On July 21st I travelled to Eindhoven in Holland to visit the Extrema Festival. Currently one of Holland’s biggest dance music festivals held here every summer. Contrary to the festival’s title this event is not just about the harder and darker aspects of dance music. The extreme title is more an indicator of the quality of dance music you expect to find when you come here.

We left on Friday night by bus travelling from London to Amsterdam and then catching the train to Eindhoven and finally taking a bus to the festival area. The actual site is a scenic recreational area situated around a lake and a number of the eight dance areas are actually situated in the water with some breathtaking décor adorning them.

My first port of call was the mixed stage where the Dutch DJ Warren Fellow was playing his set. Although it was still early he had drawn a decent enough crowd. A good number of my friends told me that Warren is a DJ courtesy of his production and DJ skills. They were right, he knows how to build a set and its obvious he has a passion for playing out.

After a short stop off at the food village (where we had fruit and coffee) we went to the Future Funk stage to see Ron Carroll who had flown in from the States for the festival. This was one of the biggest stages at the festival and worthy of note because it was actually built in the water. Carroll played a euphoric set of house music, this is house as it is meant to be played bringing you a real summer vibe. After seeing Ron Carroll we went to see the likes of Desyn Masiello, Omid 16B and Demi we then rushed back to the mixed stage to see Booka Shade from Germany.

This time they played a live set and although I’m familiar with most of the material they played I still love the vibe they bring to an event. Starting with a slow and deep approach, and rising to a more eclectic high while maintaining a suitably dark sound. However the crowd loved it and the set provided more than enough hands in the air moments. Having seen their live set before however I would be interested to see them perform as DJ’s.

After that we took a little break, we went down to the water with some of our newfound friends and enjoyed a drink and a smoke (I love Holland) before walking to the other side of the lake. We tried to take boat that was slowly bringing passengers back and forth across the water but alas we missed it. However with the sun shining it was no imposition to go walking. We went through the other areas before ending up at Lakeside where our hero Danny Howells was just starting to play his set. It’s always nice to see Danny play, he’s one of those DJ’s who always seems to have fun. Whenever I have seen him whether that be back home in the UK or in the States or in Asia he likes to party and it certainly reflects on the crowd. It was at this point we looked at the schedule and noticed that as always there are so many acts and so little time. It was 7pm and we had to make some tough choices.

Unfortunately we missed the likes of Jeff Mills, Chris Lake, Petter, Extrawelt, King Britt, Junkie XL and Mistress Barbara and plenty of Dutch DJ’s who played at the Royal Dutch area. Of course there was still the option of DJ’s like Rene Amesz, Steve Lawler, Adam Beyer, Ben Sims, Steve Rachmad plus Harry ‘Choo Choo’ Romero, Erick Morillo, Jimmy Van M, Digweed, Nathan Fake, James and Thomas Schumacher. These were just the names that we know…

Unfortunately it did start raining, after a day of bright sunny weather the rain soon quashed our schedule. The rest of the evening we stayed in the tent where Digweed closed the night. He played a deep set, building layer upon layer of sound and we were an appreciative audience.

Just before 11pm the music stopped in all areas. The Extrema organisation started their closing act with fire, art and fireworks. At this point we left as we wanted to take advantage of reaching our friends in their cars while it was still dry.

Looking back we had a great day. Extrema organised the festival for the eleventh time and it was clear these people knew what they were doing. The music was quality ranging from minimal through to electro right across to deep house taking in everything in between. The atmosphere and people were nice and the decorations were beautiful and the food was pretty good as well. It all starts again next year in July and it will certainly be an event to check out.

Edited by Adrian Carter.