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Thursday Photo Recap @ MEO Kalorama 2023 (Lisbon,

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This past weekend, Music Festival Wizard dropped into Lisbon to catch the 2nd edition of Portugal’s MEO Kalorama Festival and it did not disappoint! Kicking off our coverage from the 3-day fest (August 31-September 2) are photos from the absolutely stacked opening day with highlights from Blur, The Prodigy, Shame, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Amyl & The Sniffers

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Metronomy

Shame

Blur

The Prodigy

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The Scene: All The Electronic You Can Eat @ Family Piknik

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Since 2012, Family Piknik has been reimagining the concept of electronic festivals in the south of France. Based out of Montpellier, organizers focus on the best of the underground scene while making music accessible to all ages in a boutique-style atmosphere.

I’ve traveled from the MFW world headquarters in Montpelier, Vermont, to see how they festival in our sister city of Montpellier, France. I’ve only been to France to cover indie rock fests in the past so this is my first time sampling a French electronic festival. Family Piknik is also my 120th fest that I’ve covered for Music Festival Wizard, so I’m enjoying that small milestone over the weekend. Let’s get into the rundown!

Click here to see photos from Family Piknik 2023

Table Of Contents

1. Running the Numbers
2. The Scene
3. Music Highlights

4. Stray Observations
5. Travel Tips
6. Final Thoughts

1. Running the Numbers

Dates: August 4-6, 2023
Editions: 9
Attendance: 6000 est. per day
Artists: 40+
MFW Beer Index: €7.50/500ml
MFW French Fry Index: €4.00
Highest/Lowest Temperature: 29C/19C (84F/64F)
Reusable Cups? Yes
Free Water Stations? Yes

2. The Scene

The Venue
The festivities of Family Piknik takes place just outside the city in the seaside haven of Frontigan. Family Piknik has a very simple setup with one main stage and a smaller, chilled out spot called the Nomad Stage. Both are covered and provide some protection from the sun and wind coming in from the beach. There are some food stalls on site, but you are more than welcome to bring your own picnic as the name would suggest. I didn’t have the gear to camp this year, but the tent area featured shady trees and easy access to the festival. There are even glamping options available for those of you looking to spend the weekend in style.

The Music
My love for smaller festivals this year continues unabated with Family Piknik. With no major lineup clashes, you are able to see every major artist on the schedule and the smaller crowd size meant little difficulty getting close to the music. In line with their mission of bringing the music to the people, Friday night was a free show open to all followed by two packed days of performers.

The Crowd
This is a small, cozy festival with a super-friendly French crowd. This is not a headbanging, pump-your-fist, and scream-on-the-rails type of festival, and the fans reflect it. As a photographer trying to navigate my way through throngs of people, the fans here could not have been more helpful, actively giving me space or indicating that I should take their spot to get better pictures.

3. Music Highlights

Acts I Caught and the Unofficial Order in Which I Enjoyed Them

  • Carl Cox
  • Joplyn
  • Hannes Bieger
  • Abstraal
  • Nakadia
  • Ben Bohmer
  • Roman Garcia
  • Automatic Writing
  • Josh Wink
  • Tom Pooks & Sebass
  • Patrice Baumel
  • Christopher Coe

Festival MVP: Carl Cox
You could palpably feel the excitement when electronic legend, Carl Cox took to the stage for a hybrid-live set. It’s wild watching a 61-year-old DJ fire up a crowd.

Most Intriguing: Hannes Bieger
I can’t even pretend to understand what Hannes Bieger, one of the scene’s best mixing engineers, is up to on stage, but I like it.

Up and Coming: Joplyn
A proudly independent artist out of Berlin, Joplyn brought a burst of fresh energy and positive vibes to Sunday afternoon.

4. Stray Observations

In Dust We Trust
On both days I attended, there were some strong gusts of wind coming in off the sea bringing more sand than I would typically like at a festival. I recommend bringing a scarf.

Costume Of The Week
I will never understand why Europeans are obsessed with a German-based grocery store called LIDL, but I admire their dedication.

Signs You Are In France
They serve wine bottles at the fest!

 

5. Practical Info

What’s the weather like? The heatwave is over for now in Europe so temps were typical seaside Mediterranean – hot during the day, but bring something warmer for when the sun goes down.

What are the prime hours for music? Music starts early in the day so you really can make a picnic of it. It seemed like the bulk of people filling the place up were from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am.

Where did you sleep? I stayed across the street from the train station at the Best Western Plus Comedie for all three nights. There are a ton of places to eat nearby, a small grocery store at the train station, and just a few blocks away from the city center. I regretted not taking advantage of the onsite camping.

How do you get there? The easiest access to the event is by train from the St. Roch station in Montpellier (€4.70 OW). The only downside is that the last train back is at 10:00 pm so you will miss a few of the headlining DJs or need to book the festival bus. Cabs were prohibitively expensive, so better options are to sign up for the Family Piknik bus that runs after the event is over or just drive down and park.

