Enhalon Festival 2019 Review

Written by Andrijan Apostoloski. Photography by Doan Akiti.

The first edition of Enhalon Festival (stylized as N-H // LON) was successful realization that lasted for 32 hours and was dispersed over three locations in Struga, Macedonia. The name of the festival itself was the old name of Struga, but except for that, the concept and the very idea behind it is to bring something new and to see into the future.

The festival starts…

The festival started on Friday with video showcases and live musical acts in the Home of Culture (will be referred to Hangar from now on), and one hour before midnight we moved to the Hangar itself (which is part of the same location – Home of Culture), this closed and very tall space that was perfect for a rave that was to come.

Bodan Jamakoski warmed up the crowd until about 1:30AM and he did a good job doing so, playing rough techno but very smoothly to prepare the people for what was about to come next.

After Bodan, the scene was took over by Kronom going back to back with Andreas Hz, and that is when shit got serious.
I wrote two reviews for Kronom’s latest EPs and he was part of our 8th birthday previous month, but I never had the chance personally to listen to his set on a big sound like he deserves, so I listened very carefully, and boy… were my expectations blown away. Him alongside Andreas Hz created an very brutalistic atmosphere that just kept going on and on. It was something that at the very core itself was very industrial and rough sounding, the music never stopped the hype it created and the compatibility between the two DJs was something that many B2B DJs only could dream of. Until the end of their set the people were already introduced to this dark and industrial hype that was about to follow soon.

Ancient Methods started right after them and in the most simplest terms I can say this: he made a very fucking proper rave. Thankfully the sound system was good, the sound coming out was proper and the place was filled. His set was unforgiving and I loved that, he didn’t disappoint as this is my first time listening to his set live, the sounds just went from hard to harder until the early mornings.

Everyone of the DJs that night left their specific mark with their sets, and me personally, I absolutely enjoyed every part of it and I could rave without giving too much thinking. That energy was from the place itself, I am very sad that a similar place to Hangar doesn’t exist in Skopje because it is invented for industrial and underground raves as this one.

The negative comments I have are about the people that perhaps weren’t too open to dance like their should, it felt like they were too closed in their own minds – when if they relaxed more and put their body into actions, it would definitely be something that would make the vibe of the rave even more crucial. In this field we could learn from Kosovo very much, because it’s the total opposite there, but on the other hand – it’s something that we can work on together to introduce them more to this kind of techno, and to expect better results next year.

The festival goes on…

After the rave ended early in the mornings, I was too exhausted from dancing all night. Ancient Methods was spectacular for me personally as I am a fan of this post-apocalyptic industrial EBM spiced techno, but after that I needed to relax a bit.

Shortly after we moved to Livadište beach where the event was live streamed on Threads Radio and there was a very awesome variations of DJs and styles. Ivana Dragsić opened the new location with a very cool and danceable set. After that Diah had a very spacious, mellow and relaxing set with breaks and ambients on all sides, one of my favorites that day. T-Scale and LKF from Threads with their UK influenced grooves were perfect and Martchin and Herzel after that also made the ambient on the beach very pleasant and rhythmic at the same time. Joss and Princess Donatsu were next, but unfortunately I was already too tired and never got to listen to them, but I am sure they didn’t disappoint as well.

The only bad thing about whole this was that I’m sure we expected a bit more people, but on the other hand, the ambient between those that were there was great and there were dances and moves, people lying on the beach and chilling with cold drinks, a proper beach after-before party? Hahaha, definitely the place to be if you wanted to relax before going back to Hangar again.

And on…

After the beach day, I went back to my room to take a shower and take a breath. I still did not sleep, and my energy was low. I haven’t heard Daniela La Luz, and my crazy brain told me that maybe I can miss that, but boy I was wrong.
I decided to go and happily I didn’t miss her, I arrived just before she started. When she did start, I was like: yes! Her live set was harder than I expected, and was so danceable that the people there were moving their bodies like crazy. The summer scene (which is the place outside of the Hangar where Ancient Methods played inside) is very spacious and a very good choice for a musical gathering.
She played until around 2AM and this is where the festival ended and moved to the boat afterparty hosted by vehemence with Ana Malo and Glós. Unfortunately I missed the boat just by a minute (and this was at 3AM) and I was a bit pissed, but at the end – that is my fault, and luckily after awhile me and my crew ended up taking our well deserved rest.

General Overview

This is the first edition of Enhalon festival, so overall the opinion I have about it is very positive with some critique and comments that I believe would make it much better next year. From the view of line-up, prices of drinks, locations and basic organization – that was good. Very good! The design, information and web presence behind the festival could be much better next year, it feels like it was rushed. My tip would be not to rush next time, start it way before, have a budget for the web information (and of course do it in English!!), and target more people from the neighboring countries with organized transport and accommodations. Struga and Hangar are a very welcoming place for this kind of a rave, and this could be felt. The ravers weren’t really up to the standard of neighboring Kosovo and Skopje perhaps, but that is nothing too bad, that just shows that next year we have a mission to move our bodies even more and just put ourself fully into the rave – that is something that will happen if we’re constant with our mission to bring good music and parties, good art to those people.

My favorite sets from whole festival were those of Kronom b2b Andreas Hz and of course Ancient Methods (wow!), Diah, T-Scale and LKF from Threads and Martchin from the beach Livadišta and Daniela La Luz, she really topped my expectations for a live set.

The hospitality of the staff directly with frekvencii.mk staff was great, the team that was responsible for drinks everywhere was super-friendly and they made sure we stay hydrated and full with vitamins for this 32h rave. So props to Center Lounge and Fresh Bar from Bitola, and thanks to all artists and staff for making this happen.

See you next year Enhalon.