Clash's Errol Anderson heads to the Alps to party amongst the peaks...
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So, the closest you’ve previously got to any après-ski is the main menu in SSX Tricky. And yet, here you are in southwest Switzerland – known for its wealth of skiing and snowboarding appreciators, but all you have are your dancing shoes, toiletries and some Swiss Franc dregs you picked up at Arrivals. Fear not, though, because Caprices Festival has the ability to make even the most blatant ski novice have a glorious time.
Set in the Crans-Montana region of Switzerland and toasting its 11th edition, this year's Caprices boasted big developments for EDM-tinged music in particular. For the very first time, the whole weekend was chock-a-block with DJs pumping electronic goodness surrounded by icicles, snow and winter scenes.
It’s quite the marathon in the grand scheme of festivals. Here, you can ingest nine days of musical sustenance, all of which is daintily sprinkled across a cluster of tented venues. Le Moon, the main nocturnal stomping ground, boasts awe-inspiring lighting that constantly mêlées with the music for your attention.
This year, the clubbing festivities opened with techno dons Richie Hawtin and Marco Carola, a live project by Gaiser, as well as an electric live performance by France’s unforgettable dOP. Jeff Mills, British legend Carl Cox, breakthrough sensation Gesaffelstein and Simon Delacroix also keep things moving through the weekend.
Then, in the nearby village, there are three club nights to help you two-step your way into the early AM: le Pacha, L’Xellent and le Monk’is all embody the spirit of 'Rock the Blocks'.
Meanwhile 2,200m above sea level, a clear-roofed pop-up club called Modernity hosts sets by top international DJs. Ricardo Villalobos and Sven Vath weave magic through their turntables all while the Discovery Channel-like beauty of the Alps looms in the back.
In keeping with Caprices' bespoke boutique approach, they make it easy to customise your experience and tailor it to your every desire. Go heavy on the pistes? No problems, travel light and hire your gear there, easy! It’s about not sweating the small stuff. Instead, enjoy a truly unique mountain festival experience to the beat of your own drum.
Oh, and we can’t fail to mention how getting from A to B in these snowy conditions is made a whole lot less turbulent by the Swiss train systems. TfL and Boris could take some notes from the economical transfer system that took me straight from Geneva to Crans and out the other side in Basel with enviable ease.
A little snippet of the Alps can never be a bad thing and Caprices Festival turns out to be quite the hidden treasure. How could you ever frown upon a delicatessen of contemporary greats snuggled into nine days of snow-based debauchery? A heady Alpine adventure most definitely awaited and, oh, did it deliver.
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Words: Errol Anderson
Photo Credit: Marc Ducrest