But what made the festival a success and a weekend to remember, is something that can’t be questioned: the crowd. And unfortunately it is something that can’t be fully described either. Let’s just say, I’m already excited about next year’s Audioriver.
Special thanks to Ewelina, Mateo and Sebastian for being so kind and helpful, and to the ridiculously talented Milosz Nasierowski for his stunning pictures.
Audioriver has featured names such as
Richie Hawtin, Laurent Garnier , Sven Väth , UNKLE , Loco Dice, Marco Carola, Paul Kalkbrenner, Jeff Mills, Ricardo Villalobos , Jamie Jones, Seth Troxler, Ellen Allien, Agoria, Dave Seaman , Damian Lazarus, Magda, Maceo Plex, James Holden, Gui Boratto , Guy Gerber, Martin Buttrich, Modeselector, Pan-Pot, Tale of Us, Ripperton, Minilogue, Moderat, Catz ‘n Dogz, Röyksopp, Way Out West , Nicholas Jaar, Four Tet, 3 Channels
....just to name a few.
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