An Interview with DGTL Festival

Photo credit: Tom Doms

With international incarnations in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Tel Aviv, the DGTL Festival brand is widely becoming synonymous with innovation due to its predilection for emerging technology, high-end production, underground electronic music, and extensive sustainability practices.

With the third outing of its Barcelona edition set to take place at the city’s Parc del Fòrum from August 11 – 12, Insights spoke with Dave van Dalen – DGTL’s Marketing Manager – about the festival’s commitment to the environment, its new record label, and more.

Festival Insights: This year will see DGTL’s fifth edition in Amsterdam, as well as its third in Barcelona. What are the main areas you’ve focused on this year as organisers? What are you most excited about on the creative front?

Dave van Dalen: We have implemented this year’s theme, Modularit, in all elements of the festival: the stage designs, the art program and our sustainably efforts. Specifically for Barcelona’s event we have put effort into making the floor plan more discoverable, with smaller spaces to relax, and discover art and revolution projects.

FI: The festival brand will take its first foray into South America in 2017 with the launch of DGTL Sao Paulo. How will the Brazilian edition differ from its European siblings, and what will remain the same?

DvD: DGTL always tries to bring parts from our home base and blend them with local ingredients. This mixture was a great success in Brazil; we’ve sold out in the first edition, with loads of positive energy. Musically we also try to find a balance between international headliners and local treasures.

FI: DGTL is one of few festivals to launch its own label, whose first release will be from the Bulgarian hardware aficionado, KiNK. What was the impetus for launching the label, and why do you think it’s so rare for festivals to cross over into the music business this way?

DvD: DGTL is growing rapidly and organises events throughout the year. Our label opens up opportunities to engage with artists and our audience even deeper between the events.

FI: DGTL is renowned for its sustainability efforts, which include an exclusive provision of vegetarian food and total lack of general waste bins onsite. How long do you think it’ll be before these types of initiatives gain widespread traction?

DvD: Our efforts in sustainability increase every year – some are visible and some are invisible. In the Netherlands, we were the first to introduce the deposit-based hard-cup system that is now widespread. You see more and more festivals implementing this now. However it’s hard to predict whether more festivals will become meat-free, or invest in becoming waste-free, but we sure hope so.

FI: Tell us about your DGTL Revolution project and how exactly it will even further cement the festival’s environmentalist credentials.

DvD: We will announce our focus projects in Barcelona in the forthcoming weeks. Behind the scenes we are working on one of our biggest initiatives: the material flow index. It’s basically a huge list of all materials that we use on our festival, and what goes out. By identifying all materials, we can increase our efforts in minimising the input and maximising the recyclability of the output.

FI: On the production and technology front, have you altered your approach at all this year across the three festivals?

DvD: Every year we try to be innovative when it comes to art, technology and sustainability. We seek for the best local partners to arrange this with. With more DGTL events on the agenda, we can’t produce everything from Amsterdam, so the resulting local influence on the DGTL concept will have a positive impact on all DGTLs across the globe.

FI: Is there anything else we should know about DGTL Festival?

DvD: Keep an eye on our ADE program this year. It will be more than just partying for us.

DGTL Festival