Rampage Open Air : Debrief

It was their very first festival and this one was well expected ! With that reputation, high standards were set. After 6 years of devastating the Sportpaleis, Rampage decided to cook a brand new formula, so let’s discover or remember the Open Air edition on 26th and 27th of last July !

 

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FIRST STEPS INTO THE FESTIVAL

About 2 or 3pm, Green Motion shuttles arrives on the site. Backpacks and tents on, we finally arrive to the festival entry under a massive summer heat. We waited only a few minutes to get our accreditations and to go in. Well done. From now on, let’s get comfortable under the giant windmills of Lommel. We are now ready to enjoy.

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Waiting Times

Two opinions were given, those ones who came in the middle of the afternoon were inside a never-ending queue, but this wasn’t enough to cut the attendants enthusiasm. For the “late” ones who arrive around 6pm, they have the luck to not wait at all, bracelets givings and checks are fluid, and more or less fast : like in every festival habits.

One bad thing : those who came the earliest, as Sacha noticed that there was only one watering place in the entire festival (both stages area and camping) and the bottles cost 4 euros… Under a stifling heat (around 37C), here’s the festival’s answer : “We have the necessary help if there is a problem”. But in the end, we never waited more than 5 minutes at each point of the festival during these two days. Hats off !

 

Our first impressions : as the festival is pretty small, everything is easily accessible. There is no need to walk many kilometers to reach a point or another one. Less than a few minutes left before entering the real area. It’s not so big, we have on the right the small marquee, called the Fury Stage, more dedicated to Drum’n’Bass, on the left we have the Fury Stage for the Dubstep and the Main Stage at the bottom. Now we are down to see the first set that we wanted to : Da Force.

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So we’re on the Frenzy Stage : this one is massive, with metal frames and LED screens on rhombuses. Our first impression was that it is quite original ! We feel like we are in a warehouse, where the entry is at the bottom and with gaps, allowing the air to circulate (also the rain, but with the general heat inside, it’s quiet a benediction).

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After this first this great start we are now going to the Fury Stage, the dome-shaped main stage. The visuals are far from disappointing. Lazers in abundance, a whole light system vertically positioned, with the big Rampage logo in the middle, overlooking the DJ. Not the best visuals ever seen but our eyes are satisfied though. Concerning our ears, it’s the Distress Signal crew in the place. A very rhytmic set offered by Kanine, K Motionz, Simula and IC3, with fatty and stridulent Jump Up then some hits like “Hakers” by Metrik. Good and efficient !

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We are back on the Frenzy Stage to see our frenchies Ecraze & Graphyt dropping some mad plates at the very beginning of their massive set. We could hear the rails with the same flow as the played tracks, even more during “Mega Punch VIP” by Calcium. We had a little big surprise at the end of the show with the presence of Ivory ! So the atmosphere was definitely here. Then we witnessed a whole savage and killing set from the Savage Society members, we can say that they completely fit their name.

The rain stops around 9pm, so we decide to have a little walk around the festival. It’s with pleasure that we observe all the covered infrastructures, from bars to chill zones, we are perfectly protected from the rain !

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After some skate sessions and eating burgers (not so good ones), we go back to the Fury Stage with AMC & Turno, dropping a psyched up set. From Dancefloor hits double-dropped with Jump Up classics, this is how we can sum this performance up from these two Brits, and now we are going to the Fury Stage until the closure of this first night.

“I was sitting to the tables next to the skate ramps while smoking, and then I saw a board flying over to finally hit a guy’s shoulder, eating his pasta. It was quite funny, but far from safe !” Marine

Dubstep session

Two legends of Dubstep are playing since 20 minutes when we arrive on the Frenzy Stage. Emalkay B2B Subscape. It has been a while since we heard such a set ! Big heavy dubstep like old times… What a moment !

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Afterwards, it was time for the big SVDDEN DEATH to put the stage on fire. After his memoring closing set at Animalz, he was one of the most expected artists of the festival. The american DJ didn’t disappoint, with one hour of his own productions and VIPs. After only 5 minutes on stage, the crowd was headbanging altogether, making everything tremble.

“He knows exactly what to do and where to touch to make us cum” Anonym in the crowd

 

It’s time for another crazy B2B starring 12th Planet and Doctor P. Big productions and bangers, classic recipe for their set, which wasn’t really original but still satisfying. Jump-up and Neuro at the end were appreciated, and made everyone skank. It is a “YES” granted !

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It’s time for Virtual Riot to take control of CDJs and he opens with a remix of Skrillex and Nero, famous “Promises” that we all sang. The rest of the set was melodic, in the vibe of his last mix.

STEP TWO

For once in a festival, we were glad the clouds kept the sun from burning us in our tents! So we woke up after a great night of sleep, ready for the war awaiting.

