We Asked 7 DJs At Amsterdam Dance Event About The Future Of Festivals

Article by: Marcus Barnes|@mgoldenbarnes

Fri October 28, 2016 | 00:00 AM

The festival market has exploded over the last decade. In a very short space of time, we've witnessed a huge increase in the numbers of music festivals – especially within the electronic music scene. Styles of music previously confined to club spaces have been placed on the big stage and are owning it. From Tomorrowland to Electric Daisy Carnival, Eastern Electrics to WeAreFSTVL and many more in between, the festival industry continues to grow. But where is it all heading? While at Amsterdam Dance Event this past week, we asked some of the world's best-known DJs to give us their opinion.


"I think the future of festivals will be completely fucked if big corporations buy them and fuck them. If there’s no one in it doing from their heart and soul, and it’s all about money, then it’s just not going to be special. It will just end up with lots of nice festivals for a few years then no one will go to them anymore. The same thing happened with EDM parties, they’re not so big in Ibiza anymore. Then you look at the success of Marco Carola’s party or Solomun’s party, people that come from stronger foundations and have worked for years to build it up… they’re always going to last longer. Today’s culture is; you build something and sell it for as much as you can get, that’s also happening with festivals and that’s detrimental."


"Hopefully more smaller, intimate-type festivals like Lost Village that bring something different to the table in terms of experience and lineups. Don’t get me wrong, most of the top festivals are successful for a reason but there’s definitely a new breed of smaller ones in particular that seem to be taking risks in terms of production and who they’re booking. I think if you’ve got a captive audience for three days then why not introduce them to a broader range of things? I’m also very keen to see new advances on toilets, hygiene and luxury sleeping arrangements as I’m fucking shit at tents…"


"I think that music festivals, in the near future, will expand and grow even more. There will be a turning point I think, but I don't see that coming soon... The bigger festivals and brands will go further afield and explore unknown territories – from their point of view – as their audience is always searching for new experiences. People will become even more mobile, traveling more as plane tickets get cheaper every year. Festivals in Africa or in the Maldives won't be unusual. In Europe you see a lot of festivals that last for a week or more; a combination of a holiday and raving. I think this will happen more and more often globally and I like that!"

Gardens of God

"Festivals are a big part of music and electronic music now and, I believe, for the foreseeable future. They will never replace the atmosphere of a club but I think they can work alongside each other. The danger is if we all focus too much on the festivals and not enough on the clubs, which create the next wave of artists for the festival stage."

Dave Clarke

"Festivals need to be bold, they shouldn’t have the same lineups all the time. The trouble is, with a lot of festivals in the UK in particular, is that they’re funded by venture capitalists – their main priority is to get their money back and make a profit. So it’s like ‘let’s see what works and replicate what works’, so there’s no investment in talent. Any venture capitalist festival is not going to do the scene any good in the long term. It might be good for a couple of years but it won’t last. What I like about places like Tomorrowland is that it’s ostensibly an EDM festival but they give me full ability to choose a lineup that I like and support me with that. They don’t have to do that, but they want to. They’re music lovers deep down. I think the festival industry needs to be run top-down by music lovers and not have the same fucking names all the time because it’s going to kill the scene. If they do have the same names all the time, at least have a smaller tent where they support new, up-and-coming talent. They should also ban 'pay to play,' it’s a little known thing but some DJs, who might have earned money elsewhere, can actually pay to play at festivals and get a foothold that way, which is a bad thing."

Eric Volta

"My choice festivals are events like Sonar, Moogfest … I like tech conferences. It’s electronic music so, like we have here at ADE, there are talks and lots of events to do with tech and the industry during the day, with parties at night. I think that’s a great way to do it; knowledge during the day, party at night. With a lot of festivals it just feels like someone’s trying to sell me stuff, which I really don’t like. I try to choose where I play carefully, places like Garbicz Festival and Fusion seem to have the right idea. Fusion in particular they’re really not trying to sell you anything at all, it’s very hedonistic, there’s no security and guess what?... Everyone’s behaving fine. I wish they had that at Burning Man, no cops, because it creates a bit of paranoia there. So, a combination of education, hedonism, and parties minus all the ‘sell, sell, sell’ is where I would like to see festivals going."


"I can’t see any huge, game-changing developments on the horizon, just more social media and mobile integration; 'Share this post', 'tag your friends' etc... I dream of more diverse line-ups, longer set times and louder, clearer sound systems but I don't expect these things to happen overnight. Festivals are all about good music and shared experiences with both close friends and the crowd as a whole. As long as these things remain, then the basic festival format that we know so well will remain largely intact."