Decibel Open Air: electronic music event blossoms in the City of Flowers

Back after a two year hiatus in a new location – the expansive and verdant Parco Delle Cascine, the fourth edition of the Florentine festival feels like the perfect way to celebrate summer’s swansong.

Over two days, tens of thousands of eager ravers pour into the site through the tree-lined boulevards that run through the monumental 160 hectare park. With the temperature hitting the 30 degree mark across the weekend, the combination of beautiful weather and friendly patrons makes an unbeatable setting to enjoy bold, high-energy beats from some of the biggest names of the contemporary dance music scene.

As the name implies, Decibel’s focus is on booming, big-stage sounds. With sets averaging at 90 minutes there’s no time to mess around, and from the get-go on Saturday afternoon Fideles put on a commanding and uplifting display that sets the tone for what’s to come. The Italian duo draw a strong home crowd as they power through industrial and electro show on the mammoth DOA stage.

The unique Amphitheatre stage is where Saturday’s programme really shines though. The concrete and grass structure is a chilled-out spot with great vantage points for taking in an epic early evening live set from Overmono whose dynamic AV show (featuring the trademark Dobermans) winds through taut melodies, crisp breaks and funky vocal samples.

Caribou then brings a stunning live show that has the Amphitheatre in a glow of hazy purple. With a live band that includes the percussive talents of drummer Brad Weber, classics and more recent hits have never sounded more vitalised.

By Sunday’s sunset the festival seems to be nearing its extensive capacity, with some 50,000 attendees coming through across the whole weekend. The Scottish Terminal V brand delivers a consistently strong atmosphere throughout the day, from Rome-based DJ Adiel’s poised class in deep and hypnotic techno, to Pan-Pot’s raucous set and a storming, high intensity workout from I Hate Models.

For two days from noon to midnight, Decibel offers a dizzying festival experience that makes every minute of the music count.

Well organised and smoothly run, the only downside – and it’s a significant one – is the lack of diversity across the lineup. With that point corrected in future, Decibel could grow into a destination fixture on Italy’s electronic calendar.