Zuiderpark, The Hague
2 June

The sunshine was nowhere to be seen at the sold-out fifth edition of The Crave festival in lush green Zuiderpark, but that didn’t discourage those eager to rave in The Hague. While there’s no shortage of great line-ups at weekly events in Amsterdam, there’s nothing quite like partying next to a lake with a few of the original ravers from the Acid Planet parties held in squats in the 90s.

Barely past noon and an assorted crowd was already losing it amidst the smoke machines to the sounds of Skee Mask. The German producer created a deep atmospheric vibe on the main stage playing rolling rhythms from Mnlth’s analogue Harrier 2 to the instrumental version of Bezingha’s Finished on an impressively loud sound system. It was nice to see The Crave was a wheelchair friendly event – a broken leg didn’t stop one girl from hopping around front left.

The crowd showed a lot of love for the PIP stage where Soichi Terada played his usual upbeat and spirited live performance. From twisting his synth while standing on the DJ booth playing his own Voices From Beyond to singing along to Yashushi Fujimoto’s I Was Made for Lovin’ You, his charismatic energy was contagious. Up next was Amsterdam based duo Twice Upon a Time, providing a moment of absolute bliss when they played CJ Bolland’s breakbeat masterpiece, Con Spirito.

Over at District25, The Egyptian Lover was doing what he does best: rapping obscenities over some old school 80s electro like Twilight 22’s Electric Kingdom and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s robot-rap Scorpio. The music at the Intergalactic FM & Creme Organization stage was typically rough and ready, with a set from Beverly Hills 808383, aka local legend I-F playing some ruthless acid house using the iconic Roland TR-808 and TB-303. Forever-masked Drexciyan hero DJ Stingray was up next dropping some quality Detroit electro.

Norwegian DJ Sotofett at the PIP stage was also a highlight, offering a refreshing change of pace to the relentless sounds coming from the other three closing sets. While his music clearly wasn’t hard enough for everyone, he definitely took us on a journey, and those who stuck around got to hear some absolute gems like The Sunclub’s Single Minded People and Dave Clark’s remix of Laurent Garnier’s fast, dark and powerful Creed.

While we weren’t lucky enough to squeeze under the District25 dome to watch the Hessle Audio Trio finish the night off, dancing to a mixture of old school rave and house from the outskirts was enough. The Crave was a well organised, unpretentious, raw and authentic experience. A refreshing change from Amsterdam’s somewhat tamer vibe, it was an invigorating start to the summer festival season.