Horizon Festival 2015

CraigCharlesHorizonIt’s snowing so much in Bansko, Bulgaria that even ‘12 Inches Of Snow’ feels like an inadequate soundtrack. It’s more like ‘3 Feet High And Rising’. That’s good news for Horizon Festival, which has taken over the town for a week. Ask any adrenaline junkie and they’ll tell you there’s nothing quite like skiing on a mountain of pure, white powder.

The festival’s main stage, Mountain Creek, springs up beside the slope towards the bottom of Bansko’s sublime main ski run. This means on the opening Sunday afternoon you could ski right into Craig Charles’ two hour funk and soul set, get some ‘Sexual Healing’, then just coast back to town.

After a hard day on the piste and on the piss, the festival keeps the party going long into the wee small hours by taking over a host of Bansko nightclubs and filling them with a well-shuffled pack of DJs. First up there’s Jack’s House, where barmaids light cigarettes and shots with flamethrowers while the likes of Bulgarian native Nick Nikolov and Brits like Paleman and El-B chart a course from euphoric house to classic garage.

Just round the corner there’s Oxygen, a tiny, packed sweatbox where Om Unit lays down furious drum and bass while a guy with a t-shirt saying ‘Laughing Gaz’ is selling nitrous and giggling all the way to the bank. The festival even takes over a couple of Go Go clubs, like the Red Rose ‘Erotic Dance Club’. You haven’t really experienced Eastern European debauchery until you’ve seen strippers hassle startled dance music heads, but the real action is behind the decks where The Menendez Brothers and Benton bring an old school jungle vibe to proceedings. It ain’t what the Go Go girls usually dance to, that’s for sure.

The jewel in Horizon’s crown is Gardenia. Located beneath an unassuming hotel where many of the festival’s artists stay is a serious sound system with a dream dancefloor. The line-up is just as good, with LA hip-hop hero and 808 king Egyptian Lover going back to back with local live techno legend KiNK until 5am on the opening night. The slopes will be open again in just a few hours. No rest for the wicked.

For Mixmag.