6. Final Thoughts

In our corporate dominated festival landscape, I’m really encouraged by DIY fests like Family Piknik creating experiences outside the box and reworking the concept of the modern day music fest.

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Photo Gallery: Family Piknik 2023 (Montpellier, France)

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Take some Carl Cox, Adam Beyer, and a bunch of world-class talent, add a dash of seaside sun, mix it up it the south of France, and you are ready to feast on the annual Family Piknik.  Music Festival Wizard stopped in the Mediterranean city of Frontignan just outside Montpellier for three days of dancing under the sun and stars. Below is our photo recap of what went down at Family Piknik over the weekend.

Abstraal

Roman Garcia

Nakadia

Joplyn

Hannes Bieger

Carl Cox

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Photo Gallery: Riding Into Germany’s Maifeld Derby 2023

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The 12th edition of the Maifeld Derby Festival in Mannheim, Germany, just wrapped up and it was another stellar weekend of music from across all genres. Friday’s highlights included Los Bitchos, Mitsune, Surf Curse, and Bat for Lashes just to name a few. See all the action from the first day of the festival in the photo gallery below.

Photo Gallery: Saturday @ Maifeld Derby 2023
Photo Gallery: Sunday @ Maifeld Derby 2023

Say She She

Los Bitchos

Sevdaliza

Surf Curse

Death Grips

Mitsune

Kerala Dust

Bat For Lashes

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Photo Gallery: Back In The Saddle @ Maifeld Derby 2023

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It’s day two of the Maifeld Derby taking place in Mannheim, Germany, and we are back with another photo recap of what went down. Standout sets from today include the never-boring Viagra Boys, electro-pop from Noga Erez, and one of the best live indie rock bands currently on tour, Phoenix.

Photo Gallery: Friday @ Maifeld Derby 2023
Photo Gallery: Sunday @ Maifeld Derby 2023

Lime Garden

Caroline Rose

Sinkane

Noga Erez

Viagra Boys

Loyle Carner

Warpaint

Phoenix

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Photo Gallery: Sunday Funday @ Maifeld Derby 2023

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So I thought I would post one large gallery, but Maifeld Derby in Mannheim is such an easily accessible festival with so many interesting artists that here I am on a third giant-size set of pics from the weekend. Highlights from the final day were capped off by an amazing set by M83 and a super-fun afternoon with Ekkstacy and Baxter Dury. Check out what we saw below.

Photo Gallery: Saturday @ Maifeld Derby 2023
Photo Gallery: Friday @ Maifeld Derby 2023

Sorry

Baxter Dury

Ekkstacy

Indigo Sparke

M83

Tamino

Interpol

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The Scene: Horsing Around @ Maifeld Derby 2023

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Germany’s Maifeld Derby pulled off its 12th edition without missing a beat. Founded in 2011, the Mannheim festival has the feel of a live mix tape given to you by a close friend. Taking place over three days in June at an equestrian racetrack, this boutique festival has become a solid fixture in the European indie festival scene.

I don’t have a favorite festival, but I do have a short list of fests that I love and Maifeld Derby is at the top. Like other independent events, the pandemic was not kind to those of us in the industry who didn’t have the backing of a corporation, so I’m just happy to see Maifeld Derby on the other side. Let’s take a look at what went down during my third visit.

Click here to see Friday photos at the Maifeld Derby
Click here to see Saturday photos at the Maifeld Derby
Click here to see Sunday photos of the Maifeld Derby

Table Of Contents

1. Running the Numbers
2. The Scene
3. Music Highlights

4. Stray Observations
5. Travel Tips
6. Final Thoughts

Running the Numbers

Dates: June 16-18, 2023
Editions: 12
Attendance: 5,000 per day est.
Artists: 61
MFW Beer Index: €4.80 per pint
MFW French Fry Index: €4.00
Highest/Lowest Temperature: 33C/14C (88F/61F)
Reusable Cups? Yes
Free Water Stations? Yes

The Scene

The Venue
Held at a horse racing track, Maifeld Derby is one of the easiest festivals you will ever navigate. With two tents flanking an outdoor stage along with a fourth that features covered stadium seating, everything can be reached in a few minutes. A small footprint and reusable cups (€2 deposit required) meant the grounds were super clean. The two tents can get super stuffy during the day but provide ample shade and cover in this rainy region.

The Music
Probably one of the best ways to discover new music, Maifeld Derby never disappoints with its eclectic lineup. Whether it’s Japanese neo-folk with Mitsune, Israeli electro-pop from Noga Erez, or post-punk rocked out by cumgirl8, I always find fresh artists to add to a playlist. There are clashes, but with a little planning, it’s possible to see all the major and mid-acts with some room to explore the smaller stages where you’ll find plenty of emerging talent.

The Crowd
One of the reasons I adore this fest is that it still remains relatively undiscovered by an international crowd with a friends-and-family style atmosphere. I estimated daily capacity at about 5,000 festies and the organizers have stated in the past that they don’t want to grow past this size. I also don’t have the data on hand but believe Maifeld Derby has the highest tattoo-to-attendee record in Europe.

