Festival Review... Utopia Island

On the 22nd and 23rd of August an aqua park in Moosburg (near Munich) was turned into the buzzing site of the UTOPIA ISLAND Modern Music Festival. The 8000 people-a-day festival saw mostly German bands perform, with one stage dedicated exclusively to regional talent. Here are some sets I'd like to tell you about. 

The first band I took in were Munich's teenage newcomers "Swallow Tailed". Their vibrant, melodic indie pop set provided a good start to the day's action on UTOPIA's Main Stage. I spoke to the band that evening and conducted my funniest interview to date. You will be able to read the interview and more about the band in this blog in the near future. 
"No festival could be complete without performances by Audiolith artists", the presenter on the Main Stage told the steadily growing crowd. Audiolith are a Hamburg record label with legendary status in Germany due to their great bands (you may know "Fuck Art, Let's Dance!") and leftist views. "So I'm pleased to announce our first Audiolith band of the festival - Captain Capa!", she continued. Their set got people dancing and laughing when, in the middle of their set, a teenage girl climbed onstage and asked them to play Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". "We aren't some party band or DJ", their singer told me afterwards about the incident. Unperturbed by the interruption the band carried on with their aggressive, energy-filled performance. 
Up next were another Munich band: Claire. Their Utopia set was the third time I've seen them live in as many months and I feel that they just go from strength to strength. Their dreamy intro gives way to one of the most energetic sets you'll find. The vibrancy flowing through their performances is perfectly displayed by the dancing of lead singer Josie-Claire B├╝rkle. Their set saw them play tracks from their debut album "The Great Escape". The crowd loved every minute of it: dancing away and singing along. Before starting their last song Josie-Claire told the crowd that Utopia had been one of their favourite sets of their long and busy festival season. Bands say this at every set, yet somehow I believed Claire... I also have some good news for fans of the band: Josie-Claire told me after their set that they'll be heading into the studio later this year. We'll keep you up to date on that. 
The following band have gone from German newcomers to international stars in a matter of months. You might be familiar with their name: Milky Chance. The duo were the first headliner to perform at the festival. Their set attracted a massive crowd who were clearly enjoying themselves. The duo combined their most famous songs with a host of new ones - while balloons and bubbles got caught in the lightshow, giving the performance a spectacular atmosphere. 
Press speaker Leonhard Mandl summarised the event perfectly by stating: "We're really happy about the weather. Sunshine and our lake go together very well. Our first headliner, Milky Chance, is playing ping pong with the volunteers, we didn't expect that so that's really cool. It's been a real success - everyone is feeling very good. "


Benjamin Brown