Italy’s premier dance event should be at the top of your festival list for next year.
Revellers have had it tough in London over the past few years. Even before Covid-19, iconic venues were seemingly shuttering every month (hello Printworks), with stringent licensing laws stopping the party way before the sun rose. It’s no surprise, then, that people are looking afield to Europe. Already this year, we have seen the likes of Barcelona’s Primavera, Paris’ We Love Green, and most recently Turin’s premier techno event, Kappa FuturFestival — a veritable playground for those who really love to party.
To mark its 10th iteration, the festival returned to the city’s industrial park, Parco Dora, which with its red steel pillars and graffitied walls, has a very ‘Grammable air of the post-apocalyptic. And while walking through its expanse and hordes of cyberpunk fashionistas, it’s easy to see why Turin is often described as the ‘Detroit of Italy’. The northern city is the birthplace of Fiat, and Parco Dora the site of its former Michelin plant. The wave of tech electronica that was born in Detroit in the ‘80s quickly spread to its Italian counterpart, and the vestiges are still visible today. This year, Parco Doro’s incumbent Kappa FuturFestival saw over 100,000 revellers, and 105 artists, including some of the biggest names in dance music, like Peggy Gou, Major Lazer, Fatboy Slim, Diplo, and Carl Cox.
On the first day, Swedish House Mafia were the first to headline amongst torrential downpours — but that didn’t hinder the EDM supergroup who rallied the energy of the Friday crowd with big-time remixes and party classics alike. This is really a techno festival, so we didn’t expect many lyrics, and nor did we get them, but that didn’t stop Swedish House Mafia from ending on their iconic ‘Don’t You Worry Child’. Later, over at the Nova Stage, legendary Detroit DJ FloorPlan provided three hours of gloriously woozy funk, soul and disco stylings to close out the first evening.
Things only properly kicked off on the red-hot Saturday when a barefoot, toe-tapping Fatboy Slim tore down the mainstage with a set that featured his club classics ‘Praise You’ and ‘Right Here, Right Now’. Over on the Voyager Stage, Ricardo Villolobos provided no respite to the sweaty, dancing masses. Later, Peggy Gou commanded the biggest crowds of the festival when she headlined on Saturday night, and the energy reached fever-pitch, with fans chanting the lyrics to her unmistakable ‘It Goes Like (NANANA)’ long after she had left the stage. The next day, Hot Since 82 provided a foot-stomping set, before we ended the festival with Carl Cox, who kept the surprises coming with a goosebump-inducing remix of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’.
Music aside, the festival is impressive in and of itself. Sure, there’s your usual problem of litter, but the sheer size of Parco Doro means that there are plenty of toilets and bars, and rarely queues for either. The cashless wristband system continued to be more hassle than it’s worth, but admittedly, the festival’s money retrieval process on the other side proved to be a breeze.
Still, for those willing to splash the cash (an eye-watering €4,000 to be exact), Kappa FuturFestival boasts one of the best luxury VIP offerings in the world via their Art and Techno pass. It includes a 3-day VIP ticket, access to the opening party at the regal Villa Della Regina, and this year, accommodation in the city’s 5* Grand Hotel Sitea. But this isn’t just any VIP ticket; pass holders are literally able to feel like an artist themselves, with mainstage access, which means they can literally stand behind Fatboy Slim and Peggy Gou on the decks. Access to the excellent VIP lounge, which saw its own host of resident DJs and free makeup and hair stations, also included a sit-down restaurant, replete with actual cutlery and traditional Piedmontese cuisine. And then, there were the official afterparties — we returned every night to Centralino, where we were treated to a set by Seth Troxler, and even a surprise appearance by British DJ Carl Cox on Sunday.
What really makes this luxury experience stand out, however, is its arts programming. This year, pass holders pushed away their hangovers for private gallery tours, before attending long, wine-filled lunches at some of the city’s best restaurants. On the schedule was the Mazzoleni Gallery, Galleria D’Italia and a visit to the studio of marble sculptor Fabio Viale. Our standout was venturing down to the Lingotto District’s Pinacoteca Agnelli and La Pista 500, where we walked along the Fiat facetrack — a sight some may remember from 1969’s The Italian Job. The site is also home to an exhibition on the radical New York artist, Lee Lozano, as well as a rarely seen private collection, featuring the works of Renoir, Matisse, and more. Attendees will come away with a real understanding of Turin, with its contemporary urban sprawl and art-filled past — it is truly a gem, which despite being the country’s fourth largest city is mistakenly overlooked by tourists.
Ultimately, in its 10th year, Kappa FuturFestival has cemented itself as a paradise for music lovers. If you’d asked me previously, I would have raised an eyebrow at the concept of mixing luxury with the raucous energy of a dance event, but hiccups aside, Kappa FuturFestival truly curated a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Techno lovers take heed; it should be at the very top of your list for 2024.