Feature

10 Amazing Festivals in September that you might not have heard about.

10 Amazing Festivals in September that you might not have heard about.

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10. Oasis
September 11 – September 13
Fellah Hotel
Marrakech, Morocco

You always want to launch a new festival with a bang, which is exactly what the team behind Oasis have done. The first edition of the Moroccan event takes place at the Fellah Hotel, a resort-style venue located at the foot of the Atlas Mountains in Marrakech. The lineup is stacked with summer-friendly house jocks, almost all of them established international talents, including Michael Mayer, Gerd Janson and Dyed Soundorom. The bill also features rare back-to-back sets from Cassy and tINI and Guy Gerber and Matthew Dear.

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09. Reworks Festival 
September 17 – September 20
Mylos Complex
Thessaloniki, Greece

Reworks holds a special place in the hearts of Greek electronic music fans. It’s the country’s oldest and most famous dance music festival, helmed by a small and dedicated team who have steered it through almost a decade of dire economic times (the festival’s 12th edition will take place amidst a new wave of financial uncertainty). As usual, a selection of big-name house and techno acts are locked in for a multi-day session at the sprawling Mylos Complex. The house sounds will come from the likes of Mano Le Tough, Tale Of Us and Art Department, while Dubfire, Pan-Pot and Modeselektor provide more maximalist vibes.

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08. TodaysArt
September 24 – September 27
The Scheveningen Pier
The Hague, Netherlands

Big stages, flashing lights, hordes of fans, a hundred-odd DJ sets: by and large, music festivals tend to tick a lot of the same boxes. So when TodaysArt says this year “will be marked by a string of unusual experiences,” it’s bound to pique our curiosity. A look at the lineup shows they’re delivering. A bungee-jumping 200-kilo church bell? They’ve got one. A 24-meter-long organ made from industrial pipes and powered by hot air balloon engines? They’ve got one of those, too. As for the festival’s more traditional draw—artists, that is—they’ve got that nicely covered as well, with the likes of Lotic, Ellen Allien, DJ Nigga Fox, Young Marco and others playing on a pier stretching into the sea.

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07. Festival No. 6
September 3 – September 6
Portmeirion
Wales, UK

As impressive as the lineup is for this year’s Festival No. 6, its true star is Portmeirion, the exceptionally pretty Welsh village it calls home. Organisers have developed a cultured, grown-up feel to the festival that suits its whimsical surroundings. In 2015 you’ll be able to visit a luxury spa, dine on Michelin-star cuisine or listen to Irvine Welsh read passages from his latest book. Musically, soothing acts like Belle & Sebastian and Kate Tempest are balanced by a tried-and-tested assortment of DJs like DJ Harvey, Bicep, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Gerd Janson and Andrew Weatherall.

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06. Field Maneuvers
September 4 – September 7
TBA
UK

The world could use more festivals like Field Maneuvers. Now in its third year, this weekender brings together dozens of underground DJs and live acts for an intimate four-day party in the English countryside. Instead of the marquee names that dominate so many summer events, you’ve got headsy favorites like Marcellus Pittmann, The Black Madonna and Freerotation founders Steevio and Suzybee (the biggest names at this one are Panorama Bar residents Nick Höppner and Ryan Elliott and garage luminary MJ Cole). Instead of huge stages and overblown production, you’ve got cozy dance floors with DIY décor. In the end it’s a fairly simple proposition—loads of killer DJs in a friendly, no-frills environment—but one that’s all too rare in dance music.

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05. Sustain-Release
September 11 – September 13
Camp Lakota
Wurtsboro, USA

In its second year at a summer camp in the Catskills, Sustain-Release will bring together one of the best underground lineups you’ll find at any festival in 2015. Hardly anyone on the bill will board an international flight to get there—a sign of just how strong the American scene has become lately. Anthony Parasole, The Black Madonna, Jus-Ed, Veronica Vasicka and Mike Servito head up an all-star cast of DJs, while Young Male, Gunnar Haslam and Interplanetary Prophets (AKA Hieroglyphic Being & Ital) will deliver best-in-class live performances. Kassem Mosse and Paula Temple, European acts who have played on some of the continent’s most enviable lineups, should feel right at home.

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04. Electrosanne
September 1 – September 6
Place De l’Europe
Lausanne, Switzerland

Festivals like to pull out the stops in a milestone year. Lausanne’s Electrosanne is turning ten in 2015, and organisers will celebrate by extending the festival from four days to six. One of Electrosanne’s aims is to book artists who wouldn’t usually make it to Lausanne, a sleepy city on the shore of Lake Geneva. This year’s lineup, which balances party-rockers with a few curveballs, certainly achieves that. Alongside names like Nina Kraviz, Marcel Dettmann and Roman Flügel, you’ve got Mount Kimbie, Dean Blunt and even New York hip-hop don Pete Rock.

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03. Outlook Festival
September 2 – September 8
Fort Punta Christo
Pula, Croatia

The line on Outlook is that it’s a bass music festival. And to be sure, with the likes of Digital Mystikz, Loefah, Zed Bias and Kode9 pushing low-end frequencies through meaty soundsystems, anyone within a dozen miles of Fort Punta Christo might notice their china rattling. But this year’s Outlook is notable for the diversity of its bookings—from Madlib to Moodymann to Seven Davis Jr, it offers plenty of twists and turns beyond the dub-rooted sounds the festival is best known for. Still, there are few better places in Europe, if not the world, to get your insides rattled by dubstep, drum & bass, reggae and beyond.

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02. Decibel
September 23 – September 27
Various Venues
Seattle, USA

T-shirts and tote bags for sale at Seattle’s Pike Place Market jokingly proclaim “Seattle Rain Festival: January 1st–December 31st.” Weather aside, though, Seattle is a wonderful city, home to a small electronic music scene that bursts into life each September for Decibel. The festival brings an increasingly hefty batch of international artists to the Pacific Northwest every year, taking over a range of venues, from sticky-floored grunge haunts to classy theatres. This year’s bill has a solid number of house and techno DJs—Daniel Avery, Marcel Dettmann, Julio Bashmore and The Black Madonna are among the highlights—while UK legends Autechre will cater to fans of more angular sounds.

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01. Labyrinth  
September 19 – September 21
Naeba Greenland
Niigata, Japan

It’s hard to imagine a music event more lovingly done than Labyrinth. Rather than just booking great techno artists, this annual gathering in the mountains of Japan seems committed to elevating techno as an art form, presenting it as flawlessly as possible in an unforgettable natural landscape. Every detail is painstakingly scrutinized, from the running order to the legendary soundsystem to the space-age cables that snake out of the DJ booth (or, more accurately, DJ teepee). And that’s to say nothing of the lineup, a small cast of singular techno and experimental acts (always fewer than 20) who stick around all weekend to hear each other play. (Details on this year’s bill are still under wraps.) Some people get dewy-eyed at the mere mention of the festival, and it’s not hard to see why—once you’ve been to Labyrinth, you’ll look back on it fondly forever.

 

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