Alfa Future People
Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Okay, we’ve all seen that behemoth of a main stage, but how is this any different from an Ultra or EDC? Russia’s Alfa Future People Festival is the country’s biggest electronic music event, but it’s so much more than just music. Touting themselves as the festival of the future, AFP brings together the world’s most innovative technologies to showcase alongside sounds of electronic dance music. Patrons are invited to have conversations with robots, try on tech-fashion, test the newest in transportation, and discover gadgets ahead of their release. Alfa Future’s lineup this year included Fedde Le Grand, Deadmau5, Nero, Netsky, Steve Angello, and plenty more. Scope their website for more information about becoming one of the Alfa Future People.
Though it’s only for a day and night, Medellín’s Freedom Festival is everything that’s right with electronic dance music’s culture. Started in 2008 to promote peace and unity in a city stricken by fear and violence, Freedom Festival has grown to an attendance well over 5,000 and seen a steady rise in production. Organized by MedellinStyle, the event centers predominantly around techno, and has hosted international legends of the underground such as Heartthrob, Secret Cinema, Mr. G, Paco Osuna, Paul Ritch, and more.
The only place where you can rave inside a glacier, Iceland’s Secret Solstice has rapidly asserted itself as Europe’s festival destination. Nestled in Reykjavík and placed against the jaw-dropping scenery of Iceland’s renown landscapes, Secret Solstice packs the gamut of experiences. Apart from partying inside Europe’s second largest glacier, there’s also Midnight Sun, their boat party that chases the sun into the Atlantic Ocean after sunset, and you can even jam out in a volcano-powered geothermal pool. They’ve carefully considered travel arrangements to make the journey simple, and for their third iteration, Secret Solstice has curated a stacked billing featuring Jamie Jones, Deftones, Darius Syrossian, Maxxi Soundsystem, Skream, along with loads of others acts.
Widely considered to be Burning Man’s little brother, Symbiosis Gathering is an oasis of vibrant expression and creative education. Now in its 10th year, Symbiosis consistently snags a heavy lineup, with GRiZ, Four Tet, Nicholas Jaar, and Max Cooper, among the talent this year. However, music is more so the twine that ties the gathering’s many workshops, speakers, and explorable installations together. Embodying its name quite literally, the central theme for Symbiosis is the merging and interaction between humans and the elements. Just as with other transformational festivals, the happenings here are certain to warm your heart and change your perspective even if only for a weekend.
La Jolla Indian Reservation, CA
Southern California’s secret delight, Serenity Gathering certainly wasn’t the best festival of our year, but it might have left the biggest impact. If you had to choose one camping festival a year, like some of us did, then you might want to make it Serenity. Out of chaos and confusion blossomed a sense of community that can only be created when you have a group of people geared toward a common interest, and Serenity had that and more. Nestled in the La Jolla Indian Reservation of Southern California, it provided the perfect setting for one of the most eye-opening festivals of the year.
Moapa Indian Reservation, NV
Born from the minds behind Burning Man’s famous Robot Heart art car, 2015 marked the debut of Further Future. Despite some organizational hiccups, including a dispute over use of the Robot Heart Camp for branding, and a commercial permit denial, the event persevered to deliver an entirely different experience. Delving into an “apocalyptic-industrial” aesthetic, the production value was top, with the Booba Cosmica absolutely slaying minds. Forward-thinking speakers were everything attendees had dreamed of, and on top of the surreal environment was a noteworthy lineup with acts like Com Truise, Bob Moses, Damian Lazarus, Hundred Waters, Thugfucker, and Rhye. While there’s certainly an air of exclusivity to the event (you have to be invited through Facebook to even buy a ticket), and this year was severely lacking attendance, there were elements of brilliance, and the future looks hopeful.