Eddy Says

Eddy Says: Long live the mountain festival

By | Published on Tuesday 3 April 2012

Eddy Temple-Morris

The summer festival season is a time-honoured mainstay of the music industry calendar, with new names coming and going each year. But there’s another festival season that’s been quietly growing at the beginning of spring, hidden up in the mountains. Every April, snowboarders, skiers and music fans from all around head to the hills for snow and partying. This week, Eddy Temple-Morris celebrates this growing festival scene.

Last week was one of those weeks that confirmed the Calvin Harris view that we DJs have the best job in the world.

Ever since Chamjam (the first one of these music festivals in the snow that I was booked to play, at Chamonix in France), through my first Snowbombing (which I loved and where I learned to snowboard properly), and the wonderful TignesFest, back in France, and now The Big Snow and even newer Snow Kop, I’ve always looked forward to the inevitable week away on the roof of Europe.

So a week ago I left for Belgrade in Serbia and the long transfer to the Snow Kop Festival. The taxi driver spoke only one work of English – “No” – and my Serbian was not much better. We all love a try-er, and I tried my best, but for the first couple of hours, all I got was “No”.

It did feel very strange to me, I’ve always been able to communicate pretty well in languages I can’t really speak: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, but Serbian had me properly stumped. Thank you to my Serbian followers on Twitter who helped me out with food, drink and language tips along the way!

Thankfully we stopped to get some roadside dinner, and there’s nothing like food to break down language barriers. Armed with these tips I got some positive nods and grunts of approval from my driver. It took a beer and a lovely Serbian kebab (they love their meat) to find out his name was Goran.

“Like Ivanisevic”, I said while miming a backhand slice with an actual slice of homemade bread. This got a long overdue smile from Goran.

When I arrived at the lush hotel and venue, Ms Dynamite had the cavernous place jumping around. I sensed most of the crowd couldn’t really understand what she was saying most of the time but were carried along by the big tunes and Naomi’s universally understood moments of hyping.

I watched the crowd through the set and saw them react much more when her DJ dropped anything rocky. They erupted when he dropped The Prodigy. This made me rethink my set for the next night with Dan Stein, aka DJ Fresh.

I’m planning a special set of rock remixes for the Download Festival set The Prodigy have asked me to support them at, so I figured this would be a great place to road-test some of them.

And my gosh it worked.

Both me and the crowd had a frenzied set, I was properly soaked to the skin with my own sweat, before I watched Dan and Messy MC finish them off with a really well planned, twisting, Traktor set that had two or three songs playing at any one time. One of them was the Losers mix of Rage Against The Machine, which I was chuffed to hear Dan had done an edit of.

This festival is put together by the guys who run Exit, which I’ve heard great things about too. I think it’ll grow into something really special, and they’re already looking at a huge headliner for next year.

The next day we left for The Big Snow festival in Sauze d’Oulx, Italy.

When I picked up my big, red, soft bag from the luggage carousel I noticed immediately that the handle was soaking. So was the rest of the bag. And it stank of something I knew – thanks to my nice Serb Twitter mates – was Rakija, the local firewater. Somebody had obviously packed a few bottles in the hold, and the ground crew had thrown their bag on top of mine – classic – and smashed what I guessed was probably all of the bottles.

When I opened the bag the smell was all pervading. Like walking into a distillery. People around me coughed and waved their hands in front of their faces. Some laughed, shaking their heads in that disapproving way.

The Rakija had soaked through the top four or five layers of clothing. My only spare jeans, my only (Alexander flipping McQueen) jumper, pants, socks, snowboard jacket, all smelling like a tramp that found the keys to Oddbins.

Once I made it to The Big Snow, my luggage still reeking, I found an event that is a very different kettle of fish to Snow Kop, but still equally fun. A much younger crowd, corralled around by Club 18-30 reps, whom I’ve grown to have massive respect for.

These people work harder than anyone I’ve ever come across, bar McQueen staff at showtime, or royal wedding time. They party with the punters until close to dawn, making sure they’re all OK, then while the drunken munters sleep off their enormous alcohol intake, the reps are up at the crack of farts, making sure buses are caught, transfers made in time, or just dealing with random rider or travel requests from the likes of Wretch 32 or Modestep. Really, these leisure workers are superhuman, and super-nice with it. I’ll never hear a bad word about a holiday rep again.

Speaking of lovely people, I met some absolute crackers on this trip. Best ever for meeting new faces. A lot of the Never Say Die crew were there, with Nick, the label’s boss and a lovable Kiwi (aren’t they all?). I keep saying on Xfm that this label is turning into one of those special ones, like MoWax, Output, Wall Of Sound, Skint etc, that churn out such consistently good or interesting music that you don’t really need to know what’s on the record, you see the label and you buy at no risk.

From their fantastic stable, I met Dodge And Fuski, Zomboy and Belle Humble. You’ll know Belle’s voice from ‘Cracks’ by The Freestylers (the amazing Flux Pavilion mix was the tune that put Josh Flux on the map and changed the British dubstep game). There was a frightening amount of intelligence, talent and pure, unadulterated nice-ness in a bunch of people so young. It really warmed my heart that the partial future of British electronica is in such good hands.

Really, watch out for these guys, they’re making some stunning music, and Zomboy is already being asked to collaborate with my favourite current chart topper, DJ Fresh, and he’s just finished producing a fair chunk of the new Gossip album. We have a possible new Jacques Lu Conte on our hands here!

I also connected with Micky Slim, properly, which after meeting him backstage at The Big Reunion every year, was another real pleasure. Another name to add to the list of nice guys.

My favourite moment in the three shows I played up there, on throbbing Funktion One sound rigs, was Saturday afternoon, on slopes swollen by Italian weekenders. I dropped High Rankin’s hilarious new single ‘Fuck You Virtual DJ’. Go find it, somebody must have uploaded it to YouTube by now.

Every British boarder and skier eyeballed me and smiled or laughed. I could see some of them howling at lines like “giant bass cock fisting your mum”. One of the crew sidled up sheepishly and said, rather awkwardly: “Uum… Eddy… we’ve got a lot of kids here today…” I told him not to worry, because it was almost over, forgetting about the last line. Well, OK, I hadn’t forgotten the last line, but I couldn’t deprive the hooting Brit boarders of the lyrical coda to this tune: “Eat a bag of dicks”.

So as I write this, I’m heading home with my face tanned and my heart swollen by making wonderful new friends and re-connecting with great old ones and colleagues alike. There’s nothing like a snowboarding holiday to get you bonding with like-minded souls.

Hope you enjoyed Orbital on the show on Friday. I’ll tell you more about ‘Time Of Legends’ on the show in my next missive. Happy spring, it’s my favourite time of the year and while I’m physically meandering down an Italian mountain, I feel I’m on top of the world.

X eddy