We were down at the very first AVA Festival in Belfast's Docklands at the weekend, for a super-rowdy celebration of all things electronic from Northern Ireland. Combining a day-time programme of music-industry conference activity with night-time entertainment from the likes of Bicep, Phil Kieran, Space Dimension Controller and many more, plus the added bonus of Boiler Room's first every visit to Northern Ireland ensured this was going too be one hell of a day. Here's five things we loved about AVA Festival....
Location, location, location: So it’s a rave-meets-conference in a massive big former ship-building warehouse called T13, right underneath the iconic Harland & Wolf cranes of Belfast, next door to the shipyard where they built the Titanic. There’s a $400 million dollar, 3000 ton drilling rig called the Byford Dolphin which traveled all the way from Brazil looking down on it and it’s right across the street from where HBO film Game Of Thrones. It's special.
Irish crowds are the best in the world: We’ve all known it for years, but now thanks to Boiler Room the rest of the world can see it for themselves : Irish crowds, particularly Belfast crowds are the best crowds in the world. Back in the 90’s when visiting DJs first started coming here, they would go home raving about the how crazy the crowds are over here compared to the rest of the world and you could be forgiven for taking it with a pinch of salt. There are many clubbing destinations around the world you could travel to from Berlin to Ibiza to the shores of Croatia, but you’ll simply not find a more enthusiastic, up-for-it crowd than you will in this tiny little pocket of humanity on outer-fringes of western Europe.
Beatport revealing details of new Upload service: Beatport’s VP of Music Services Terry Weesaringhe revealed details of a brand new service forthcoming from the retail giant later this year. Beatport Upload will be a free service that connects unsigned music directly with the A&R departments of Beatport’s tens of thousand’s of independent record labels. Unsigned material can be tagged by genre and previewed by Beatport’s millions of users collecting likes, plays and favourites, helping label A&Rs spot and sign any emerging new talents on the platform. Given parent company SFX’s vision for Beatport to become much more than just a retail site for electronic music but a social network, a streaming platform, a ticketing outlet and now a viable more direct alternative to Soundcloud, this has the potential to be that all-important link between creators and consumers, where unlike Soundcloud, creators will ultimately get paid.
Think Local, Act Global: This was the topic debated by one of the panels during the morning conference session and how fitting for an event that sold over 2000 tickets with a bill comprised of entirely local talent (with the exception of Optimo and John Daly) on a weekend where it was competing with two major Irish festivals, Life Festival and Forbidden Fruit (with massive international line-ups) which were also taking place just over 100 miles away. We can’t remember a local electronic talent bill selling this many tickets any time over the past 20 years, never mind the fact it was the first major event these fledgling promoters have ever undertaken and was executed with the attention to detail of seasoned professionals.
For the love of trance:
His love of sci-fi and and b-movies has long been a recurring theme in his work throughout the years, with Wes Anderson and Ridley Scott among the two most resonant data-points. However, there aren’t too-m(any) self-respecting DJs out there who will openly admit to being inspired by the 2000 teen-comedy flick Kevin & Perry Go Large and wear their heart so blatantly on-their-sleeve as Space Dimension Controller. If you didn’t get the hint during last summer’s Boiler Room set from Dekmantel where he dropped Mauro Picotto ‘The Lizard’, the appearance of 1999 trance anthem ‘Ayla’ in his set at AVA Festival should help you join the dots.
Taken from a scene in the movie where the main character get’s unceremoniously dumped by his love-interest having been chased along the shores of Ibiza by his own floating shit, it’s one of the funniest scenes in the movie and this was one of the funniest scenes of the day at AVA Festival. There aren’t too many tunes from the weekend that will still be ringing in our ears this time next week, but this is one of them.
Big thanks to Luke Joyce for the amazing images.