Preview: Kala Festival

Albanian festival Kala returns for its second edition with a genre-transcending lineup in a secluded setting on the Adriatic coastline.  

While beautiful scenery, nature-centered daytime activities and fresh local cuisine are certainly bragging points for the experience-oriented festival, the music programming holds all kinds of promise. Kala describes their lineup as an “eclectic selection of artists connected by spirit rather than genre” and proves this year’s spirit is one of warmth, soul, and globally-influenced good vibes. The festival resiliently commits to their escapist mission with a curation of 5-hour sets from dance music legends:  genre-heedless Hunee, Detroit techno originator Derrick May, Chicago’s very own Theo Parrish, and a B2B set from festival favorites and past collaborators, Midland and Job Jobse.

The soul-influenced all-star team is strengthened by familiar crate-digging sweethearts like Honey Dijon, Jayda G, San Soda, and Bjørn Torske. AsIf looks forward to Jane Fitz’s profound, upward-driven melancholic journeys and Mafalda’s sunny, Brazilian-influenced jazz, soul and balaeric grooves.

The weeklong festival guarantees changes in pace with deep evening sessions of live music on waterside stages. London-based new-jazz babes like Fatima and the Eglo Live Band and Jordan Rakei can be pictured performing tasty soul-feeding sunset shows, while Detroit’s early dance pop group Inner City’s hypnotizing celebration anthems like “Big Fun” and “Good Life” will soundtrack the calf-straining moments of a good old deep-sand boogie.

Despite many of the artists citing global influences and frequently playing latin- or afro-influenced tracks, the lineup itself remains predominantly European. The UK influence is felt through music partners like Stamp the Wax, Secretsundaze, Phonica Records and an interesting favorite, World Unknown, whose tribal, hypnotic dance cuts will be an exciting fit for the coastline sand-dance-floors that awaits.

A rotation including Kala’s six resident DJs will take over the Gjipe stage, a secluded beach only accessible by boat journey.

Last year, 1500 travelers and music fans gathered in a small town on the Albanian coastline for the first edition of Kala. The weeklong festival put itself on the map with much credit to its fascinating lineup, high quality accommodation, and gorgeous daytime programming. Production was nearly seamless, and Kala looks forward to doubling the numbers this year: of the 3,000 tickets released, less than 300 are still available.

Beyond music, the festival offers a variety of daytime activities, from wakeboarding to gong baths to seaside hikes. The environmental focus is just as present in the details of the festival’s organization as the programming itself, with a ban on plastic straws and mandatory reusable cups required at all participating venues.

The festival takes place in Dhermi, a small town of friendly locals who host festival goers in hotels, self-catered apartments, and Mediterranean cuisines. There is no camping option at Kala, allowing attendees to experience the hospitality and comfort of Dhermi’s accommodation options. The town itself is primarily accessible via boat transfers from Corfu airport, scenic journeys which only affirm the authenticity of the festival’s escapist mission.

A handful of nearby beaches host Kala’s various stages. The festival prides itself on “unexpected intimate locations” with five venues situated across natural beaches, local beach bars, and cozy venues juxtaposed against breathtaking scenery. There will be an additional area and stage announced at the end of April, so stay tuned!

JUNE 12-19



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