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When asked if I’d be interested in heading over to the Alps for a brand new music festival with an avalanche of a dance lineup, I answered yes quicker than the time it takes me to fall on my ass from the top of a snow drenched glacier! A newcomer to the ever-popular winter music festival scene, Rise Festival had promised to go in big. With a line up promising stellar names as huge as band of the moment Clean Bandit, downright dirty DJ EZ and bass heavy heiress Hannah Wants, you couldn’t fail to be impressed by what the weekend had to offer.

Next to take on board is the sheer beauty of the place. Commonly known to be the most beautiful resort of Les Deux Alpes in France, the resort has a 2,000ft altitude and is also the world’s largest skiable glacier. Not to mention it’s pretty much picturesque perfect. It sounds like paradise... it pretty much is paradise.

So I headed out there with high expectations and full of excitement in anticipation of how my week was going to pan out. Many people have the idea of these types of skiing party festivals to be some kind of over-zealous and sordid student affair, but the crowd was a perfect mix of young and old, rowdy and well behaved. This was all shown off perfectly on the Sunday evening by a very lively and engaging carol singing performance around the beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the centre of town.

There’s always a jovial Christmas atmosphere thrown into the mix of Rise as well, so it’s ticking lots of boxes straight away. So on to the music. Clean Bandit were the big draw to the majority of the 3,000 following that had joined me in paradise for the week, and this showed by the time of their performance in the main square. With all their hits being extremely well received and a few newbies thrown in for good measure, the fans soaked up the music as the sun came down and generally the place went off.

Typically, throughout Hannah Wants’ performance she was her usual bass heavy self, with a brilliant production effort assisting her. Huge LED screens and numerous multi-coloured lights filled the vast gymnasium hall that she called home for 90 minutes, and it was packed from the off, thoroughly displaying why 2014 has been such a blockbuster year for the Brummie bass demon.

Talking of bass demons, they don’t come much bigger than DJ EZ and his set had real moments when you felt avalanches were imminent. Never one to shy away from causing a storm, classics such as ‘Sincere’ and ‘Ripgroove’ tore the Pano Bar roof down, and were to many people a clear highlight of the week.

And there were many at Rise. Perfect white mountain slopes to show off your skiing and snowboarding expertise, or even an ice disco if skating is your forte. The constant smell of cooked meats, log fires or mulled wine was a perpetual thrill, and if romance was what you sought then a very amusing Tinder speed-dating event was even on offer on the ski lifts. Rise Festival really did cater to everything you’d want and more and when Ibiza Rocks took over on the last night at the Avalanche Club it was clear my opinion was more like a general consensus. A four-hour b2b monster set from Artwork and Doorly was the perfect ending to most people’s week and it sure was for mine. I came to Rise expecting paradise, and I left feeling that and more. Bring on next year!

Words by Dan Mac

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