If you live in New York City, you know this is the land of Techno and the free. Although every weekend here is a massive party, New York state as a whole has been missing something special. Luckily the brilliant minds at Teksupport realized this void and did the New York dance scene some justice! Bringing us to the mountains of Catskills New York, and gracing us with a wonderful festival spanning across four stages for Memorial Day weekend! This two-day weekend festival was filled with many amazing moments and a diverse line up for even the most stubborn techno snob to enjoy, Gather Festival was truly one I won’t forget.
Starting with Friday evening, New Yorker’s were given two options thanks to Teksupport. Load in early a day before the festival and spend it with your best buds, or head over to Scott 99 in Brooklyn for the American debut of Amelie Lens‘ branded show “Exhale.” The Exhale showcased amazing artists such as Lady Starlight (Live) and NYC local Julia Govor. I personally opted to do the Exhale show and was not disappointed whatsoever! Entering the venue right when Lady Starlight’s set started, and for the next hour, I was taken on the perfect techno warehouse journey. Her set was very melodic and had a mixture of new school and old school vibes. Afterward, we were treated with two hours of non-stop action from Ms. Lens herself… If you’re familiar with her sound, you know that this was a hard-hitting and fast-paced set. Ending off with a beautiful Neotrance track, two hours really felt like 15 minutes with this set. Lastly, Ms. Govor took over the decks and closed out the warehouse party her way, booming beats, alongside a beautiful sunset to greet us on our way out.
Gather Day One Vibes…
Finally, the first day of Gather had arrived! While this was a camping festival, I’d opted to make the short hour and a half journey from the Bronx. The drive was smooth and gave me plenty of time to get into the mood for the festival. Although it’s considered upstate New York, the drive was short and pleasant. I arrived at the parking lot and jumped on the quick shuttle ride. I was on my way to the mountain tops! One thing I really loved about Gather was how quick and effective everything was. Everything from hopping on the shuttle to getting back and forth to the parking lot, to checking in… Teksupport really hit the nail on the dot considering this is a first-year festival.
I started off my Gather experience by heading over to the Beach stage to catch Mira‘s set. It was my first time seeing her and I was really impressed with how she set the mood. It wasn’t too fast nor too slow, it was just right, and it was such a pleasure to enjoy her tunes while the sun set over the mountain tops for the first night. Afterward, I took a stroll down to the Hemlock stage to see Matador, and what happened next for the following hour was unbelievable! I was blown away musically… it is safe to say I was taken to CHURCH! From Matador playing his own remix of Domino by Oxia, to dropping the hard floor mix of Yeke Yeke by Mory Kante, the journey I was taken on was unforgettable and truly a highlight of the weekend already.
After Matador I had a few hours to roam around, but what I didn’t know was a pleasant surprise was coming my way. I didn’t plan on seeing Floorplan but as soon as they took the stage after Matador and I began to hear the lyrics “In the beginning there was Jack and Jack had a groove. And from this groove came the grooves of all grooves.” I immediately parked myself in the front of the stage and was taken to House heaven. While Techno is amazing, my love for house music is strong and it was amazing to unexpectedly hear such a groovy set. Unfortunately, it began to pour after this set, which lead me to close off my night with Victor Calderone and Paco Osuna. Both Techno legends in their own right, it became clear the weather took a toll on the crowd and only the die-hard fans made it out to these sets. Shoutout to Teksupport for giving out free ponchos to everyone, it really made a huge difference.
Gather Day Two Vibes…
Day two of Gather arrived and it started off much like the first day, another short drive and back on the mountain tops! Unlike the previous day where I wasn’t exactly familiar with a lot of the artists, day two had some real personal favorites like MK and Amelie Lens. My favorite House producer MK started the day off and played a very different and diverse set. Only playing two of his own personal songs throughout the set, it wasn’t what I was expecting from him, but he still had me moving. I’m sure due to his crazy tour schedule he was burned out as he seemed very tired but made sure he put in the effort to have plenty of crowd interaction. Even after his set he came to the side of the stage and took photos with all of us, he was kind, polite and understanding to his fans. It was a dream come true to meet a producer I have followed since the beginning of my House music journey.
Following MK, I made sure to see the next House legend on this special line up, Danny Tenaglia! This was another set that took me to church, as this was my first time fully seeing Tenaglia play. Without a doubt, he had the biggest crowd in attendance during his set. Although he played House at the “Techno Festival,” the energy was unreal for his set! The bass kept hitting my chest and the lights lit up the Catskills mountain skyline. It was so much fun and even House legend Mr.G jumped on one of the festival speakers and started break dancing. It’s moments like this that really made Gather standout from many of the other Techno festivals I’ve been to. Although it was the first year the sense of unity was truly there, it was as if we all met and decided to throw this insane party together.
The beginning of the end started to take place, so I closed out the Hemlock stage with FJAAK and Amelie Lens. Having no idea what FJAAK boys were all about, my curiosity ran wild but not disappointed! The fast-paced Techno set had my heart beating for this one, and not being familiar with their music made me walk away as a huge fan of their style. If you are looking for something faster and fresh within the Techno scene, these are the guys you want to check out. Lastly, it was Ms. Lens time to take over the decks, and like her Scott 99 set, it was fast and furious from beginning to end. To me, Amelie Lens was the perfect closer to shut down this brand new festival, her energy on stage is contagious and makes you want to dance that much more!
Overall Teksupport support did an amazing job with this festival. Considering this was the first year and most first-year festivals have growing pains, I was truly impressed with how organized and efficient everything was. Some of the minor things that could use improvement overall would include adding more bathrooms, including signage with better directions would be nice as I found myself having moments of confusion on stage directions. Although the weather cannot be helped, better flooring for the Beach stage would have been helpful as when it began to rain it became very muddy… and lastly, a free water station at this festival would go a really long way especially if it was overly hot this weekend.
Gather is a solid festival with a great foundation. After this first edition, my impression of the festival was it’s truly about having a solid line up and somewhat minimal, but impressive stage production at an affordable price, Gather can grow to become something much bigger than even the promoters themselves originally envisioned. Gather so far has been the highlight of my year and truly hope we get to see a second edition within 2020. Special thanks again to the Teksupport team for the amazing weekend and we will be back next year to Gather together again!