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Picture yourself on a nearly deserted forest path. Sun rays and smoke clouds mingle, forming a fairytale landscape that seems to belong to a Rembrandt rather than an electronic music festival. The sound of a distant base emerges and the butterflies seem to fly as freely in your stomach as they do on the surrounding field. And that’s only the bike ride there. Welcome to this year’s edition of Dekmantel.

The festival itself was nothing short of fairytale-like either. Different factors helped make this possible. The idyllic backdrop, optimistic crowd and abundance of smoke machines were a big help. Bigger praise should go to Dekmantel’s immaculate organisation, from visitor’s experiences to stage management, everything seemed to go fluently. But what really makes a festival unforgettable are its acts. We take a look at the best artists that made this years edition such a success.

Dr Rubinstein
“We thought we better get you some real professional assistance tonight”, the familiar voice of Boiler Rooms’ director announced as Dr Rubinstein stepped up to close the stage on Friday. What followed was an hour of unquestionably professional and relentless techno and acid. Members of the crowd were already starting to feel their first muscle ache after a full day of dancing, but that didn’t matter. Dr Rubinstein managed to keep the energy at a level resembling her set’s BPM. We wouldn’t have expected it any other way.

The crowd lazily started trickling in on Saturday morning. But the sleepy atmosphere wouldn’t last for long as the first melodic notes sounded from the Ufo II stage. Afrodeutsche took the crowd on a musical journey as she moved between acid, techno, house, breakbeats, organ-like synths and even played a smooth reggae tune that allowed the exhausted dancers to catch a breath. Complimented by playful sound effects and her honest facial expressions, this act resulted in the most enthusiastic dance moves.
She took her skills a step further during her Boiler Room set later that day, where she invited the audience to join a game of musical statues. With her melodic track choices, intricate sound manipulation and sharp perception of the crowd, Afrodeutsche proves that she cannot only orchestrate her music but an entire audience as well.

Ahmed Fakroun
The elegant Raï singer and pioneer of Arabic funk provided a perfect example of the wide range of Dekmantel’s lineup. He didn’t look out of place on the stage of the sun-drenched, succulent-filled greenhouse, accompanied by a complete band. The audience members danced along, hands waving in the air and a smile from ear to ear. Closing with the hit Gelty, Ahmed Fakroun managed to break language barriers and get the entire crowd singing along.


Although she is still somewhat of a newcomer to the international stage, Carista is no stranger to Dekmantel. This year, she was set to play Sunday’s MainStage, an obvious choice considering her talent, however one that slightly worried those familiar with her intimate sound. Would the vast, distant stage compromise her infectious presence or smooth adaptability to the crowd? The answer is no. Carista managed to captivate and entice the enormous crowd with a danceable set drenched in house and disco bangers, resulting in a unified sea of moving bodies and smiles. To complete the humbling and intimate experience, Carista was joined on stage by her mother.

Yu Su

Another newcomer wowing her way into our hearts is Vancouver-based Yu Su. So far, she’s only made a few appearances in Europe and, as a result, both her acts at Dekmantel became an unexpected delight to many members of the audience. Her set at the Red Light Radio stage can only be described as a smooth yet surprising world journey. Like an experienced guide, she took dancers through a variety of unexplored songs, from ambient to jazz, Italo-disco, future bass, acid, techno and house, finally bringing them back home with the crowdpleaser Baiana.


Tzusing’s closing set at a dark and smokey greenhouse was an emotional rollercoaster. Tired bodies worked hard to bust out some final dance moves and the euphoria of dancing to really good music collided with a hint of sadness because soon it would all be over. Tzusing’s set was the perfect score for this complicated mood. Jumping from eighty to a hundred and thirty BPM in a matter of minutes as industrial techno, breakbeat, Italo-disco and K-pop all came together in one final act.

Marjolijn Oostermeijer
Bart Heemskerk & Yannick van de Wijngaert

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