Piknic Electronik Dubai is cruising well through to its last few dates of its second season. The 5th March 2016 episode was a sweet shindig.
What makes Piknic Electronik such a smash hit?
Piknic Electronik started if you can believe it, thirteen seasons ago from its initial beginnings in the picturesque sweet Parc Jean Drapeau in the city of Montreal, Canada. A pioneer in its unique positioning entailed a mix of quality cutting edge electronic dance music, showcasing House and mininal Techno but not limited to that, in its delivery of other sub-genres of electronica. Piknic became what you always seem to hear from successful entrepreneurs. The certain x-factor you always read about in quotes when being asked about the success of their creation or brand, is that they claim they never thought their idea would grow to become such a massive success as it had become. It is a true marketing testament of classic textbook fare; the filling of a much needed gap in the market.
The creators, two out of four of the original founders who now are the main folks overseeing the brand, Nicolas Cournoyer and Michel Quintal, story has it, a few seasons in, had to quit their day jobs to work full time on the festival. As the increasing tasks at hand in terms of logistics and quality delivery of the event started mounting up, voila a star was born.
Piknic serves as an alternate ‘fix’ for House music goers. From all the late night smokey venues, now the proposition has changed. Maybe a bit like the idea of ‘Baby Loves Disco’ but cooler. One can now attend a House gig with the same kind of music in early broad daylight and bring their brood no less. A captivating and very liberating feeling to the senses. Result! You can bring children.
Another thing that should be noted is Piknic Electronik deploys a Green/sustainable/recyclable position in terms of cups to drink from to the clearing up of trash. Whether other cities are able to fully duplicate this policy would be an interesting thing to confirm, but certainly something to aspire to. Any organisation that embraces this stance from the start should be given kudos.
Like all good things, or good brands, rather, eventually they face the potential to branch out or ‘syndicate’ as it were, to expand to other markets. Piknic Electronik did just that. It made its second home in the city of Barcelona. The exporter, or should I say importer, after enjoying themselves so much at the Canada event then decided accurately, it would be a great hit in their Spanish town. Next came Lisbon, then of course two Australian cities Melbourne and Sydney were added to pretty much sold out seasons straight away. Dubai got in on the action as did Santiago, Chile and the glamour town in the French Riviera, Cannes, France can also be included. The idea going forward was to then welcome the idea of expanding to one new European (or other) city every year. Sounds like a plan.
Overall, House music gig organisers serve in some way similarly to a museum curator. They say, lets have our show, whose cool works do I know about? And who do I want to showcase? And so then it usually comes down to the eclectic mix of international DJs with local hero openers warming up on rotation, is the way it goes.
Season 2, Enter Claptone
Earlier Piknic Electroniks in Dubai were held on the chirpy grounds of Sports City, but last Saturday’s 5th March Piknic Electronik had moved to the posh if not lush greens of The Address Montgomerie in Emirates Hills, an area which could be described as Dubai’s own ‘Bel Air of Los Angeles’ type of vibe. On the bill welcomed a real global heavyweight in the form of Claptone.
Even non disco attendees would pretty much have to be living under a rock to not have heard of this Berlin based artist with major hits under his belt, such as ‘No Eyes ft Jaw‘ and the memorable piano scales samples set on to a beat which is ‘Cream‘ and a BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix in 2015 with Pete Tong that only the elite get invited to do, to boot. He launched his latest album ‘Charmer‘ in October of last year and also did a remix for another super stellar act that has been dominating the radio in the last few years, Disclosure, with his twist on the lovely chord changes that Disclosure is particularly skilled at; Disclosure ‘Omen ft Sam Smith Claptone Remix’.
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You would recognise Claptone by his famous gilded golden, like his tracks, bird mask with a long beak that he wears, and signature Mickey Mouse style white gloves while performing. Claptone’s set was immaculately mixed, not playing any one track for too long to either get bored by it or overly entranced, just the right amount of punch until the next gem kicked in. What could be heard playing was the latest Eats Everything ‘Big Discs’ and Tim Baresko’s ‘Marilyn Monroe ft Room 303’ which are burning up the Tech House charts right now.
Warming up for Claptone was the steadfast resident for Blue Marlin in the UAE and Ibiza, Frederick Stone who never disappoints giving The Whatfor with his intensity and delivery. Stone earns his keep with continuous productions, one of his latest being a quite cinematic track entitled ‘Hope’ Original Mix’ released at the tail end of last year.
Earlier in the day saw Dubai based Michka B2B Mario Bazouri with a timely performance, as the two of them have just released an EP entitled ‘Make Me Feel‘
All the while the festival offered entertainment for children with a bouncy castle, special activities offered for them in early afternoon, pop up shops for clothes and home accessories, frozen yogurt, and alcohol on offer for over 21s. Poutine, a signature meal from Montreal, was available as well as a few other foodstalls. A foozball ice hockey looking thingy type game and virtual sandpits all around with comfy padded picnic benches and umbrellas with complimentary magazines to read abounded. One thing has to be noted that was missing however, was guess what: Teenagers.
The few times that I have been, what was disappointingly notably absent was this particular age group from say, tweenagers; 10 up to oh, 19 and this is one thing I am asking in my head on a regular basis. Why oh why, at least in Dubai, do teenagers seem to be so clueless, non-commital and perplexed about House Music? Just why?
You can find them at RedFest DXB and at any well-known pop star concert, or listening to more electroey progressivey trunkey trappy EDM. But give them a steady Balearic or Technoey 119-124 BPM and watch the confusion on their face. Actually you won’t, because you won’t find them there at all, which is a real honest shame, but its not something that should be given up on. As with the highly welcomed privilege of the all-ages policy of Piknic Electronik from opening to closing hours gaining momentum, there is a bonafide chance for this to change.
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Radio programming in this region does have a lot to answer for in this regard. But what comforts is knowing that at least the real tiny generation, all the newbies up to age five or six are at least hearing the tones of samples, high hats, and computerised melodies to usher in the new generation of what will be.
If you would like to know what will be, you can find out. Regulars can return and those who have not been in a while, just book in for the next two dates left on the calendar before it gets too hot and check out the lineups on March 19th and April 2nd. See you there, juice in hand, with sunglasses on, blanket laid out in bliss on the DXB grassy dancefloor.
Have you attended PiknicElectronik in 2016? Tell us about your experience in the comments below – Did it live up to your expectations?