Review

Dreambeach Villaricos 2018

155,000 ravers descended onto the Andalusian coast

The sixth edition of Spain’s award winning festival returned to it’s coastal home of Almeria this August. Featuring another diverse and comprehensive electronic line up, to maintain their prominence as one of Spain’s highest regarded spectacles. Over the course of the four day event saw industry figureheads of their respected genres; Richie Hawtin, Solomun, Loco Dice, Jamie Jones and The Martinez Brothers, all performing on Dreambeach’s jaw-dropping seafront stages.

Venue

Set within the small fishing town of Villaricos in Almeria, the four arenas located on the festival site overlook incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea. The sunrise settings during the dying moments of each day added a completely different dynamic. Imagine seeing your favourite artists whilst the sun came up, on a beach at 7am – something which needs to be on your bucket list.

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The large beachfront provided plenty of floor space for the staging, as well as a ferris wheel, merchandise stalls, 6 medium/large sized bars and food vendors. The festival also offers on-site camping for those who want to stay right in the thick of it, or alternatively there’s plenty of low priced neighbouring hotels if you’d rather have a roof over your head.

Food & Drink
The six bars dotted across the site ran a token system for drinks. Once you’d bought your tokens and reusable dreambeach cup, getting a drink couldn’t be easier. Each bar was heavily staffed, with an efficient and orderly system which left the queue time at less than a minute, something other festivals should take note on.

Bar Prices
Soft drinks & water – 1 Token
Wine – 1 Token
Beer – 1 Token
Single spirit- 1 Token
Spirit & mixer – 2 Token

(1 Token = €3)

More than resonable prices for drinks, in line with other major festivals. However food vendors could’ve been more adventurous, with most stalls offering a lot of the same menu (burgers, chips, hot dogs).

Staff
Quick on their feet, serving with a smile and able to understand our awful Spanish – no complaints here. Security were also ever-present ensuring there was no trouble and getting people through the door in a short space of time.

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Crowd
With the festival’s popularity mainly stemming from it’s home country, the majority in attendance resided from Spain. That said, they made us feel right at home and boy do they know how to party. Full of life and energy, the crowds of spaniards danced away until 9am each and every morning, with smiles all round.

 

Production & Sound 

Production
One word – immense. Inside the house & techno Dreams Tent found every piece of lighting equipment you could possibly think of, it was like they’d ransacked Las Vegas. Designed with expert precision by a crack team of technicians, the world class set up featured a 3 piece visual display on stage, with additional screens on the ceiling of the tent (yes, on the ceiling).

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An army of rotating spot/beam lights, 4 mesmerising lasers, strobes, smoke machines, Co2 cannons – you name it, they had it. This is all without mentioning the Brugal Stage, which included all of the above, with the addition of fire jets, and a dazzling firework display.

Sound
Another highlight, two line arrays either side of the stage pumped emphatic sound into the tent, with a further two arrays towards the back of the tent to ensure audio reached all corners of the space.

 

DJ Sets

Patrick Topping b2b Skream
Kicking off our start to the festival on Friday night was a cutting edge back-to-back from Patrick Topping and Skream. A set full of ingenious twists and turns throughout, varying from heavy techno to groovy disco; it had something for everyone. With Dreambeach not being their first b2b performance (nor the last), the two were in perfect tune together, crafting memorable moments for the crowd.

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The euphoric looping vocals of Adam Beyer’s recent collab with Bart Skills titled “Your Mind”, left the entire tent captivated before the thumping techno drop erupted onto the beachfront. Ivan Pica’s “Disco” then added a groovy infusion into the mix, breaking up the set nicely and showing the depth of class between the two creative DJs. A stand out moment came from Skream’s very own recent production named “Poison”. The dark warehouse-esque sound out on Alan Fitzpatrick’s label “We Are The Brave”, carved it’s way through the Dreams Tent, cutting through ravers like butter.

GONÇALO 
The artistic director of Dreambeach, regarded as the heart and soul of the festival, but also as an internationally respected techno artist. Taking over from Maceo Plex was never going to be an easy task, but the man at the helm of Dreambeach had just the tools to keep us going through to the next morning.

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Driving the crowd on with a dose of mind-bending basslines, Jay Lumen’s 2018 release “The One” set the tone of his set. The dark, gloomy build up dropping into a heavy rolling finish. Further in saw a melodic eery interlude from “Mortalis” by Klangkuenstler shifting the pace down a gear, in anticipation for the fist-pumping drop which blasted through the sound system, sending shivers down our spine.

Amelie Lens
Following on from Gonçalo was Belgium’s techno queen; Amelie Lens. Taking the reigns at 07:30am would seem a daunting task to most, but for Amelie this was just another day in the office. Instantly cranking up the pace and opening her set with the high-octane techno she’s become known for, injecting a shot of adrenaline into the fatiguing crowd.

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 The quick tempo “Psychological” by Frank Biazzi fired through the speakers, sending the crowd into an energy fuelled frenzy. Shortly after, Moerbeck’s recent release “Brain Hack” left us feeling like the gates of hell had been opened. The spine-tingling track playing with our minds before leading into another hard-hitting techno drop. Closing the set saw a soon to be released track on Amelie’s very own label; LENSKE. “No Relation” by Milo Spykers adding the icing on the cake to round off an emphatic performance.

Jamie Jones
Fast forward to the closing set on the festival’s final night, and the groove general himself; Jamie Jones is in charge of shutting down Dreambeach. The Paradise captain is no stranger to an early finish and knew exactly how to keep the crowd locked to the dancefloor until 9am.

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Spinning a spicy selection of tracks from the world’s most wanted usb stick, the acid tones of “Sleep” by Cramp immediately caught our attention and switched up the mood as the day brightened. Further in brought another shift in pace, with a new rework of DJ Sly’s “When I Was A Child”, adding some groovy percussion to the performance. Closing the set and the festival, saw JJ draw on one of his signature remixes. His vault mix of Cajmere’s “Percolator” was instantly recognised by the crowd with a huge cheer, as the iconic vocals bellowed through the Dreams Tent to mark the curtain call of Dreambeach.

 

Overall

Dreambeach Villaricos once again has proved just why it’s one of the top electronic music festivals. If you’re looking for a multi genre festival with guaranteed sunshine and beachfront settings, this is definitely one for you. Without even mentioning the mind-blowing production & sound, ridiculously good line ups and more than affordable price tag. For future years we’d love to see the festival grow even further, adding additional stages and scale to attract ravers from all over the globe. Muchas Gracias Dreambeach! 8.5/10

 

 

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