Department, Stockholm’s newest electronic and general contemporary music festival, had its first edition on June 3-4 at Slakthusområdet, i.e. Stockholm’s Meat-packing District. This intimate two-day warehouse party had its main stage in an industrial warehouse built in 1912 in Art Noveau style, and it was a fully sold-out success.
The festival was divided into 3 areas, two of them indoors – inside the main warehouse and at the Kraken club – and the third one outside between the 2 indoor venues. Every stage hosted different kinds of music. In the outdoor section one could enjoy a more chilled out atmosphere to relax, have a chat and a sit with friends, which sometimes was quite needed, since the other bigger stages inspired to a lot of dancing. Kraken hosted a more varied kind of music, from wave and trap to electronica combined with hip hop and rap – so yeah, a very varied musical landscape. The main stage hosted big name DJs, that played the most refined post-rave, techno and house.
Some of the artists that we saw on day one were: at Kraken CVRL, LASH and Mash Up International. On the Chill Out stage Cago Cuk and one of our favourites Maya Lourenço. Meanwhile at the Warehouse stage, which was by far the most crowded one, we saw Dutch DJ Joris Voorn, who charmed the audience with his uplifting mash of techno and house, taking home an immense amount of love and cheering from the people, reminding us that music and dancing are about having fun and joy. When Korean DJ and producer Peggy Gou came on stage flooding it with her rough yet warm house and techno sounds and the use of her characteristic African grooves and rhythms, she made sure to take Department to yet a higher level of energy.
Dixon transformed the Warehouse into an atmospheric electro-playground, setting up the moods to receive the big stars of the night, the legendary dance duo Underworld, and that was the moment we all had been waiting for, not only that day, some of us a whole lifetime and maybe Underworld too. That was perhaps why the first thing that Karl Hyde, singer and founder of Underworld, said:
¨It’s great to be finally here in Sweden, been a long time… since… forever.¨ Karl Hyde, Underworld.
Underworld‘s presentation was everything you would have expected it to be, they brought us back to the 90’s and beyond, raving with hits like, Push Up, I Exhale, Cowgirl, Dark Train, King Of Snake, reaching maximum ecstasies of their presentation as they performed anthems like Two Months Off and the so-awaited theme of the film Trainspotting, Born Slippy. It was this tune that closed their act and the first day of activities of Department somewhere around 3am.
The second day at Department brought us the music of artists such as Princess Nokia, HVOB and SURVIVE, the creators of the soundtrack of the famous TV series Stranger Things. Inside the Warehouse the spirits were kept up by the music of Axel Boman, Âme who performed a live set up of house musical magic and was amazingly well received by the audience. The Italian superstar duo Tale Of Us made use of their emotional and drama-driven techno to prepare the festivalgoers to the highest point of this two day’s party. Straight after them came the wizard of the decks, German DJ Paul Kalkbrenner.
Paul Kalkbrenner is truly a rockstar DJ, his dreamy electronics, cinematic house and minimal techno have that laid-back and melodic feel that everybody loves and he knows it. He loves to see the audience lose control dancing to his sets. In his seven-album career the German DJ has played at the best clubs in the world and has managed to create an army of fans that follow him wherever he plays. We have actually seen him play a few gigs over the years and we can assure you this, Paul Kalkbrenner‘s set at Department was perhaps one of the best ones we’ve ever seen. He dropped bomb after bomb of well selected tracks, some new and some old loved classics from his Berlin Calling days.
A big-up goes to the festival-goers who were arguably one of the best crowds we’ve ever encounter at a festival or a party of any kind! The people were in general happy, nothing like the average pushy and annoyed club-goers one normally bumps into on a Stockholm night out. At Depatment people were smiling at each other, sharing good vibes, giving way when needed. On the few occasions one would take a break from the dancefloor to go out and catch some fresh air, it wouldn’t take long before you would be talking to a total stranger and just expressing how nice the evening was rolling out and how amazing the music being played was.
Oh and the outfits, there was just as much to see off the stage as on it. Glitter, bright colours, flowers, fluorescence, hippy style, hipster style, sexy style, only cool styles among the Depatmenters.
More facts: these two days of party were 100% vegetarian and the stunning decoration that hung around the walls of the industrial block where the different stages were located was handcrafted by the artist Alexandra Karpilovski.