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Last weekend, ‘deep house’ took on a very literal meaning as music enthusiasts flocked to Dalarna, 280 km northwest of Stockholm, for Into the Valley Music Festival, a brand new two-day celebration of electronic music. The venue? A dramatically beautiful limestone quarry 60 metres below ground level.
The quarry itself, known as Dalhalla, is the result of a gigantic meteor collision that took place roughly 360 million years ago. An ancient catastrophe whose modern day result now illuminates an area of immense natural beauty, nestled below green forest and complete with a turquoise lake.
Although previously hosting a combination of opera, choral, jazz and alternative music (past acts include Sigur Rós and Arcade Fire) this year the amphitheatre was re-imagined into an open-air club hosting a line up of world class deep house DJs from London to Berlin. The cutting-edge line up included Ben Klock, Carl Craig, John Talabot, Nicolas Jaar, Four Tet and Dixon to name a few (click here for full lineup). Enthusiasm was high as festival-goers trickled in on Friday afternoon, beginning the 10-minute descent to the base of the valley. Confronted with a majestic aerial view of the 36-metre wide open-air stage and surrounding turquoise pool, many stopped to snap panoramas, selfies and GoPro shots.
Despite already drawing a fairly niche crowd of deep house connoisseurs, Into the Valley organisers discreetly filtered attendees further with an age limit of 23 and up, resulting in a notably tame crowd (Cityfox and Burning Man regulars might even say too tame). Stylish Swede’s in minimalist black garb and limited edition sneakers merged with international ravers in neon outfits and the occasional wild card, a young man from Madrid unapologetically dressed in a voluminous wedding dress and fur coat, for example.
As the sun set into eerie moonlight, an impressive artificial light show commenced, building momentum around a much anticipated joint set by Dixon and his label mate Âme. The crowd swarmed the main stage while the musical masterminds morphed atmospheric tracks with recognisable beats, among which a remix of Hayden James’s ‘Something About You’ caused a collective howl of approval from the audience.
In its inaugural year, against a backdrop of unparalleled natural beauty, Into The Valley festival managed to draw some of the most wanted DJs of the moment, as well as music lovers from around the globe, deep into the heart of the Swedish forest. In this remote location an urban club was recreated for an unforgettable 48 hours. Music-centric, unpretentious and fairly affordable (starting at €160) Into the Valley is well on its way to becoming the late summer festival everyone’s been waiting for, but likely hasn’t even heard of.
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