When I was asked to write a review for Urban Art Forms Festival, it didn’t take much convincing. Urban Art Forms is held in a site appropriately named the Arena Nova Playgrounds just south of Austria’s capital, Vienna. This labyrinthine setting plays host to a handful of enormous arenas, each with the capacity to hold at least two thousand elated Austrians flitting from stage to stage. The sheer immensity of space was abridged by the dizzying array of light and colour that dance relentlessly in the peripherals. It quickly became clear that at UAF an electrifying experience is the aim of the game.
The first night sprung surprises on us like we didn’t expect. Having been banded up as VIPs, press and Eristoff vodka guests we trundled into the site demanding beers and some form of explanation to our compulsion to travel via Slovakia into the realms of the Austrian mountains. We found our answer.
Every element of the production transforms ordinarily ugly stages and rooms into mysteriously beautiful, morphing designs of incomprehensible colour arrangements and infinite non-tangible shape formations. The aural delights of the three days ranged from various Austrian acts I’d never heard of to enormous names like Deadmau5, Fatboy Slim, Pendulum and Noisia.
UAF is known for having a strong drum & bass presence, with a stage hosted by Mainframe and graced by Phace & Misanthrop, Rockwell, Netsky, Andy C, S.P.Y, Subfocus, Marky, Culture Shock, Loadstar, Brookes Brothers, Camo & Krooked and tons more.
The festival’s tenure is that it does neither sound nor light by halves. The visuals are mastered meticulously as much as the programming of the line-up – this is the first festival I’ve been to that credits the visual’s collectives alongside the performing acts on the program. For drum and bass heads, the line-up speaks foritself. It touches on the dance-floor-friendly as well as accommodating the deeper, techier, scrumptiously rolling sound. Marky’s first 4 tunes alone sated our desire for such, and with Noisia’s sheer electro-tech storm closing the drum & bass stage on the last night, we could leave very happy ladies indeed.
Accommodation-wise, we opted for the five star choice which housed Deadmau5, Fatboy Slim, Andy C et al for the weekend, and the subsequent spa & swimming pool awaiting us in the mountainous regions of Wiener Neustadt was a nice way to off-set the quintessential festival experience awaiting each afternoon at the Nova Playgrounds, the music and madness of which went on right through ‘til sunrise.
UAF really does push the boundaries of the conventional sonic experience. They’ve pulled out all the stops in preparing a show unlike any other, with delicious music coming from all corners, including a parked Hummer truck omitting tech house and cocktails, and a Red Bull Music Academy stage featuring acts like Mala, Appleblim, Trolly Snatcha and Funtcase. An impressive, diverse and creative product of some very talented minds makes Urban Art Forms a staple destination for any lover of electronic music and nightlife of an alternative nature. Get involved.