I've been to many fests in the past 20 years including a few legendary ones (Samothraki DF 2002, Solstice 2002, SUN 2014, ZNA 2017).
It was a close battle between ZNA 2017 and SDF 2002 for the number 1 position and I had given it to ZNA 2017. A lot of people were making the same comparison, some gave it to SDF others to ZNA.
I can say without a doubt that ZNA 2022 crashes both EASILY!!! The music has PHENOMENAL, the organisation had improved (unlike 2019 when they exceeded capacity and the majority of the ppl got sick.... all of my group got sick), the dancefloor energy and the friendliness of everyone is something that I haven't found anywhere else. Even the old-school Portuguese that have gone to many BOOMs since the beginning said that this year's ZNA was something out of this world!
The sound system quality overall was very good except for the Goa Guardians night, which for the third time has an awful sound.
Not so many Psynewers this year: Goa constrictor, Staffan, Joske (who was also playing) and I. These are the only regulars that I met.
Concerning the music:
Andrew Till played the best DJ set I've experienced EVER, dethroning Queen REE.K. It was 3 hours and I wish it was 3 days! It was weird, funny, powerful with amazing mixing and variety.
Sandman enters the pantheon of Demi-gods along with Hallucinogen and Graham Wood' TIP as the best live sets (now called producer sets) I've heard. Staffan was with me and can attest to me losing my mind. Can't describe it in words!
Other SPECTACULAR sets:
Cydonia (Steve and Dinos): I was actually on the dancefloor drinking beers with Iain Rive (also Cydonia) and Mark V D Flungt amongst other ppl. Iain was very happy and was telling us about who had done what at most tune.
Texas Faggott: Spectacular stuff, not too SuomiSaundi. I will make another post about a Hallucinogen remix he played that was a massive surprise
OOOD: Acidic fast & groovy party magic!
Nervasystem: Such an underrated artist. Amazing production, compositions, very groovy and rhythmic. Since he played at a tough hour (4-6 in the morning) he opted for a mellow/slower set and it was PERFECT.
Prana: Very nice to hear all the hits live and with all 3 members
RA: The biggest surprise of the fest. Better than Prana IMHO. Old-school and new-school stuff, kept everyone dancing for 2 hours
Ray Castle Vs Nick Taylor: Aussie weirdness + Ray's collaborations
X-Dream: top notch as usual
Laughing Buddha: Another great surprise, played a lot of Cosmosis too (as he was part of the group at the beginning)
Skizologic: The new-school strikes.
Hypnoxock: great variety and mix of styles, very original compositions (we knew about that) but he made it work on the dancefloor
Anoebis: I knew that Joske wanted to play a lot of unreleased and rare stuff. The first hour was OK, it's hard when there are so many unknown/strange/alternate tracks BUT the last 1.5 was a total bang.
Filteria: Great as usual
This fest, totally rekindled my passion for this music. It's the fest I've spent the most time on the dancefloor. Hardly any time at the Chill and a little time at the Market (Techno) stage, which was a great addition.
Honorable Mentions and Weird stuff:
- Der Dritte Raum at the Market stage: Hale Bopp of course!!!
- Emok at the Market stage: Great mix of prog and techno
- Gabriel le Mar at the Market stage: Really liked it
- Jaia at Chill: Only listened a bit but was really good
- Technossomy: Their equipment was stranded at customs because of Brexit so instead we got a 1,5 hour average DJ set + their big hits at the end
- Marc V D Flungt + Ian rive + Steve Ronan at the market stage (Marc was very stressed during all his sets since he hasn't played on the big stage in many years)
- UX: Either there was a problem with the drum machine or I don't know... it was out of beat all the time. Really struggled to stay, couldn't stand it, left quickly.
-Synchro: The organizers said he had COVID so he didn't come, I doubt it.
- BOTFB: Totally wrong time slot and I believe he had technical problems that he didn't even realize (probably the monitors were OK so it was only at the main PA)
- I still have no idea who the surprise act was. Wasn't there and didn't care to ask
- Chakra had a great reception from the crowd, not so much my cup of tea so just heard them from the lake
- Infected Mushroom FINALLY played something that resembled and old-school set because every time they've WERE SUPPOSED to play old-school in Athens, it hasn't been so. Strange that they didn't play Bust a Move (or maybe didn't hear it because at some point I was bored and went to the lake).
Stuff that I missed that I wanted to hear, but had to rest: Morphic Resonance, Intact Instict (really bummed for this), Holeg (Would have stayed if UX was acceptable)
Obviously there were a few that disappointed. Won't go into that. No need.
In the following days I will post tons of videos. Haven't started yet. Will add the channel link later.
It's also the first time in my life that I feel the festival blues..... I want to go back there NOW!!