Well this escalated quickly…
Just over four years ago – March 16, 2013 to be specific – Liquicity hosted their first ever event.
Just under a week ago – July 8-9, 2017 to be specific – Liquicity hosted their first two-day camping festival. It will go down in the drum & bass history books as a straight-up, solid gold, full fat banger of a vintage.
The remarkable rise of how the brand rapidly developed their event game status from small club events to outstanding festivals such as last weekend’s is a story we’ve already told. What’s more impressive is that this year they ran the entire production of the event themselves.
As Liquicity co-owner Maduk explained last time we spoke to him; everything you see on site was arranged, organised and rolled-out by their small in-house team. Every fire extinguisher, every sign, every volley ball court (there were two – one in the festival, one in the campsite), every campsite hot tub, every night cinema screening, every striking stage design such as this year’s awesome psychedelic-looking Solar stage… From the ball pit to the acoustic drum & bass covers by the campfire at night, every little detail and decision felt wholly DIY, from the heart (for want of a better cliché) and for all the right reasons.
As a result, all the ingredients for an exceptional festival were present and correct…
No aggro, no rudeness, no idiots. Just a genuinely open and friendly crowd who love their drum & bass and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else on the planet than sharing that field with you and five thousand fellow kindred spirits.
Like the other drum & bass festivals around right now, Liquicity attracts dedicated fans who know their beats and aren’t just passing by or going because it’s cool. You’re instantly in like-minded company and, due to the size of the event, you’d often spot the same people who’ve picked the same DJs to see as you and make new connections. This includes the acts themselves; many of them stayed on site and got involved throughout the weekend and would be spotted in the crowd (like Hybrid Minds cutting shapes to Marky in the Galaxy arena) or on the stage (like Marky going mental for Villem’s Vanguard Project set) Everyone involved seemed to be in the right vibe. Even the security seemed friendly.
The event’s new Noord Scharwoude location, just north of Amsterdam, offered the perfect space for a festival of Liquicity’s size. Everything felt convenient but uncluttered; spacious enough to avoid gnarly clashes between arenas and offer countless shady spots and cosy corners to chill, but small enough to hop between stages in minutes. This is especially important when you’re watching Vanguard Project tear the Lunar stage a new one but your friend has text you that Muzzy has dropped Mr Happy on the Solar stage and your attendance is vital.
The broad, carefully-curated line-up covered a huge cross-section of the drum & bass landscape flexing from Liquicity kings such as Fox Stevenson, T & Sugah, NCT, Rameses B and Feint to acts on the deeper, darker and more classically liquid side such as Alix Perez, Mind Vortex, Lenzman and Nymfo by way of A-list headliners Marky, Sub Focus, Dimension and High Contrast… All bases were covered and, most importantly, appreciated by the crowd. Liquicity has a pedigree in the more vocal, euphoric side of drum & bass but its following, like every good music fan, has a much wider taste and loves the draw the dots and this was reflected in the line-ups and attitude of everyone there.
Tldr: Every DJ played an absolute blinder. Whether they’d played Liquicity many times before or were making their European debut like US acts Flite and Dan Dakota (both of whom smashed it), no DJ we witnessed over the weekend rolled out the standards or just played a typical set. Because of the specialist nature of a drum & bass festival, they know they can draw a little wider than they might do at other events and pull off surprises or experiment a little without losing the crowd. Murdock, for example, was still preparing special edits for the festival just before he took the stage.
We could go on for days about each individual act but honourable mentions have to be made: Hybrid Minds slapping us silly with double drops and switches. Muzzy headlining the Solar stage on the final night with a salvo of raw, techy, unrelenting stinkers. Bensley’s on-point musical transition from afternoon an evening with the perfect balance of vocals and dark, restrained grooves. Whiney & Hugh Hardie’s surprisingly rowdy b2b session of jungle and jump-up classics. Maduk causing a roadblock with his Year Mix Liquicity tradition. Numerous Marcus Intalex tributes came from Marky, Utah Jazz and LSB.
Lenzman, High Contrast, Vanguard Project, Brookes Brothers, Dave Owen and Fox Stevenson all killed it (twice in the cast of Fox who headlined both nights on different stages) NCT and T & Sugar’s keytar-toting rendition of Sleepless will be hard to forget. As for Dimension, he whipped us up so hard one particular partygoer thought climbing the arena scaffolding might be a good idea (it wasn’t)
The silent disco
Silent discos can sometimes feel like an anti-climax after a daytime session of blissful max strength DJism through crisp, well balanced soundsystems. But Liquicity got the balance right with its all-star cast of DJs including Maduk, Fox Stevenson, Feint, Muzzy, NCT, T & Sugah and Champion enjoying a raucous yet silent b2b2b2b2b2b2b until the final stroke of 3am. The hottest ticket on the site after midnight, the Lunar stage was packed with headphone-wielding vibe-chasers eager to squeeze the most from their weekend. And those who couldn’t get headphones simply sat outside and enjoyed hearing everyone singing along.
The icing on the cake. The beautiful summer weather seemed especially poignant as Liquicity have been tested by the elements during many of their previous outdoor events. A hot and dry Liquicity had to happen eventually and they’d prepared for it thoughtfully creating numerous cool shaded areas around the site, providing free sun cream and free tap water.
Finally, shouts to the good people of The Netherlands. The national friendliness, liberal attitude, dry humour, endless plethora of absurdly good producers, ability to cook perfectly crispy chips and proximity to the UK are just some of the many things we’ve always loved about you. But we also need you to know that your national skank is beautiful. No one does drum & bass like The Netherlands and no one dances to it like the Dutch. Light-footed, springy and carefree, when everyone around is literally leaping in the air on every half beat, even the most reserved raver can be persuaded to get a little footloose and freaky… And do so in one of the nicest, safest and friendliest environments a festival can offer. Biggup Liquicity, we’re interested to see how things will escalate in the near future…