In a glow of optimism and promise of better times on the horizon, we’re pushing ahead with announcing the full lineup for ION Festival 2021.
Incorporating much of what we had planned for September 2020 with some extra ingredients on top, ION 2021 has been developed around three key principles: uniting the underground community, exploring new frontiers and enveloping a sustainable mindset. This week-long duration gives our handpicked artists space to breathe and flex their musical acumen across eight custom-imagined stages. Playing at least one set each, with many scheduled for multiple jaunts, attendees will gain unprecedented access to every facade of their personality.
Harbouring an unquenchable desire to converge on the shores of Dhërmi in September 2021, we can now confirm the artists joining us on this Albanian adventure. A large portion of the original line-up has been replicated, complemented by several new additions…
Carl Craig is one such addition. A mouthpiece for the industry and a conscious observer, Carl’s position as gatekeeper is matched by his deep rooted passion for electronic music, making him all round positive presence at ION. Prolific London-based producer Daniel Avery will be keen to play out all of the new material he’s created during lockdown, weaving from ambient to hard-hitting techno. Raising blood pressure and pushing limiters to the max, fast-paced fiend Dax J is our second DJ repping London. Promising intricate soundscapes, combining influences from jazz to IDM, marvel composer Floating Points will be bringing his impeccable sound to the shores of Dhërmi. Swapping the dockside of her hometown’s clubbing district for the golden sands of the Albananian Riviera, Hamburg heroine Helena Hauff caters to the cross section between techno and modern electro. Three’s a crowd, apart from when referring to the studious audiophiles that comprise Hessle Audio. The collective encomassing Ben UFO, Pearson Sound and Pangaea are set to thrill with the groundbreaking music they have unearthed and have been inspired by.
Next, we head across the Atlantic to source one of the most decorated names in the entire industry. Jeff Mills’ contribution to the scene cannot be overstated - an exceptionally rare European festival performance is unmissable. Crossing Lake Michigan and switching from Detroit to Chicago, a second legend manifests in the form of Larry Heard’s dexterous live project Mr Fingers. Tougher artillery will be supplied by mercenary Marcel Dettmann. The Berghain ambassador will come armed with the sound of the capital of techno. Critically acclaimed recording duo and genre-panning band Maribou State will spread their wings over a wider repertoire with an exclusive DJ set. Adding a touch of class, we’ll also be welcoming one of the biggest stars of the underground. трип Tsarina and renowned crate digger Nina Kraviz will unleash a vortex of techno, electro and breakbeat mayhem dripped in acid basslines.
Unidentified flying tunes incoming, courtesy of the otherworldly Ben UFO and his broad, universal tastes. In Dust We Trust siblings and cult heroes Chaos in the CBD have toured the world and lived in various places, so are sure to assimilate seamlessly into the Balkan terrain and lifestyle. Nimble fingered, double-jointed turntablist DJ Stingray will be displaying outrageous flexes on the decks. George Fitzgerald’s unerring ability to blend heart wrenching electronica with more functional 4/4 dance music has given him a reputation as one of house’s most absorbing DJs. Essential Mix of the year winner and Coconut Beats head HAAi will be showing why she’s such a highly regarded talent with her mix of percussive house and world music. Infusing long forgotten jewels from the vaults of rave with contemporary beats, vinyl enthusiast Héctor Oaks trawls through the decades with obsessive compulsion and a healthy serving of flair. Industrial noise architect JASSS will be steering things in a heavier direction with her uncompromising and pounding repertoire. Exemplary tastemaker and Correspondant owner Jennifer Cardini brings a chest full of leftfield gems to Albania to guarantee a sonic adventure like no other. Drum fanatics Blawan and Pariah will recouple to perform alongside one another as Karenn Live for what will be essential viewing. South American enigma Nicolas Lutz will be showcasing his impeccable selections and spellbinding transitions to create a divine experience on the ION dancefloor. Seasoned pro Roman Flügel not only possesses a wealth of experience but has an unparalleled ear for enticing new music. The epitome of an underground artist and a DJ who never fails to impress, top Swiss selector Sonja Moonear is also invited based on her consistency as a performer.
