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Review: Further Future festival, Nevada Desert

Dancing in the desert with a tech-savvy crowd.

I'm currently sat in the breakfast lounge of my oversized and underwhelming hotel in Las Vegas, when I should actually be back at my villa in Ibiza, where I imagined I'd be sipping coffee on the terrace by now, telling my wife and cat all the incredible stories of what went on this weekend. But yet again, thanks to airport delays, I now have the pleasure of another 48 hours in this toy town, hemmed in by people consuming maple syrup pancakes in biblical proportions. I've gone from the company of inspirational people to being surrounded by the village of the damed in under 24 hours - it's making me reflect on the total contrasts I've experienced this weekend.

This four-day trip to the outskirts of Vegas was to take part in what is best described as a new vision for an intimate music festival. Further Future is different in its outlook and planning on so many levels. For those of you unfamiliar with the event, which just finished its second year, Further Future is an offshoot of the highly respected Robot Heart Camp from the infamous Burning Man festival. It's not for everyone, which actually makes it so much more unique and appealing to the people lucky enough to attend. If, like me, your days of standing in a field with tons of wasted people doesn't cut it anymore, then Further Future is a total breath of fresh air. It really is like an intimate, curated Burning Man style event - it's a place where you're going to hear and see some incredible music talent, combined with tech talks from world industry leaders, in a location that is best described as a festival on the Moon.

We arrived by the airport shuttle bus on Friday with more excitement than a fat kid in a candy store. High fives all round, sunglasses on, bags dropped in the RV, and it was full steam ahead into the madness that lay on the horizon. In my opinion, the first night is always the biggest, it's a case of all out and all in! We head to the well-titled Mothership arena - the main stage of the event where the voice of Danielle Moore boomed out across the desert - and what better way to start the night's antics than a full live show from the legendary group, Crazy P. It was the perfect sundown soundtrack that got everyone right in the vibe before they handed the mantle over to whomadewho. At this point I have no further recollection of what happened over the next 10 hours, but I can tell you the sunrise set on the Robot Heart bus was amazing. Either way, it signalled the time for bed.

It was mid-afternoon before most of my fellow comrades surfaced, and a stop at the wellness area for a much-needed massage and hug from some very nice and sympathetic people set us up again for the next step on this musical, Mad Max adventure in the desert. For any of you who previously attended the iconic Southport Weekender events and managed to drag yourself to the Bacardi Bar for Saturday afternoons, you will be familiar with that warm, hazy vibe, deep, chubby soundtrack, and great atmosphere that brings you back from the dead. Well in a nutshell, the Void Village tent was as close to that as you could ever dream of. Without any doubt, my top 10 DJs would include Derrick Carter, Inland Knights and Joeski, so to have these guys pretty much back to back in an intimate venue is a total ‘knocking it out the park' booking. Hats off and huge respect to Swamy for pulling that off! It was the highlight of the whole weekend for us - simple, back to basics, the real deal house music, from some of the best guys in the business.

Aside from music, Futher Future is also about its speaker series, and checking out some of the most iconic names in the tech industry, including those from silicon valley to masters of virtual reality and space exploration. When you get the opportunity to mingle and listen to thought leaders on this scale it would be rude not to sit back and take it all in. And herein lies the beauty of FF - it's not just another music festival, it's not just a place just for DJs and artists, it's also an event where you're guaranteed to meet people actually making a difference in this world. Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google / Alphabet was the highlight, as expected - it was a very humbling and incredibly engaging talk from one of the most visionary people in the tech scene.

Trying to summarise this weekend in one short article is practically impossible. As expected, there were iconic musical highlights like Nicolas Jaar on the Mothership stage - he went straight into his usual deep, hypnotic chugs and beats: always consistent and always a pleasure to watch; Dixon dropping Depeche Mode, which echoed out into the vast desert and beyond; and The Pharcyde playing a full live hip hop set. The finale on Monday morning and for me, my favourite moment, was DJ Tennis on the bus at sunrise - it was as emotional and reflective as you might expect. The sun rising across the Nevada Desert, casting light and shadows across the art installations, and people dancing in a warm hypnotic glow of orange light - it's moments like this that make this group of people so unique and this event so special, and to be there in the midst of all the magic, such a privilege. Further Future came and went in a blink of an eye, a flash of light, and warm heart full of beautiful memories. To old friends and new, thank you for the moments! It was a total dream!


WORDS + PHOTOGRAPHY | Ricardo Porteus / bleep.me

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