Kappa FuturFestival 2019: Festival Report

For the eighth edition, Kappa FuturFestival sticks with its tried and tested formula of bringing the biggest names in underground electronic music to the incomparable Parco Dora urban park

Feature by Michael Lawson | 22 Jul 2019

A sprawling corridor of post-industrial architecture, high-end production and countless speaker stacks, Kappa FuturFestival’s behemoth main stage is one of the world’s finest theatres of big room techno. The centrepiece of the stunning Parco Dora urban park, this year the two-day event welcomes a record 50,000 revellers to Turin for its annual oblation to the techno gods.

Set against the searing heatwave that has dogged Western Europe over the past few weeks, temperatures are headed for the 35 degrees mark as DJ Nobu kicks off proceedings with two hours of groove-laden techno on day one. Not one to compromise the intensity of his sets, Japan’s finest techno export doubles down and delivers a seamlessly-mixed, high-intensity onslaught to revellers already baking in the fiery mid-afternoon sun.

Next up, the sheer scale of the main stage looks to be the perfect auditorium for Boys Noize’s trademark high-octane electro sound, but instead he opts for a middle-of-the-road tech-house set that ultimately fails to get off the ground. Abandoning the German DJ during the second half of his set, HAAi then provides refuge with two hours of chugging, stripped-back techno that keeps things ticking over nicely.

Tucked away in a tree-lined corner of Parco Dora, the smallest of the four stages closes out day one with a back-to-back from Balearic revivalists Gerd Janson and Prins Thomas. With the bulk of revellers flocking elsewhere for heavyweights Carl Cox and Derrick May, the set is lent a welcome sense of intimacy. An absorbing, if somewhat predictable two hours, the duo reach for a flurry of crowd-pleasers, with Bicep’s edit of Dominica’s Gotta Let You Go, Crystal Waters’ Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless) and Gwen McRae’s Keep The Fire Burning all making for hands-in-the air moments before Stardust’s Music Sounds Better With You drops at the finale – a fitting tribute to French touch originator Philippe Zdar who passed away in the weeks previous.

The following day, Charlotte de Witte enthrals the masses with an acid-soaked, trance-indebted set that draws heavily on the rich rave heritage of her home country of Belgium. Loaded with spinbacks and seamless mixing, the raucous crowd resembles that of the assembly line at the nearby Fiat factory as she drops Cherrymoon Trax’s seminal Belgian rave classic The House of House in the latter stages. Meanwhile, local fire engines emerge at each side of the stage, with their powerful jets offering welcome respite from the dogged heat.

It’s a scene veteran who then conjures up the weekend’s standout performance. French wizard Vitalic, known for his uncompromising, frenzy-inducing electro, doesn’t feel the need to shift away from a formula that has served him so well for so long. Laced with a string of his own productions, the Funkytown-on-acid vibe of Lightspeed proves to be only a taste of things to come, with the bombastic, full-frontal assault of the classic La Rock 01 soon obliterating the late afternoon crowds – providing exactly the kind of atmosphere Boys Noize ought to have strived for the previous day.

Nina Kraviz then unleashes a masterfully heavy set characterised by the doomsday techno of Clouds’ Chained To A Dead Camel and The Black Madonna opts for a genre-traversing 90 minutes that includes the wonderfully syrupy disco of Cory Daye’s Pow Wow – both artists demonstrating why they’re at dance music’s pinnacle.

Later that night, a snaking, slow-moving queue meets those who have the stamina to make it to the afterparty at the city’s Q35 club. Revellers who are patient enough to wait it out for the best part of half an hour are rewarded by having three hours of 135 BPM nosebleed techno inflicted on them by Perc Trax affiliate I Hate Models. Instantly turning the hangar-like space into a sweaty rave bunker, the Frenchman’s set descends into gabber in its latter stages – supplying the most intense finish possible to a faultless two days. Amusingly-named local DJ Gandalf then takes the reins, maintaining a similar tempo with his no holds barred sunrise set.

A well-rounded, seamlessly-run weekender, Kappa FuturFestival deserves to be mentioned among Europe’s premiere electronic music festivals.

Kappa FuturFestival took place 6-7 Jul, Turin, Italy