Luminosity Beach Festival saw its 8th year at Beachclub Fuel in Zandvoort aan Zee at the end of last month and oh my, what a festival it was! Three days of musical bliss from my favourite DJs on a stunning beach in the company of 5,000-odd merry ravers. Needless to say, I was in Heaven. After last year, Luminosity was granted the title of Dutch no.1 must-attend festival and this year’s event offered an even more enticing experience, with a mix of big names and up-and-coming talent in different styles of Trance.
Like many of the other festival-goers, I slept (sort of…) in one of the apartments in Center Parcs over the course of the weekend, which was shared between ten of us. One friend and I decided to hire bikes on the day we arrived and cycle to and from the festival each day, which turned out to be a fabulous (if not ever so slightly dangerous) idea.
We arrived at the site on day one, the sun beating down on us, to the melodic sounds emerging from Arena 2, where Dan Stone was DJing. After playing a couple of his own tracks, one of which was ‘Proteus’, he dropped the beautiful ‘Nubia’ by Aly & Fila and Ferry Tayle, before treating us to a recent rework of Matt Darey’s ‘See the Sun’, which had everyone in the crowd singing along, broad smiles spread across their faces – a pretty good introduction to the festival! After that, I drifted about between the two stages, catching some of Simon O’Shine’s set before making my way over to the main stage to see Paul Van Dyk. Naturally, this was the most anticipated set of the day, with PVD being the biggest name on the line-up, so I felt I ought to see at least some of it, despite the fact I’d rather lost interest in his music. However, even though I managed to squeeze myself into a spot right at the front, I had to leave after just ten minutes, as there was too little space to dance and too many people who seemed more interested in catching the perfect snap of PVD on their iPhones than just enjoying the tunes he was playing. I’m glad I escaped anyway, as it meant I got to see an hour of Sneijder’s set, which most certainly did not disappoint. This was only the second time I’d seen Sneijder, but I remember thinking the first time that he seemed to know exactly how to get the crowd going, which he did once again on this occasion. It was a very uplifting set, with the highlight being his epic remix of Veracocha’s ‘Carte Blanche’, which had everyone sitting down then leaping back up at the drop. They did the same thing during the Noble Six remix of Kyau & Albert’s ‘Kiksu’, which I’d not heard until that day and absolutely loved. Other standout moments for me were hearing ‘How Many Times’, which always gets me a bit emotional, and Sneijder ending with a series of absolute bangers, one of which was his mash-up, ‘Loud Time’.
Next up was Neptune Project. Originally only booked for the Luminosity after-party, Dan Willis had to step in at the last minute to take the place of Photographer, who had failed to turn up to the festival for reasons I’m still unsure of. I was initially gutted, as he was one of the acts I was most looking forward to seeing, but thankfully Dan more than made up for it with a cracking set and the crowd seemed far from dissatisfied. Once again, I wormed my way right to the front and this time, there was ample space for dancing, making it all the more enjoyable. In true Neptune Project style, there were a number of vocal Trance songs, such as Chakra’s ‘Love Shines Through’, ‘Satellite’ and a mash-up of ‘Velvet Morning’ and ‘Silence’, intertwined with more pounding tracks. It was nice to hear some old school Trance in the form of Michael Woods’ 2003 club mix of ‘Gamemaster’, as well as recent material by the Neptune Project boys themselves, including their beautiful remix of ‘Sun in Your Eyes’, which I adore.
At that point, I was torn between staying at Arena 2, where Johan Ekman had just stepped up to the decks, and moving back to the main stage to catch Bryan Kearney. I’ve seen Kearney numerous times and Ekman’s someone I’ve been intrigued by for a while now, but I still found myself wandering across to the other stage. I stand by that decision, as Kearney’s set was simply incredible and far exceeded my expectations, making it the perfect end to my first day. Amongst the many fantastic tunes played were Ferry Corsten pres. Gouryella – ‘Anahera’, ‘Man on the Run’ and ‘Need to Feel Loved’, the last of which is an all time favourite of mine. I like the fact that Kearney wasn’t afraid to mix the old with the new, and we were treated to some classics, such as ‘Not Over Yet’ and ‘Toca Me’. Naturally, the mighty Irishman included a number of his own tracks as well, like ‘I Don’t Deserve You’, ‘Exactly’ and his latest hit with Will Rees, ‘Prime Example’. Just when I thought it was all over, he dropped one final tune – a brand new one apparently – I still don’t know what it’s called, but will be checking Mr. Kearney’s SoundCloud page daily in an attempt to find out!
After making it back to Center Parcs (in one piece, thankfully) I joined in with the post Lumi celebrations happening at our apartment, which various different people from all over the complex had come to partake in. I was too overwhelmed with excitement to even think about sleeping, but eventually I forced myself to hit the sack, as I wanted to conserve my energy for the following day.