Written by Jonno Coll
Amidst a sea of electronic music festivals, Dekmantel stands alone as being one of the scene’s true innovators.
With such competition, the temptation is often for promoters to play it safe and book from the same carousel of DJs that headline most such festivals. However Dekmantel breaks the mould, having taken countless bold risks with their lineups which have consistently paid off.
Having had the likes of John Talabot and Palms Trax close the mainstage in 2019 to rave reviews, it’s a trend they’re looking to continue in 2022.
We’ve picked out five acts that deserve your attention when you head to Amsterdamse Bos.
Job Veerman, better known as Identified Patient, is one of Holland’s most revered and eclectic DJs. Having frequently turned his hands to sets which switch between techno, acid and industrial he’s also become a firm favourite of the Dekmantel faithful, at both the main and Selectors editions of the festival.
For the last few years he’s closely aligned himself with Sophie du Palais, whose dark and atmospheric vocals are a feature throughout much of his sets. He set the standard with his outrageous debut Boiler Room Dekmantel set in 2018 and hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down since.
An obvious pick, yes, but a worthy one. Whenever the three-headed monster of Ben UFO, Pearson Sound and Pangea roll into town you’re duty bound to be there. Ben UFO is one of the last remaining “pure” DJs in the UK, while Pangea and Pearson Sound have both produced some of the genre’s biggest bangers alongside their stellar performances on the turntables.
The label began back in 2007 with its founders having met at school, and has since gone on to leave an indelible mark on techno, garage, dubstep and everything in between. They made the main stage their own with an outrageous B2B2B in 2014, and you wouldn’t bet against them doing it again this year.
London-based DJ SHERELLE put in a serious amount of outstanding work on her home city’s club circuit before eventually getting the recognition she deserved. Her big BBC Radio 1 break saw her bless the airwaves with jungle, drum and bass, footwork, and hip-hop before an Essential Mix of the Year accolade came her way in 2020. It’s a typically consistent and thrilling mix, heaving with high-speed rave tunes that never grew stale. This would then take her on to sold out shows across the country and countless high-profile festival slots, as she heads towards her maiden Dekmantel Festival performance.
Octo Octa & Eris Drew
To get personal with you for a moment, dear reader, together Octo Octa and Eris Drew produced the best set I have ever heard when they touched down in Manchester Depot a couple of years ago.
Partners in life just as they are in the DJ booth, the chemistry between them and atmosphere in the room is difficult to match. Their technical skills are equally incredible, as tracks that ought to have no business going together melt into one another seamlessly. The duo's Fabric mix is a good place to start if you want to get an idea of their unique mix of garage, techno and bass.
A second mention for the Berlin-based DJ in this article, but one at the opposite end of the festivals programming. Having previously headlined the main stage, this year’s extended four-hour set will instead open the festival. Closing the festival isn’t an offer extended to just anyone, and Palms Trax is a name worthy of such an accolade.
He began releasing music on Lobster Theremin back in 2013, his style has been constantly evolving ever since. More recently he’s been knocking out a heady mix of italo disco, afrobeat and house which has added to the collection of memorable parties from the artist. His opening set is a heck of an incentive to hit the festival site nice and early.
Dekmantel Festival 2022 takes place in Amsterdam, Netherlands from 3-8th August. For all the latest info take a look at our festival guide and join the Dekmantel Festival 2022 Waiting List.