Music Highlights

Acts I Caught and the Unofficial Order in Which I Enjoyed Them

Click here to see Part #1 of the Maifeld Derby photo gallery
Click here to see Part #2 of the Maifeld Derby photo gallery
Click here to see Part #3 of the Maifeld Derby photo gallery

  • Phoenix
  • M83
  • Viagra Boys
  • Los Bitchos
  • Warpaint
  • Mitsune
  • Surf Curse
  • Jack Botts
  • EKKstacy
  • Sinkane
  • Noga Erez
  • Baxter Dury
  • Interpol
  • Bat For Lashes
  • Say She She
  • Sorry
  • Caroline Rose
  • Sevdaliza
  • Loyle Carner
  • Death Grips
  • Tamino
  • Kerala Dust

Festival MVP: Phoenix
What can I say? As a photographer, I’m a sucker for crowd-based antics especially when Thomas Mars starts riding around on a sea of hands. Add a disco ball along with hits like “Lisztomania” and “1901” and you have the recipe for my favorite act of the fest.

Most Surprising: Mitsune
Death Grips was so loud and so insane that I immediately left after taking a few pictures and ended up catching Mitsune. I’m really glad I did as this was one of the most intriguing bands of the weekend. Playing Japanese neo-folk music on traditional instruments, it’s such a unique act that it’s hard not to get caught up in it.

Keep Your Eye On: Los Bitchos
This is one of the buzziest bands on the festival circuit this year knocking out surf rock adjacent tunes that are light on the lyrics and heavy on a laid-back summer vibe.

Ready to Party: Viagra Boys
Punk rock Swedes, Viagra Boys, came out heavy, only stopping for swigs of whisky and low-key comedy. A sample of frontman Sebastian Murphy riffing:

“Hopefully you are better than the crowd we had last night in Switzerland!”
The German crowd boos the lame Swiss. 
“Thank you! We are the Viagra Boys from Switzerland.”

Debut Festival Appearance (For Me): M83
I mostly knew M83 from their huge hit “Midnight City” so was really curious how their live show would play out. Definitely my favorite set from Sunday with founding member Anthony Gonzalez fronting a full band and jammy new tunes. Weird fact – M83 did the entire soundtrack to the Morgan Freeman movie Oblivion.

Stray Observations

Riding The Rail At Death Grips
The energy in a Death Grips crowd is insane. You can just feel it pulsing from the start of the soundcheck and it never lets up.

MZW Art
The Mut Zur Wut exhibit mixes social commentary with humor and art. Some of my favorites are below.

Whoops.
Drum sticks. Sunglasses. People be losing stuff on stage.

T-Shirt of the Weekend
It turns out that he did not in fact want to fuck me.

Practical Info

What’s the weather like? Germany is in a bit of a drought this summer so rain was almost non-existent. Temps can be warm in the late afternoon, but I was comfortable in just shorts and a t-shirt. And when it gets really hot, as it did on Sunday, try switching over from beer to a Radler (lemondade+beer) as my new recommendation for  summertime sipping.

What are the prime hours for music? Tunes start a little later on Friday (4:45 pm) and stop a bit earlier on Sunday (10:00 pm), but overall, the main acts happen between 6:oo pm to midnight.

Where did you sleep? Although it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had camping at a festival (cool weather, spacious spots, quiet neighbors), I did not have my gear this year and had to settle for staying in a hotel with a shower, black-out curtains, and air-conditioning. I suffered through the conditions like a champ.

How do you get there? Mannheim is blessed with loads of public transport, and I rarely waited more than 15 minutes. Your fest ticket also covered local transit so there is really no reason not to use it. I stayed across the river from Mannheim with a direct tram that ran right from my front door to the venue.

Final Thoughts

Some festivals you grow out of, and some fests, like Maifeld Derby, just seem to get better with age. I know some of you reading this think that music festivals are 50,000 drunk maniacs camping in a flooded field listening to generic music, but Maifeld Derby asks, what if it wasn’t like that?

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Sunday Photo Recap @ Tuska Festival 2023 (Helsinki,

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Just another typical Sunday in the rain with 20,000 screaming metal heads. The last day of Tuska in Helsinki went off in the best possible way with killer sets from Eskimo Callboy, Ghost, and The Hu. It’s easy to see why this festival has such a dedicated fan base and I’m looking forward to the next 20 years of Tuska.

See the Friday photo recap at Tuska 2023 here.
See the Saturday photo recap at Tuska 2023 here.

Smackbound

Lorna Shore

Eskimo Callboy

The Hu

Delain

Ghost

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Saturday Photo Recap @ Tuska Festival 2023 (Helsinki,

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Saturday at Helsinki’s Tuska Festival found me photographing back to back to back sets starting with Clutch, rolling into Finntroll, followed by Motionless in White, In Flames, and Butcher Babies. Lots of friendly metal heads here and overall one of the nicest festivals I’ve ever attended.

See the Friday photo recap at Tuska 2023 here.
See the Sunday photo recap at Tuska 2023 here.

Clutch

Finntroll

Motionless in White

In Flames

Butcher Babies

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