AVA Festival Is An Essential Part Of The Irish Electronic Music Community
The biggest event in Belfast’s dance music calendar is almost upon us. The rise and rise of AVA Festival has been astronomical. What began as a humble, grass roots one dayer has quickly evolved into something of global proportions. Warm up parties have been carried out across the UK, a monthly Rinse FM slot is presided over by festival founder Sarah McBriar and Irish journalist Seamas O’Reilly and the festival itself – year after year – continues to get bigger and better.
It’s refreshing to see an Irish festival concept so discontent with providing the same experience as its previous edition. Fresh art installations, mammoth builds and an ever evolving line up have all contributed to a festival that continues to challenge the status quo of musical experience in Ireland - inviting local and international acts from a sea of different sub genres to soundtrack a sun soaked Belfast.
An integral and essential part of the Irish electronic music community - this year’s line up might just be the best yet. These are the acts you definitely don’t want to miss.
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The last time I saw Call Super play in Belfast was alongside Hessle Audio’s Pearson Sound in The Bunatee – a legendary, low ceiling venue that is sadly no longer with us, and not just because he blew the roof off it that night.
His back catalogue speaks for itself - with sublime releases on Houndstooth and most recently on Shanti Celeste’s Peach Discs imprint – and his DJ sets are something of an education in the art of selecting; jumping between a range of different musical styles with complete precision.
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Carlton Doom is something of a local legend in Belfast. Under his real name (Chris Hanna) and previous moniker OneKnown he has put out a range of future facing garage, bass and breakbeat that shows just how ahead of the local curve he is. As Carlton Doom he has enjoyed a handful of releases on labels such as Deep Sea Frequency and Hotflush, bringing with it a much deserved spotlight.
Here he makes his Boiler Room debut, and if previous local BR’s have told us anything, they’re particularly rowdy, passionate affairs. Expect more of the same here from one of the city’s most beloved.
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Courtesy played Belfast a few months ago – for the Twitch crew – and people still talk about that party. It was one of the most energetic and riotous experiences I’ve ever had in the rave and I can’t wait for more of the same when the Danish artist takes to the stage this weekend.
Credited with splashing a largely grey techno scene with colour; Courtesy’s Kulør imprint has the electronic music worlds gaze fixed firmly on the trance inspired, dizzying BPM techno compositions currently flourishing within contemporary Copenhagen. Expect electro, techno and lots of yeo’s.
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Spanish artist Silvia Jiménez Alvarez was a pleasant surprise to see on the AVA Festival line up. Her DJ sets have won her plaudits from fans and critics alike worldwide for her experimental and adventurous blend of DIY techno, EBM and relentless industrial.
This year’s line up has seen more experimental artists and DJs come to the forefront. Belfast, a city soaked in house and techno tradition, is evolving. The soundscape is changing and AVA is at the forefront of a war against what is expected – locally - from dance music.
We can promise that JASSS’s set will be like nothing else you see this weekend.
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Another Boiler Room, another local legend! An avid record collector and genuine music enthusiast, Marion has become a firm favourite of the local scene through her work with GIRL (alongside Venus Dupree) and local queer friendly night Ponyhawke. By day you can find her working at Belfast’s newest record store – Voodoo Soup Records – and by night you can catch her dishing out an eclectic selection of B-side oddities and dancefloor heaters.
Local hero, Boiler Room, lots of energy, a proud as punch crowd... Are you starting to get the picture?
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Mount Palomar’s route to dance music has been one with many obstacles, which just makes his meteoric rise all the more absorbing. His analogue hardware has graced Panorama Bar, Printworks and AVA in the past, and he is one of only two live acts at this year’s festival.
The Belfast artist is a breath of fresh air within the local scene. He sounds like nothing else around at the moment, and with a spanking new live set just written for his Boiler Room debut, prepare yourself for plenty of [until now] unheard Mount Palomar material.
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The second of those live acts is Dublin producer R.Kitt. Here, we truly have someone in it for the love of it.
The artists work with Give Us The Night (alongside fellow Irishman Sunil Sharpe) has been instrumental in inspiring change, progression and discontent with the current state of Irish club culture, and his live sets act as a symbolic gesture of that passion. It’s always a great party when R.Kitt gets his synths out. This one is going to be special.
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Belfast born, London based artist Swoose has been around since day one when it comes to AVA Festival. No one can read the Belfast crowd better – it’s in his blood.
With a few self released EP’s coming out soon (which are sounding great, by the way) you may get the opportunity to hear him testing out some of his unreleased material. You won’t stop smiling, trust me.
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Willow’s sound is difficult to define, and that’s why it’s so great. The Manchester producer’s sets can float in and out of broken minimalism, left field leaning house and bass, and her Workshop release ‘Feel Me’ is something of a contemporary masterpiece.
Having played some of the best festival and clubs in the world (Houghton, De School, OFF Sonar), and years of honing her craft through collecting records in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, expect a vibrant and mysterious journey through the unexpected.
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AVA Festival runs between May 31st - June 1st - ticket LINK.
Words: Andrew Moore
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