And better it was! Often referred to as Dekmantel’s little sibling, Lente Kabinet has flourished into a well-established destination for unexpected electronic music. Equipped with four stages and a playful art program, this year’s edition drew out about 15,000 visitors. Those visitors might have come for the whirlwind lineup (well-established acts like Eris Drew and Cinnaman sound alongside new talent like Charmaine and Passion Deez — more on those later), but they stayed for Lente Kabinet’s inviting and intimate charm. Backed by a sharp organisation, lines were always short, drinking water was always freely accessible, the banana splits were delicious and the sound system’s volume seemed to be exactly right. “It’s one of the better festivals to work, the vibes are good” a freelance stage manager mused. Coincidentally, an iPhone field note from Saturday mysteriously read: “No words, just good vibes.”
Saturday’s main stage, or Eerste Kamer, was similarly inviting and accessibly danceable. Here, you could hear celebs like Suze Ijó and Skatebârd, the latter recharging tired dancers with his usual brand of violent Italo disco — 1987’s Mata Hari anyone? New was the Patta Soundsystem stage, courtesy of the local phenomenon’s musical side. Patta may strike you like an innately cool sneaker and streetwear label. But it’s mostly a community — a family, even. This intimate spirit reverberated through the stage. Programmed with love for all, crowds enjoyed an energising and surprising range of acts.
Charmaine warmed up even the stiffest of dancers with a set that was silky smooth and deliciously rhythmic. Later on in the evening, Passion Deez served some utter musical chaos that somehow made perfect sense. What do you do when you hear anarchic jungle, ravy garage, cheering audiences and Beyoncé’s Halo all at the same time? You dance, of course. Over at the elbow-to-elbow tent known as the Tweede Kamer, Eris Drew closed down the festival for that night. Sharp breakbeats mingled with ecstatic disco synths, smoke from the smoke machines and condensation from the hundreds of sweaty bodies. To be fair, from a legend like Eris Drew, you’d expect nothing less.