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Review: Lovin Ibiza Festival at Ushuaïa

Summer blew in and blew out as Lovin Ibiza Festival brought the crowds for one big pre-season weekend.

One day I'm strolling around a nearly deserted Playa d'en Bossa with closed shop fronts and quiet streets, then I blink and people are swarming all over the place, arriving by the coach load in full summer get up and chanting and cheering like Spain's won the world cup again. Lovin Ibiza Festival's Ushuaïa leg drew peak season sized crowds on Saturday, the beach front super club opening for one evening only like a clam revealing its pearls.

Ushuaïa as a venue was in fine form: lighting and stage production as lavish and professional as usual, surfaces sparkling and sound booming, with a reduced VIP section to accommodate the island's prematurely swollen population funneling into the site. The first act to make a big impression on me musically was Los Suruba, the Spanish boys in black covering a lot of creative musical ground within their slot, from dark and heavy tech numbers, to ethereal vocal melodies, to upbeat and festive tracks like the horn blowing 'Cichito' by Stop File. The sun was barely down before fireworks started squirting from the stage front and, though all was nicely done, Ushuaïa maintained this slightly over-zealous approach to production throughout the night. Just ask clubbers in the front section, who were forced into a frosty foetal position every twenty minutes or so, when the ice cannons were periodically blasted out into the definitely-not-summer-yet air.

Kaleshy put in a solid tech house effort, during which lovely ladies descended from the Ushuaïa stage roof, twisting and turning within heart-shaped hoops, but it was next in line, Uner, who stole the show. Bringing up the tempo as well as the energy, he toyed with a willing crowd, stringing out tension with long build-ups and shattering it with booming drops. Dark and deep tech house numbers were interspersed by more easy going house favourites like Laurent Garnier's 'Man With The Red Face' and Hot Natured's 'Reverse Sky Diving.' The funky foot stomping gave way to hippy hand twirling as Uner slid one of last year's classics, 'Howling' (Ame remix of Frank Wiedemann and Ry Cuming) in just before changeover.

Nic Fanciulli romped in the final hours with deep and vigorous sounds and was extremely well received by the excitable crowd. Whilst technically on point, he wasn't as creative as his predecessor and so didn't rule the night for me, but this is splitting hairs on what was essentially a very successful pre-season party for both Ushuaïa and Lovin Ibiza. Just pop a cork on those ice cannons until it gets nice and toasty, mmk Ushuaïa?

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