venue for cutting edge festival
What can you expect from a festival
billing itself as “Experimental
Audio/Unusual Video”? This was
the question that led me to pack my
things and head over for a week to
the sunny climbs of Eastern Spain.
Arriving in the beautiful city of
Valencia was a real treat, and certainly
geared me up for the festival, until
I found out where it was!
Something I wasn’t expecting
was the location being quite far out
of the city – but when I saw
the location I realized why this place
had been chosen ahead of Barcelona,
where the last three festivals have
been held. The Feria de Valencia is
a fantastic futuristic looking set
of buildings, basically in the middle
of nowhere, and looked every inch
the part for what is basically a very
cutting edge, forward thinking festival
of talent from all over the world.
Split into a variety of different
sub-venues within the main hall I
began to notice that the emphasis
was slightly more on the "look"
of electronics, rather than the music.
The main venue rooms were set up for
the digital artists, and the electronic
music acts were being placed in a
rather smaller side room. This however,
turned out to be quite a nice space
to see the various talents on offer,
with various beach inflatables strewn
across the floor, and cushions to
casually prop yourself up as you took
in the music.
Unfortunately, as sometimes happens
with festivals, things didn’t
necessarily go to plan with the acts.
The first casualty of the night turning
out to be BlackJewishGays, who it
was announced had pulled out. Further
on from this the main act for day
one, V/VM, the mad English bad music
manglers, eventually got timed out
from playing, basically because they
didn’t want to perform to the
handful of people in the room at the
time – with most people being
in the main auditorium for yet another
with live drums?
Day two picked up considerably though,
especially based around the two acts
Kapital Band 1, who for me were the
festival's main success music wise
– mixing the beats and sonic
tweekings normally found in the Autechre/Spark
Records category, with live drumming.
One of the few events on the music
stage where the room finished more
crowded at the end of the show, than
at the beginning, which is praise
A close second were the duo of Noriko
Tujiko and Lionel Fernandez. Seen
by many as one of the highlights of
the festival, and so playing to a
packed out room, it was unfortunate
for them, and for us, that the technicians
failed to gauge the levels sufficiently
within the first few songs, making
vocals barely audible for that time.
Once the technical problems had been
dealt with, the music they created
helped to show how these hefty comparisons
had been made. What people failed
to pick up on though, was the fact
that the accompanying music to Tujiko’s
voice was more Atari Teenage Riot
than "Violently Happy";
an interesting combination.
The most varied day came on day three,
with The Vegetable Orchestra, the
highlight performing, with weird tripped
out organic/electronic compositions,
but overall it didn’t match
what went before.
All in all, I left the festival in
two minds as to my opinions; on the
one hand the ideas and effort that
had been put into the festival were
admirable, and there was a genuine
feeling of community and a strong
creative energy flowing through the
whole place, but if you had been enticed
simply for the music I think you would
have been left slightly flat by the
proceedings. More of a celebration
of electronics in general than of
electronic music, but with hopefully
a stronger presence in the music area,
to at least match the attention given
to the digital art side, I feel this
could be a great showcase provider
for acts of the future, and who knows,
maybe even the stars of now.