AVA creator and organiser Sarah McBriar was boasting in the Irish Times this week about the festival’s USP — the unpretentious up for it Belfast crowd.
If you’ve got that as a base for an electronic music festival you’re really on to a winner – and it also helps if you’ve got a right-on booking policy of scene veterans, rising artists and local heroes.
Belfast’s electrifying streak has been noted by international media, with the piece pointing out that dance music taste-makers Resident Advisor said Belfast is one of the top places in the world for club culture right now.
This notion has surely been fuelled by the success of AVA , especially its Boiler Room stage. Where most crowds on the famous DJ stream site are awkward scenesters trying to get their face on camera, the AVA Boiler Room gigs almost turn into moshpits, with DJ Phil Kieran even stage-diving at his set in 2016.
This year’s AVA is another impeccably-curated affair, with the legend quota accounted for with deep house legend Mr Fingers, and the transcendent gospel-house of Detroit hero Robert Hood and his daughter Lyric as Floorplan.
Other big names are Bicep, Rodhad, Helena Hauff, KiNK, Sunil Sharpe, DVS1 and Mano le Tough, but we’re only touching the surface. And with AVA shorthand for Audio Visual Arts, the huge vacant B&Q warehouse complex will feel like an industrial installation.
AVA Festival runs at S13 Warehouse in Belfast from tonight (June 1) to Sunday. Festival ticket: £75; day tickets £45; Sunday closing party £10. See avafestival.com.