The Parco Dora, Turin
Arriving at Kappa Futur Festival you’re hit by a surge of energy: a thick mist of dust kicked up by dancers, the bass which ricochets off nearby apartment blocks, and the intermittent chants from the crowd which could rival a football stadium. Anticipation is in the air for the festival, the 2022 edition of which has been three years in the making; its past chapters postponed by the pandemic which has hit this part of the world particularly badly.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for so long,” one festival-goer, who’s travelled from nearby Milan and held onto his ticket since early 2020, says. “Honestly, there were points where I thought this was never going to happen.” There’s a sense of release in the atmosphere; an eager and overdue return as if we’re making up for the lost time.
The site is located in an old fiat factory, where cars had been assembled just half a century before. Now, the skeleton of the area’s industrial past remains. Overgrown concrete walls separate the stages and bronze-rusted steel beams jut out from the ground into the sky. The venue is symbolic of Turin’s new identity, where new creative and cultural sectors have replaced the traditional manufacturing industry.
Considering the international scale of this festival – with festival-goers travelling as far as Brazil to take in the Italian party – the site is manageable in size. Criticisms are made on the handling of queues to get in by festival-goers, one arguing that it’s “really unsafe, with no water” and people are feeling “ill after waiting three hours in the heat.” However, despite the queues, once inside the site feels intuitive to get around. The music is eclectic too, stretching across the electronic music spectrum, from classic Detroit house to Berghain techno.
The main platform – the Jager stage – is the only one that provides protection from the relentless midsummer sun, using the foundations of the industrial warehouse, its giant corrugated iron roof, for cover. Here, there’s impressive light shows and flawless sets from the likes of Carl Craig and Danny Tenaglia. Notable mentions include Four Tet, who – in typical fashion – unearths a series of spacey and esoteric grooves that keep the crowd moving as dusk approaches. Peggy Gou closes Friday evening with a heavy, energetic set; pulling out techno tracks such as Space Riot by Shadow Child and Vamp by Outlander.
Dwarfed by the mammoth Jager platform and nestled at the back of the arena is the Latz stage and the intimate Dora space, which both maintain a more intimate feel. The Latz stages the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Paco Osuna and the renowned Ibiza legend Andrea Oliva. Meanwhile, despite being the smallest of all stages, the Dora hosts countless impeccable sets by the likes of Honey Dijon, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Helena Hauff – to name a few. The stage itself is unique too, with trees dispersed around the arena giving it an up-close and personal feel. A highlight of the Dora stage, and indeed the weekend, is The Blessed Madonna, who dishes out a selection of club tracks to a relatively small, intimate crowd who two-step beneath the leaves.
A short distance away is an open-air space – the Futur stage – which is exposed to the elements. At times it’s blistering hot, as firefighters repeatedly pour water into the crowd from industrial-sized hoses. That doesn’t stop thousands, however, flocking to soak in the hedonism of pounding techno from the likes of Amelie Lens, Tale of Us, I Hate Models and a live set by FJAAK – who gets the crowd going with their infamous It’s Time Again track.
As the sun sets across the Alps, a packed-out set from Carl Cox going back-to-back with Joseph Capriati is a sensational send-off for the weekend. Despite everything that Italy has faced over the past few years, Kappa Futur is here to show that convergency, hedonism and dance music are back – better than ever, and with Turin at the epicentre.