10 days to go until Outlook Festival 2015 properly kicks off, and we’re stupid excited. It’s the Mecca of soundsystem culture, and it’s been almost 3 years since we last made the pilgrimage. But we’ve been plotting our return the whole time. Since we can’t start packing quite yet, here’s what we’re really looking forward to the most.
They’re the heart and soul of Outlook, and what really distinguishes it from other music festivals. Every stage has a world class rig that would blow away nearly anything you’ve heard in NYC (except Tsunami Bass, they could hang). Some of the smaller systems there (not pictured above) are roughly equivalent to the main room at Output. No matter where you go there, you’ll be getting that fully submerged, body/mind/soul bass experience.
Duh. Definitely the best way to see an artist I love. You’re in a super intimate venue with the Adriatic sun and sea as backdrop. Once you leave dock, there’s no turning back (and definitely no swimming ashore!) so the whole crowd is 100% committed. Oh and the boat soundsystems? They don’t skimp. Here’s the full arsenal this year (to be split between 3 boats):
Catch us on the 20/20 Boat Thursday (Ivy Lab, Fracture, Jon Phonics), Archetype Boat on Friday with Amy Becker, NYC’s own Doctor Jeep (!!!), The Heatwave and Benton, and of course the Deep Medi Boat on Saturday.
There’s a lot to be said for the whole castle setting of Outlook, but that’s another post. This is probably my favorite venue in the world. First, it is in fact a moat; a massive trench dug 30+ feet into the earth, reinforced with sloping stone walls. Here’s a clear picture of it in the daytime. But fill it with ravers, a lethal soundsystem and lights, and it becomes an apocalyptic wind tunnel of bass. It’s like something out of a sci fi fever dream.
The Moat is hosting some of the more hardcore-leaning sounds of the festival – Renegade Hardware, Tectonic, Swamp81 and Critical Sound. Personally, we’ll be in there for the Tectonic takeover most of Saturday night.
One of the biggest draws for us as American citizens – finally getting to see all the amazing artists we’ve been listening to but somehow never get to New York! Even better, it’s with a crowd that knows and loves the music.
Full DMZ voltron (Mala, Coki, Pokes and Loe)
Finally, the thing that’s the most wonderful, but also the hardest to describe about Outlook is getting immersed in sound system culture. Out there, you can traverse the entire hardcore continuum in one night; going from roots dub to dubstep to 2 step to grime to jungle to halftime to hip hop. Hearing sleng teng 100 different ways and the amen break 1000. Finally seeing artists that you’ve only ever heard sampled – like the last time we were there, hearing Max Romeo actually Chasing the Devil to outer space.
If you’re passionate about this music, then on some level you recognize that it’s part of a something larger – a fabric of history, culture and struggle that is still being created. That can be a tricky thing to articulate, but at Outlook you feel it. And that is truly a beautiful thing.
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