What are you doing for the holidays? Sure, you could go to the seaside with your friends, have a romantic getaway with your lover, or go backpacking across South East Asia. But if you’re into dance music — and, given you’re on MEOKO dot net right now, something tells me you are — you might wanna go for a festival somewhere in Europe.
It’s not just about Ibiza anymore. Take Croatia. After collapsing during the war, the country’s economy now heavily relies on tourism, and music festivals play a large role in this. Come August and half of your Facebook feed is filled with pictures and videos of anyone from your best friends to your most random acquaintances having the time of their lives at Sonus or Dimensions, isn’t it? Hell, even your auntie probably went to a festival in Eastern Europe last summer.
And with a large majority of festival-goers claiming to prefer smaller boutique festivals, this trend has no reason to come to an end, with each festival hyping up its own assets to cater to a specific audience — not mentioning that a lot of them are ridiculously cheap for Westerners. These days, you could pretty much have a full tour of Europe just doing electronic music festivals, from the best of Romanian minimal at Sunwaves to Craig Richard’s very own Houghton in the British countryside, and from the giants that are Sonar or Dekmantel to the more intimate experience of Portugal’s Waking Life, among countless others — something for everyone indeed.
In short, cheap flights and (re)developing countries eager to attract holidaymakers make for a golden age of festival tourism. Enters UP festival, a Prague-based event running from the 11th to the 13th of May organised by local promoter Round UP. The new endeavour appears to be Czech Republic’s very first festival focusing on underground house and techno — the country’s answer to the aforementioned festivals making up the European circuit. And a solid line-up it has, with a particular emphasis on the minimal side of things
See for yourself. Ricardo Villalobos and Sonja Moonear are both present. They’re some of those tried-and-tested headliners that we’re always happy to see at such an event, and the same can be said of some of our Romanian favourites, with Barac and the combined genius of Raresh and Praslea playing as Praslesh.
There’s a nice contingent representing the French scene too, with Yoyaku heavy-hitters Varhat and Janeret playing B2B, alongside Molly, whose reputation has been steadily growing — deservedly so — in the past few years, while the experienced six hands of Apollonia are sure to make us dance and dance and dance.
But it’s also a fantastic occasion to familiarize yourself with the local scene: to name a few of them, Yan & Alfred Czital of Harmony Rec. spin all shades of dubby techno; Fatty M is a local hero that brought the likes of Derrick May and San Proper to Prague with his Kom!ks warehouse parties; em ju es aj si is into the dark Berlin techno (based in Prague) that he helped bring to Czech Republic with his Polygon parties; and Bruno Curtis is the founder of Round UP.
Here’s the current full line-up in alphabetical order:
Agustin Alvarez | Anthea | Apollonia | Ark3r | Barac | Bella Sarris | Brothers Black | Bruno Curtis | Dmitry | Eddie Mur | Ellen Alien | Em Ju Es Aj Si | Fatty M | Ion Ludwig | Janeret | Johanna Schneider | Jorgos | Luigi Tozzi | Magda | Molly | Nils Weiman | Oliver Torr | Oshana | Per Hammar | Praslesh | Ricardo Villalobos | Schwa | Sonja Moonear | Topper | Varhat | Vik | Yan & Alfred Czital
And there’s more to come. The festival’s only got to its second wave of names for now.
Although it’s its main draw, there’s more to attract you to UP in the competitive field of European music festivals than its impeccable music selection. With more than 50 artists spread across 4 stages over 3 days, the nascent festival already establishes itself as one of the circuit’s big-hitters, with a +20.000 capacity. This means we can expect some fine stagecraft; indeed, the festival will be collaborating with digital media studios for audiovisual performances. Did I mention the tickets are currently 45 euros?
All this action is unfolding in Prague’s exhibition centre, a stone’s throw away from the city centre. The Czech capital, one of the most exciting destinations in Europe, is definitely part of the appeal. Prague’s history is reflected through its architecture and an insane amount of museums. If you’re going to UP, you’d be a fool not to take some time to enjoy the city itself. Its reputation as a party spot is no longer to be demonstrated, but it’s no surprise that a festival like UP would come up now, since these days you can catch some of electronic music’s most exciting names in a club like Ankali, and the city seems to have a decent amount of promoters dedicated to pushing this kind of sound. May I add three final words? Ungodly cheap beer. Wink wink.
All in all, we’re therefore quite proud to announce that MEOKO is the festival’s official media partner — minimal beats in one of Europe’s most exciting capitals? Of course we’d be in! This means you can expect some exclusive content coming on the website in the run-up to UP, so keep your eyes peeled — and in the meantime, grab your tickets here before they reach the final wave.