Valhalla Festival aims to be a magical winter wonderland that gives techno fans a fine pre-Christmas celebration right in the heart of Amsterdam. For a number of years now it has showcased a wide range of international talents as well as plenty of local boys done well, and that’s exactly what happened once more over the weekend of December 20th 2014.
Taking place in the RAI, what immediately hits you is the decor and production, which sees no expense spared and walls and ceilings adorned with all sorts of crazy and festive delights. Huge circus like drapes, acrobatic, dancers, explosions of confetti, lasers link you have never seen before and more besides all make for a truly spine tingling experience and genuinely unique experience. Add into that hookah pipes, Ferris wheels, carousels, haunted houses, shooting games and more besides and you really can see the appeal of this event outside of just the music.
The fact this festival sold out well in advance is no surprise: there are thousands of people milling about in a range of outfits - some are dressed up, some dressed down, some are in festive fancy dress (lion tamers or clowns, anyone?) and some already look a little bit worse for ware, but it makes for great vibes from the off. One of the great sets was from Luke Slater in his famous Planetary Assault Systems alias: it featured tons of rib rattling techno and hypnotic grooves, all served up with lots of texture. For fans of weird electronic sounds and a super live, jacking show of techno and acid, Bulgarian KiNK was a highlight.
Despite this massive orgy of fun taking place in a huge hall, the acoustics are great and the production helps keep the sound nice and tight and free from reverb. No matter where you stand you get crisp beat delivery and never was that more true that during the set of Ben Pearce and The Martinez Brothers, who drop big bass, sharp tech and some classic house to a crowd that laps it up. For fans of equally big house sounds with plenty of depth, the masked Claptone and French G house men Amine Edge & DANCE both served up memorable sets.
Drinks work on a voucher system and come in at a well-priced 2.75 euros each, whilst food can also be bought cheaply and quickly, meaning you have a maximum about of time to party. Bodice sure made us do that, because the non plus bosses set was filled with drilling bass, electro come techno beats and melodies that are from another world. Joris Voorn, a local lad riding high off the success of his latest and greatest album, lay down a fine set of colourful melodic techno that really drew great reactions from the crowd.
Every year this event gets better and better so there really is no reason not to check it out in 2015, especially on the evidence of this year’s show, which was more memorable than ever for so many reasons.