Former Radio 1 personality and rave digger B.Traits is another exciting talent jetting in. Bristolian bass-pusher Batu and Parisian underground champ Bambounou add even more for the diehards. Eclair Fifi isn’t just a DJ whose track selections resonate with us, but it’s a joy to bring her to Dhërmi to show everybody what she’s about. NTS radio hostess and bass lover IMOGEN is another future gen star joining us. Aside from their joint appearance as part of Hessle Audio, Pangaea and Pearson Sound will grace us with more personable, individual sets. Sending our geiger counter into spasm, Radioactive Man’s trippy bleeps and squelches will find favour with ION’s knowledgeable crowd. Likewise, Birmingham thoroughbred Adam Shelton gets to explore experimental realms with his A-Future side project. We couldn’t leave the influential scene in Manchester unrepresented either, making Madam X and Anz both shoo-ins.
Traversing the further reaches of house and techno, flawless Japanese mixer DJ Masda will be journeying west. Partnering with VBX of Amsterdam, we have access to their roster of talent, including Ferro, Reiss and their unique interpretation of minimal. Former garage MC, reborn as a maverick DJ under the tutelage of Mr. G, Jayson Wynters offers yet another facet to the line-up. Mobile record store The Ghost will be rolling from Berlin all the way to Albania. Long term purveyors of London’s underground scene Krankbrother and members of the Half Baked crew, Robin Ordell and Sam Bangura will be operating between the frequencies of deep-tech and filter house. Toi.Toi.Musik’s dedicated talisman Voigtmann, null + void founder Kirsti and bright prospect Heléna Star are three more names coming from the UK. Committed to exposing ION’s crowd to a new wave of UK talent, we’re delighted to platform deep-digging Truly Madly, Andy Luff and Hamish & Toby, who’ll be delving into a Pandora's box of overlooked tunes. Representing the region, revered Kosovan exports Leo Lumezi and familiar Berghain face Oda Haliti are also in, while grafting techno pin-up Tijana T makes the short trip from her Serbian stronghold. Waving the flag for Albania and injecting some authenticity to ION’s make-up are Altin Boshnjaku and Besa M. Jackin’ tech from Eliss and dubbed out minimal from Gemza keep things fresh and innovative.
Our invite list of Music Partners is equally as impressive and leaves no stone unturned. Sister festival Junction 2 will of course form a large crossover of ION’s identity. Famed for its diverse outdoor stages, the ethos of ION is modelled on the blueprint of J2 and we’re looking forward to reimagining it against the stunning backdrop of Dhërmi’s landscape. Sticking in our London hometown, we’re also partnering with some of the city’s most dynamic smaller promoters, including live music specialists Eat Your Own Ears, vinyl afficionados Half Baked and seasoned East End outfit Krankbrother. We’ll also be unlocking the groove and whetting our appetites with the alfresco Picnic crew. Adding some continental charm, multi-platform guerilla partythrowers VBX will be bringing the vibes from Amsterdam. And finally, after becoming such an important part of interactive virtual festival J2v, Carl Craig returns to curate a bricks and mortar Say It Loud stage.
The full line-up for ION Festival 2021 looks like this:
(A-Z) A-Future / Altin Boshnjaku / Andy Luff / Anz / B.Traits / Bambounou / Batu / Ben UFO / Besa M / Buddy Love/ Carl Craig / Chaos in the CBD / Daniel Avery / Dax J / DJ Masda / DJ Stingray / Eclair Fifi / Eliss / Ferro / Floating Points (DJ set) / Frankel & Harper / Gemza / George FitzGerald (DJ set) / HAAi / Hamish & Toby / Héctor Oaks / Helena Hauff / Helena Star / Hessle Audio / IMOGEN / JASSS / Jayson Winters / Jeff Mills / Jennifer Cardini / Josh Tweek / Karenn Live / Kirsti / Krankbrother / Larry Heard AKA Mr Fingers (Live) / Leo Lumezi / Logic1000 / Madam X / Marcel Dettmann / Maribou State (DJ set) / Nicolas Lutz / Nina Kraviz / Oda Haliti / Pangaea / Pearson Sound / Radioactive Man / Reiss / Robin Ordell / Roman Flügel / Sam Bangura / Sonja Moonear / The Ghost / Tijana T / Truly Madly / Voigtmann