Reckonmendations: Into The Valley
After a dramatic build up, the confirmations were made, plane tickets booked, the countdown began. Not only to our first time at Into The Valley, but also the first time in Sweden. There was a lot to look forward to.
Spanning across two days, the second episode of the Into The Valley festival saw 6000 eager festival-goers flock to the Swedish countryside to take part in the now annual event. The artists were cherry picked from a veritable who's who of techno, brought together in the unexpectedly picturesque location of Dalhalla, a former limestone quarry with a turquoise lake. The venue had its tranquility seriously jeopardised as the stomping, swaying crowd was entertained by the capable selection of entertainers.
Previous uses for this space include Opera and Theatre, with Into The Valley set as the first time an electronic music festival has been held at the venue. The acoustics aren’t bad either, with dancers being encapsulated in sound as the beats get trapped inside the mines' steep walls. In fact, Dalhalla ranks among the top 10 outdoor concert venues in Europe. The hunt for unique party spots is fierce as festival organizers look to set themselves apart from the plethora of summertime options for music festivals. However the crew at Into The Valley have done just that, setting a dramatic stage upon which the weekend could play out its celebration of quality music and cheerful vibes.
The ring of trees around the edges of the mine hinted at the surrounding forests, a reminder at the edge of your thoughts that nature surrounds you as you dance to the man-made electronic sounds. It was a nice feeling to go back to the wooded campground when the music paused for a breather. Organisation is key for an event tucked away in the countryside, and Into the Valley catered for the majority of logistical aspects well. Make sure to prepare yourself for all types of weather, as Swedish summer is fresh and can be unpredictable. Campsites were available with cardboard tents and mattresses for sale, or for early bookings accommodation in nearby hotels & lodges. Travelling to the festival from Stockholm was relatively simple, with options for bus, car, or even Techno Transit (highly recommended!).
The quality of the musical selection was key to the atmosphere of the close-knit environment, and knowing that any musical dissonance would be picked up immediately, the bookings had to be solid. The lineup was stacked (see below) and featured a commendably high ratio of female to male djs (unusual in a notoriously male dominated industry) including Bella Sarris, tINI, Johanna Schneider, & Nina Kraviz. This year’s edition also included the Opening Party on Thursday (teasing the possibility of an added day in 2017, perhaps?) and the festival itself consisted of 3 stages: The Theatre, The Temple, & The Pyramid. Music ran from 12pm through to 2:30 am both Friday & Saturday. Alongside the stages there were an array of food trucks, vendors & art installations to round out the ambiance. Highlights included the first ever B2B with Sonja Moonear & Raresh followed by a 4 hour Ricardo Villalobos/Zip collaboration to conclude the night. Our legs felt the burn, bouncing between the stages to catch all the acts felt like a never-ending stair climbing adventure (that was nonetheless rewarding).
Smiles were plentiful, the atmosphere bubbling and floating on the vibrations coming from speakers. The sights of the festival organizers have been set high with the lofty ambition to be listed among the top music events in Europe. It’s no small feat, however if this year’s event is anything to go by, they’ll be ranked among the heavy-hitters in no time. The journey home was hazy (to say the least) but for our first foray into the Swedish techno scene, it was nonetheless impressive on all fronts. Particularly fantastic was the artist selection & stellar venue. We felt a happy sense of satisfaction, from the moment the music stopped, all the way to Stockholm and eventually back on a flight to Barcelona. No doubt this festival is only getting bigger and better - and we can't wait to see what's next.
If there’s any doubt left in your mind about whether to attend Into The Valley next year, I’ll leave you with the 2016 after movie below shot by Geschikte Gasten. Kudos for excellently capturing the vibe, the people, the music, and the reasons why you should already mark the dates for 2017.
-words by Kayla Squelch