Ion Festival is the annual feature on the beautiful coast of Albania, inviting a diverse range of selectors for a week-long celebration of music.
The London giants LWE and Junction Two are the minds behind the curation, merging a variety of scenes for one big pot of culture and exploration. You can feel the multi-cultural vibe of London in their approach, creating a unique environment where you can see your favourite artists and discover a whole bunch of new ones.
Seven collectives have been invited to contribute to the line-up, with a series of stage takeovers taking place across the week. Wednesday opens up with a gentle tease, revealing just two of the five stages with a mild 4am curfew.
The festival founders give themselves the well-deserved honour of opening proceedings with a two-hour set as ION Soundsystem, later followed by the rising B.LOVE, Otik and Yung Sing in The Cave. The Yacht Club features another four sets from Kessie, Madame X, Emerald and Tim Reaper.
Thursday sees another two stages opened, welcoming the likes of Chaos and the CBD, Adam Shelton and the Analogue Journal YouTube channel who will be sure to have a beautifully presented stage, as well as artists with the most unique and peculiar selections.
Nicolas Lutz also brings the heat on Thursday as the line-up gets gradually spicier by the hour. You can be sure to hear a fierce side of the My Own Jupiter boss as he plays before electro dons DJ Stingray and Helena Hauff for a powerful back-to-back set.
Friday opens the floodgates and the VBX crew gets involved in taking over The Deck. The first of their two curations invites Alexia Glensey and Ferro, before handing over to the diggers delight combo of Francesco Del Garda and Christian AB. FDG plays into AB’s closing, although the pair are well-frequented back-to-back partners and there is definitely potential for some collaborative magic here.
Many artists are given multiple sets at completely different times of day/night, creating a unique contrast of briefs for artists and listeners to check out their favourites in a new light. Helena Hauff plays her second set on Friday, spinning at the stunning Canyan stage during sunset.
Saturday is where things get tasty with many Trommel favourites. Andy Luff’s Picnic crew head to The Cove with Laurine and DJ Masda, whilst Nicolas Lutz and Craig Richard take the sunset shift at The Canyan.
London legends Half Baked join the fun at The Deck with Sam Bangura, Margaret Dygas and Gene On Earth. Both Margaret and Craig Richards play again on Sunday, offering a unique chance to see the more chilled, sunset side of Dygas, whilst Craig straps into a four-hour closing til 6:30 in the morning. Blawan and VTSS also feature for those after a harder hit of techno.
If that wasn’t enough, the fun is definitely not over as planning rolls well into Monday. VBX return to The Cave with Sonja Moonear and Raresh back-to-back with Francesco Del Garda. Gene On Earth spins for four hours in The Yacht Club and DJ Masda plays before Blawan.
There’s a lot to take in across this mammoth of a bill and it makes you think the artists must be equally as excited for this refreshing approach to festival curation. It’s not often you hear DJ Masda before the Berghain regular Blawan.
DVS1 brings more Berghain beef with a closing set on Monday, before playing a rare house set the following day. B.Love and Felon5 will close out The Yacht Club with extended sessions.
Buy tickets for ION 2023 here.