Sacred Ground Festival 2019 was a whirlwind of heavy sounds, stunning sunshine and mystic surrounds.
Nestled amidst wheat-fields and wind turbines in Northern Germany, the fifth edition of this micro-festival showcased new and established electronic artists from Berlin and beyond. With a capacity of around 1,000 this year, the ethos of creativity, experimentation and intimacy shone throughout the three-day event.
Day One saw the trains and shuttles deposit bedraggled Berliners seeking refuge from the summer showers. With no sign of the rain giving chase, it was straight over to the Main Stage, backed up against a former farm building, to kickstart the festival with Aussie blues band, The Teskey Brothers.
Electro duo, HVOB provided one of the stand-out sets of the weekend.
With evening turning to night, electro duo, HVOB provided one of the stand-out sets of the weekend with a signature, synth-led performance. Legendary Austrian DJ, Peter Kruder (of Kruder & Dorfmeister) played out the night, with a barn-storming set navigating all the way from techno to garage, via Prince. Those with remaining stamina hopped over to the Circus Tent to dance in the morning.
Day Two called for an extended dip in the nearby lake, where festivalers washed away their hangovers. Others headed to the yoga and mindfulness sessions being run in a next-door neighbour’s garden. One more coffee (provided by the team behind Berlin’s beloved Katie’s Blue Cat cafe) and the crowd were ready for more Main Stage action.
Tora, a fourpiece from Byron Bay, Australia, were the perfect add-on to a lazy Saturday morning. The floaty indie the group are known for (something between Foals and Two Door Cinema Club) showed why Sacred Ground keep on inviting them back.
Those smart enough to get down early witnessed some moving piano pieces from Joram Feitsma in a packed out church opened up especially for the set. Elsewhere, in the Ambient Area, others experienced the experimentalism of the Kame House label heads.
Tora were the perfect add-on to a lazy Saturday morning.
The Saturday afternoon-evening slots were dedicated to weird and wonderful women in the shape of a DJ set from Gudrun Gut and a live show from Perel. Curses kept the dark and dangerous vibe going before handing over to the headliners.
To close the evening, Matthew Jonson and festival organisers Frank Wiedemann and Ry X teamed up on the stage for a techno-leaning performance that proved the highlight of the night.
Day Three began with a wide-ranging DJ set from Nabihah Iqbal (formerly known as Throwing Shade). Starting off with some relaxed reggae, Iqbal’s performance sprawled across three hours, covering almost every imaginable electro sub-genre (including a nostalgic nod to her UK roots with some garage and drum & bass from the archives). From there, New Yorker, Duendita balanced the mood back out with her soulful, intricate ballads.
Ry X, singer, producer and festival organiser extraordinaire ended the weekend’s revelries with his instantly recognisable, mellow sounds.
Ry X, singer, producer and festival organiser extraordinaire ended the weekend’s revelries with his instantly recognisable, mellow sounds. Accompanied by just his keyboardist onstage, this was an opportunity to hear more raw, scaled back versions of his biggest songs, ‘Berlin’ and ‘Howling’, as well as some of the second album, released earlier this year.
Sacred Ground have hit on a winning formula of a magical setting and a wonderfully diverse musical line-up. A shiny needle in a glorious haystack.