From the star-stacked line-up to a luxury Art & Techno experience, we run down everything Italy’s premier techno festival had to offer on it’s 10th anniversary
Although its first official edition wasn’t until the summer of 2012, Kappa FuturFestival began its life as FuturFestival, three years earlier in December 2009. A modest crowd of 7,000 filled Turin’s Oval Lingotto stadium to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Futurism, the artistic movement that championed youth, technology, and – you guessed it – the future. After moving outdoors in 2012, the event was reimagined as Kappa FuturFestival, now well established as a beacon of techno, house and electronic dance music. Just like its artistic namesake, the festival prides itself on being at the frontier, with its current edition delivering all the scene has to offer to a crowd of one hundred thousand pleasure-seekers.
The festival had been due to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2021, but was forced to shutter its doors due to the COVID pandemic. As a result, festival organisers knew that the 2023 edition had to be a showstopper, adding two shiny new stages for a total of five, and inflating the bill to over a hundred acts (the largest line up in the festival’s history). What ensued was a raucous three-day party, filled with legendary DJs, mesh-clad ravers, and an endless supply of seltzer – all under the glorious, Italian sun.
Below, we run down the best bits of the festival, from the incredible settings, to the raging afterparties, and the stellar art scene that stole the show.
A POST-INDUSTRIAL PLAYGROUND INSTANTLY SET THE MOOD
If you’ve been to your fair share of London day festivals, chances are you’re acquainted with the rolling hills of Brockwell Park, or the barren plains of Clapham Common. While there’s technically nothing wrong with those places, they pale in comparison to Parco Duro, the inner-city, industrial park where Kappa FuturFestival is held every year. Once the site of Fiat and Michelin factories in the 1990s, Parco Dora is now adorned with various artworks and graffiti, its iconic red pillars slicing the background of every Instagram post of the festival.
The fact that the festival – primarily a techno event – takes place in Turin is no coincidence either. The Italian city has always had a spiritual bond with Detroit, and in the 60’s was known as the ‘Detroit of Italy’ because of their shared car industries (Fiat in Turin and Ford in Detroit). So when the post-industrial sound of techno spread from its Detroit birthplace in the 80s, Turin was a natural beneficiary of that cultural export. Because of this, Parco Dora was the perfect setting for the festival’s tech-heavy stylings.
THE BILL WAS STACKED FROM TOP TO BOTTOM
As we may have mentioned, 2023 was Kappa FuturFestival’s 10th anniversary, which meant organisers couldn’t afford to scrimp on the booking fees – and scrimp they did not. Across the weekend industry legends like Floorplan and Carl Cox rubbed shoulders with the new school of Chris Stussy and Krystal Klear; Ricardo Villalobos delivered a funk-filled slot of tech-house bangers, while Paranoid London shut down the newly minted Kosmo Stage with their explosive headline set.
A particularly memorable moment came from woman-of-the-hour Peggy Gou, who was the main stage headliner on Saturday night. After Gou’s set ended and she walked off stage, the thousands-strong crowd began to chant – to the tune of DJ Ötzi’s “Hey! Baby” – “Heeeeyyy Peggy (ooh, ahh) I wanna knooowwww, if you’ll be my girl”. The choir sang for a good five minutes after she’d descended from the booth, a moment that really hammered home how much of a cultural phenom she’s become. It seemed that that night, everybody was worshipping at the altar of Gou.
THE ART & TECHNO EXPERIENCE STOLE THE SHOW
If general admission isn’t really your thing, then there’s another way to experience the festival. The Art & Techno wristband gives you the full VIP treatment, including an opening party at the majestic Villa della Regina, behind the scenes access to all stages, plus a dedicated concierge service – but that’s just the beginning. The best bit of the package makes use of Turin’s storied art history, taking you on a number of guided tours and gallery visits throughout the day, before dropping you off at the festival to enjoy what the night has to offer.
This year, the package included a private tour of the Mazzoleni gallery, where you could glimpse the neon sculptures of Marinella Senatore, and a trip to Gallerie d’Italia to cast an eye over the work of French photographer JR. A short trip south and you’re in the Lingotto district, home to the Pinacoteca Agnelli, an art gallery housing the collection of Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli. Inside there’s an exhibition on radical, 60s New Yorker Lee Lozano, plus a permanent collection featuring works by Renoir, Manet and Mattisse rarely seen by the public.
The Agnelli sits on top of the Lingotto complex, home of the old Fiat factory, and you can even walk around the huge racetrack on top of the building, one that was used to test run cars and featured in the 1969 film The Italian Job. It’s these small details that make the Art & Techno package truly unforgettable – a unique opportunity to experience both the luxury of the festival and the scope of Turin’s unparalleled art scene.
THE AFTERDARK OFFERINGS WILL HAVE YOU SPOILT FOR CHOICE
If, after a long day of techno sets and gallery visits, you’re still hankering for an afters, then this festival has you covered. Not content on filling your eardrums at the main stages, the festival also provides a post-curfew line up at a handful of Turin’s best clubs, like Audiodrome and Azimut. This year however, we opted for Centralino, a short walk from the River Po, and were transported to another plane via a breakneck Seth Troxler and Carl Craig B2B. As all your fellow revellers follow you to the club, the afterparty crowds are just an extension of the festival – fun, free, and up for anything.