Lente Kabinet (Credit: Desiré van den Berg)
A hidden gem, effortlessly charming and easily cherished...

In Lente Kabinet’s first few years, Dekmantel purposefully shielded their smaller festival from the escalating amounts of hype surrounding their other events. The one-dayer was a hidden gem, effortlessly charming and cherished by those who knew where to find it. This year the organisation decided to expand Lente Kabinet’s remit further still with a lineup that rivalled, perhaps even bettered, their main event and allowed the Het Twiske location to stretch its legs across two days and a more expansive layout on the site just north of Amsterdam.

This new approach was discernible from the offset but while the scale increased, the feel on the first day at least was much the same. Still a majority local crowd and still defined by a more spirited and less serious program than its bigger sister. Lente Kabinet marks the beginning of a hectic festival season in the Dutch capital. Thankfully that unique sense of occasion is not easily shaken off.

A new, larger mainstage allowed for more live acts like Ebo Taylor, Kelela and Kamaal Williams but was a bit oversized for the DJs in between. Byron The Aquarius and Vic Crezee displayed some serious chemistry back to back in the sunshine on the first day and Hunee brought his signature exuberant disco on day two. Still, this stage lacked the raw atmosphere of some of the smaller ones.

The secret church stage became significantly less secret this time around, moving to the centre of the site where it was impossible to miss but without a published line-up, offered a pot-luck prospect. Red Light Radio’s was the only stage to remain largely unchanged from previous years and, as usual, provided plenty of standout moments from both local DJs and a peppering of esoteric international bookings. DMX Crew’s live performance on Saturday was full of infectious rippling acid warming the crowd up for Red Light Radio co-founder Orpheu The Wizard who closed day one with a gripping set full of new wave and synth rarities.

On Sunday, DJ Overdose and DJ Assault were on hand to close the same stage maintaining the tradition of heaving, sweaty closers with the crowd clambering around the small corrugated archway in front of the booth. Young Marco also drew a huge crowd on stage two with a characteristically fearless and sprawling set from the local legend. Lente Kabinet has always been a festival that harnesses Amsterdam’s tight-knit and open-minded music scene and as that scene continues to thrive, it’s only right that Lente Kabinet has done the same.

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Words: Jack Dolan

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