Kabinet is a small festival that takes place in Amsterdam Noord, and is the sister festival to Dekmantel. It is also considerably a more laidback and cooler affair. Kabinet is the Effy Stonem to Dekmantel’s Tony, if Effy was really, really into disco and vegetarianism.
One of the first things I noticed was that you can’t pay in card or cash. ATMs placed at the entrance allow you to buy tokens that you can exchange for food and drinks. I was told it was to make queues go faster. In reality I had absolutely no idea how much money I was spending, but you couldn’t deny the speed of the queues. I had been busy in the run up to the festival, so I had no time really to sit down and actually plan out where I was going and when. The two friends accompanying me were not necessarily huge techno fans, however, and did not seem to mind me dragging them all over the festival or looking after my bag when I really needed them to.
The first act I saw was Carista. She had a three-hour opening slot at the start of the festival, which felt slightly unfair. She was absolutely fantastic and I felt as though she deserved a bigger audience. I later joined one of the tents for Mark Grusane, who, as described on his RA page plays “Make You Get Up And Move” music that left me feeling like I could dance for hours.
One of the more main acts that killed it was Kelela. She owned the stage. The plan was to spend half of the slot watching her, before going to see Alex Robotnick. I ended up staying for her entire set, it was so mesmerising. Ben UFO, while more inclined towards dubstep in previous years, had never been a particular favourite of mine, but his set at Lente changed my opinion of him permanently. With a three hour set to close, Ben UFO owned the festival, and I danced the rest of the night away.
The vibe of the entire festival was fantastic. There was barely any queuing for toilets and food, and people danced barefoot. It was genuine, happy, and carefree, and I enjoyed every second of it. The entire catering for the festival was also completely vegetarian, with plenty of vegan options to choose from, along with lots of recycling points throughout the area.
Highlights: Carista, Mark Grusane, Kelela, Ben UFO
I arrived significantly later on the Sunday than the Saturday, but admittedly none of the earlier acts really stood out. I caught the tail end of Ana Helder who was fairly impressive. I missed Tzusing in favour of Cinnaman and Casper Tielrooij, along with Mim Suleiman and Esa, both duos who were incredible. I was informed that Tzusing was considered to be a good surprise at the festival, though more on the drum and bass side. I ended up seeing him at a different festival, and while not necessarily someone I would listen to willingly, his music was not without merit and I would consider him to be a fairly decent act.
At some point it started to rain, and staff members walked around handing out rain ponchos to those who wanted one – a first for the festivals I have been to. At some point during this time I bumped into the aforementioned Mim Suleiman, who had left the stage and was busy enjoying the rest of the festival. Aside from being a fantastic performer, she was also an incredibly lovely human being who was grateful for my many compliments. I also helped her with her sunglasses that got stuck in her hair.
I had decided against seeing my one true love, Peggy Gou, in favour of Hunee and Motor City Drum Ensemble, two acts I had never seen before. With Hunee, I was absolutely blown away. His music is very heavily disco, and so light and fun to dance to. His music is playful and intricate. Everyone was taken by the music, Hunee too – it was genuinely lovely to see a DJ get that much joy out of playing. At some point, after he ended his set, I slipped back over to see a few minutes of Peggy, who was killing it in her own right, before heading right back to see Motor City Drum Ensemble – a DJ I had heard good things about. He did not disappoint either. Picking up where Hunee left off, Motor City finished the festival on a high note, that had me danced and spinning out of the crowd. It was genuinely one of my favourite festival experiences.
Highlights: Hunee, Peggy Gou, Motor City Drum Ensemble, meeting Mim Suleiman
Overall, the vibe of the festival was incredible. Everything was so laidback and chill, and absolutely no aspect of the festival felt stressful. The entire space was small in comparison to most festivals I have been to, and it never felt like the festival was overcrowded. I felt like I could dance completely carefree and chat away to the people next to me with no issue. No part felt rushed and each act seemed genuinely happy to be there. I was able to make the front of every set I wanted to get to. No shoving and no pushing, just people dancing themselves silly. Het Lente Kabinet is worth every cent, and then some.By Lottie Lightfoot