“The camping zone was a bit disappointing when we discovered it : volunteers have to place us depending on available spots, so it’s quite complicated to be next to our friends who came earlier. Also, tents are on top of each other, but at least it’s friendly !” Léa

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But before that, we needed to get prepared : hot invigorating shower, little breakfast (easiest for those who thought of bringing food on the camp), and a visit to the camping stage (exclusively jump-up and riddim). We let ourselves sit in our chairs, listening to our favorite songs of the moment (we might quote “Solar System” de Sub Focus) while smoking.

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At 3pm, it’s time to stop resting and start moving.  Let’s go for a second day in Rampage Open Air. We went to the Fury Stage see Mollie Collins, a young british crazy about Jump-Up. After a few minutes, we were glad for one thing : NO REWIND ! And she ended her set pretty well.

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For once, we stayed at the Fury Stage for  a second set in a row, Francky Nuts b2b NCT. And apparently we weren’t the only ones, because the crowd grew bigger during their performance mixing Melodic Brostep, and Jump-Up. It was kind of a surprise for us, but a working recipe knowing how much Belgians love Jump-Up. Franky Nuts’s track “All I Want” made everyone danse – what could we say, it’s one of his classics.

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On the Frenzy Stage, Chime is opening with an old Brostep, euphoric and melodic, with lyrics such as found in Liquid DnB.

Back to Fury Stage with Pegboard Nerds, whom is absent from the French Stage theses days, and he comes back with a Brostep set. First time since the track got released, we heard “Lost Souls” – Knife Party. Magic ! Graphics and light show were impressive, and made us remember Rampage Indoor’s.

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The duo gave way to Metrik which throw a well-calibrated set, as always, full of novelties and bangers. In his tracklist we heard his today iconic « Hackers » , the very promising « Solar System » by Sub Focus or « Neighborhood » by Culture Shock. Every time Metrik undeniably proved us he deserves his place among the Drum’n’Bass Dancefloor’s finest djs/producers. But our program led us to other stages as dubstep heavyweights were playing.

Figure B2B Midnight Tyrannosaurus. We clearly got hit with what we wanted. Drop on drop, each one more violent than the other, the two americans gave us what they know how to do best. From the Heavily distorted high end of Figure to the low growly of Midnight, the cocktail was one of a kind. Certainly the most epic B2B of the festival. They also gave us the wonderful “Don’t stop me now” from Queen ! The entire crowd singing their hearts out  made this a moment that will stay engraved in ours.

Last Times

It’s time for Current Value to check in the Frenzy Stage. Bad news : no CVAV 2.0! But no worries, the German DJ makes us travel in his mix with screeches and metallic sounds. It’s hard not to imagine a printed circuit overloading when listening to his peculiar music. Cult track “That Smile” drops like a bomb in the dark mood he set before, and the lightshow is following right behind! Texan DJ Riot Ten is next with a traditional Dubstep set, but with tracks that still made us dance, like his excellent “Mosh Pit” produced by Sullivan King and remixed by Badklaat.

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 It’s now time for one of the most awaited sets of the festival. Dirtyphonics. And it’s not just any set for them, since it’s the first time they present their own light show. The two Frenchmans slayed it, just as usual, by  switching from dubstep to Drum’n Bass. Two genres that they like to mash. As promised, we get to see crazy visuals, and a really good lightshow. For us, the best show of the festival, no doubt.

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What about the lights ?

We raised this question in our article about Rampage : How will the outdoors Lightshow be since it’s a huge part of what makes the Indoors version so famous ? Obviously, the movable ceiling of the sportpaleis wasn’t part of the show, but they still brought up quality stuff since the visuals on the mainstage were quite impressive, especially during Pegboard Nerds and Dirtyphonics. The huge LEDs panels still seemed more fit to the situation than the ones they used for the Indoors last March.

The end of Rampage is in air as we go and see Feed Me. Disappointed by his set, which mainly was soporific techno and electro house, we’ve waited for Matrix and FutureBound to beautifully end this festival. Powerful Dancefloor set, with accurate technicity. All we love. All of the 20-30’s lasers fired for one last time, at our biggest convenience. During this time, Phaseone and Barely Alive were destroying the Frenzy Stage, for one last slaughter.

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This first Open Air edition is a win for Rampage. Great organisation as always, but moreover, artists who provided dementious sets! Rampage’s reputation seems to have gained over the years and events at Antwerp are confirmed, little technicalities apart. We’re confident they’ll fix them, it’s not easy to do perfect for a first. We left the festival smiling and happy, before coming back to France. Thank you Rampage !

 

Photo credits : B2Photography – dluxfotografie

Bass is life, Bass for life

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