The way to Valhalla: A Bizarre ride

Last Saturday we attended the Valhalla festival in the Amsterdam RAI. The festival promoted itself as a bizarre ride, and a bizarre ride it was. Besides the various selection of electronic music that was offered, we experienced a wide variety of surprising acts you won’t expect to find on an electronic music festival.

We entered the venue early to be in time for the opening show of Hans Klok, the world famous illusionist. The first thing that caught our attention after our entrance was the dazzling decoration. Hans Klok was programmed in the central hall named ‘Valhalla’s Varieté’. Besides the well known food courts, picnic tables and stands, this hall was home to a stage that looked like it was borrowed from a 20’s Broadway theatre, complete with characteristic heavy red curtains. Hans Klok performed some of his infamous  tricks, but despite of all the effort put into the setting, the atmosphere didn’t do right to his reputation.

After the opening show we left to see Mirella Kroes performing in the Colosseum. But on our way we encountered numerous creative initiatives. Some weird, some impressive and other rather spectacular. One act that definitely fell in the last category, was the globe of glory: two guys driving their motorcycles vertically and horizontally in a metal globe with a diameter of eight meters, with one beautiful blond girl just standing in the middle. There was also a boxing ring where you could prove to be the most masculine and strongest Valhalla visitor, a merry-go-round, a ghost house and different circus acts like clowns, jugglers and acrobats.

After enjoying some of the acts, we were just in time to catch a glance of Mirella Kroes, playing some of her last records. Next in line was Egbert, one of our favorite Dutch artists of the moment. Like the majority of the crowd was expecting he provided us with an energetic live set. His superb performance was given an extra dimension by the Wheel of Attraction, a world famous acrobatic act. Asking other visitors about Valhalla, they said that these features are exactly what distincts this festival from others. “It’s not just music, it’s a journey of discovery where a surprise is hidden around every corner.”

After Egbert finished his set, we continued our journey and consumed Valhalla as an early 12-course Christmas Dinner. We took a little bite of the deep tunes from Solomun as an amuse, followed by Joost van Bellen’s special 25 years of house set as an appetizer. The main course consisted of a variety of delicious musical snacks served by Floorplan, Melon and Dekmantel Soundsystem. The absolute highlight of the evening was provided by Juan Sanchez, who pleased the crowd with a magnificent set of hallucinating techno. To speak in gastronomic terms, he definitely deserved 3 Michelin stars for this one. After Juan Sanchez we decided to consume our dessert at the Cotton Club, where Makam put the icing on the cake.

Valhalla was a ride definitely worth taking. We want to thank the organization, acts, artist but especially the lovely crowd for a great night out and hope to see all of you next year.

Pictures by Casper Koster

Housecult

House Cult is a community focused on electronic music. A particular active subculture full of people who all share the same passion for electronic music. For some still a cult, for others a way to enrich everyday life. For all of us a culture that brings us together.