This will have been my first and last experience of Nachtdigital. Of course, I knew about the festival for a few years, thanks to my friend and colleague Thomas, expressing so well the beauty of it all. However, I was far from imagining the actual experience.
Situated in Olganitz since its inception, one hour east of Leipzig, it is a haven of peace and tranquility, which is a rare quality in festivals. Since 1998, a group of genuine, passionate and hard working friends went from partying together to slowly developing one of the most cherished festivals around. 3000 people only, a camping 10 minutes away by foot, and a second camping right on the festival.
The ambient stage is the first one you discover, as it’s located outside of the site, right before the entrance. It allows people to actually attend without a ticket, which is a great gift. An open tent, an immense field and numerous places to chill, to which I regularly kept coming back.
Upon arrival to the actual site, neons in soft alcoves set the tone while one gets closer to the main stage. Directly situated around the lake, it brings a laid-back vibe during the day. You contemplate people floating on a diverse range of inflatable animals, well-timed fog apparitions in the trees, a great sense of detail in the design, with plenty of places to settle down and relax. During the night, bright neon lights, surrounded by the sound, burst from the screens of the main stage. Reflections of lights appear on the opposite shore of the lake, accompanied by the slow emanations of fog.
One thing important to mention before I continue, is that the set times appeared as the days and nights progressed. It really added an interesting element of surprise. It also meant that you didn’t know who was playing sometimes, or forgot. It allowed the music to remain the central part of it all and definitely created a unique atmosphere, a present crowd.
The lineup and selection were really on point during the whole event. Olivia’s set the opening night in the ambient stage was adventurous and transversal, from the most minimalistic pieces to menacing drone vibrations. My other great memories on that stage were Grand River, Jing and Sa Pa. Olivia played again in the tent on Friday, delivering an infectious ravey and acid set. Manamana (Map.ache and Sevensol) were my highlight on the main stage – the two Nachtdigital residents introduced the early morning sunrise with a sizzling house set. Marie Davidson was also in great form as she elevated the tracks of her debut “Working Class Woman” with an intense live. Deena Abdelwaheed, who also released her debut recently on Infine, played a powerful, mind-bending set on Saturday.
Another high point of the festival was how well Ankali, a crew and club situated in Prague, curated the ambient stage from Saturday night onwards with memorable sets by Diane Barbé, Exhausted Modern and em ju es aj sii. Getting closer to the end, Robag Wruhme delivered the goods as usual on the Sunday afternoon, while the Nachtdigital crew prepared to play for the final goodbye, choosing the legendary “The Power of Love” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood as the last ever song.
It’s a very courageous act to stop something so beautiful. It’s also a wise decision if that’s what you feel inside.