Let it Roll Winter as we saw it

On the 26th of February a small fraction of our team visited Prague, the Czech Republic, to become part of the winter edition of Let it Roll - Europe's biggest DnB event. During the summer the organization made a huge step forward. Let it Roll Summer welcomed more than 22 000 visitors, thus setting a new record with  5 000 more than the 2015 edition of the festival. In order to celebrate their success, the Czech crew gave their best to pull off an unforgettable winter experience.

Let it Roll Winter was held on the 26th of February inside four of Holesovice Expo's pavilions in Prague. Apart from the chill-out area inside the three big stages were also built in there. As we remember from the summer, LiR were working on a new spaceship in order to head towards new horizons. And if you could only see part of this ship's hull at the summer Main Stage this time we managed to take a look inside. The three stages were thematically named after the three big stages from the summer edition. The biggest venue (or just the 'Main Stage') was named the Factory Stage. The other two - Madhouse and Underworld.

Just as the Main Stage at the last Open Air, the Factory Stage was also transformed into a spaceship's hull. Visualizations varying from huge cog wheels to cosmic landscapes and hallucinations were constantly changing on the more than 10 big screens. Under the 5 vertical panels, somewhere in the distance, between two walls of Funktion One speakers was the stage, which also showed visualizations overflowing with the ones shown on the rest of the screens.

The two hefty robots from the summer festival were on guard at the Madhouse Stage, which represented the main engine of the aforementioned spaceship. Although not as many, the visualizations here also provided for an outer-space atmosphere. Factory Stage on the other hand, was transformed into a cockpit. This was the first time I ever saw visualizations in front of the artists. A huge transparent nylon was corded before the artists where and the inside of the cockpit was projected on it. It is most certainly useless to point out that most of these visualizations are hard to be described. That is exactly why we made a couple of hundred pictures, which, typically for us, will either be delayed or will never ever be released (we won't lie that when it comes to photography we are quite unrelialbe).

On we go with the most important part of the show - the music. Apart from the different visualizations, the three stages differed in the style of DnB they presented. The Factory Stage was the most melodic of all and that was where we were able to hear loads of Liquid tracks, accompanied by some heavier tunes. A much more aggressive sound was coming out the Madhouse Stage, while the Underworld Stage offered the heaviest sound, sometimes very close to Hardcore.

The event started at 20:00 o'clock. At the Madhouse and Underworld stages we were happy to hear one-hour sets by the Mix Contest Winners - Detoxic and Kudrnc & Stratos respectively. At the Factory things were kicked off by the far more experienced Bifidus Aktif & Akira. The two veterans warmed up with an outstanding set, lined with a serious dose of technicality, some Deep and Liquid tracks, while the lads in the other two rooms prepared the visitors with some proper Neurofunk

Than Bifidus Aktif & Akira stepped away and left Madface in charge, who prolonged their great act accordingly. The Czech had a very serious task. Immediately after his appearance the international guests were about to step in and it was his duty to prepare the audience. I dare to say that the performer did quite well. The Liquidy vibe was extended by Technimatic, presented by Technicolour. The project, part of Shogun Audio, has been a synonym of strong, melodic Drum and Bass for quite a while and proved their place on the world DnB scene once again. At midnight the stage welcomed Culture Shock of RAM Records. That was the start of a strong RAM showcase on the stage. The artists offered a powerful set, filled with many tracks of his, and later stepped aside and made room for the genius High Contrast.

Exiting the hall was almost impossible as the room was crammed. There were enough prerequisites for dancing, yet free space was scarce. High Contrast definitely gathered the crowd and found a way to thank the fans with a set rich in diversity, served flawlessly. It was then when the veterans Calyx & Teebee stepped in and kept the high spirits for the next hour and a half. Perfectly synced together the two longtime friends showed the audience how to do a b2b set and satisfied even the demanding fans. Last from the RAM camp was Tantrum Desire, unfortunately, I wasn't able to hear much of his set. The stage was then closed by Hedex, with a powerful Jump Up performance.

In my opinion, for a second time (the first being the summer open-air) the most interesting things happened at the Madhouse Stage. Detoxic made a propa opening set and by the end of the first half the room was already quite full. Immediately afterwards the highly respected locals Suki and Rido stepped in charge. Powered by a great selection and loads of technicality Suki put loads of aggression in his set and a dreadly set it was indeed! Afterwords Rido's uncompromising act showed the crowd why he is among the most loved and respected artists in the Czech Republic (and not only). At 23:00 sharp, the first guest came on stage and it was time for Xtrah. The Brit put in a lot of depness in his Neurofunk selection. The deep session was than continued by Emperor, who ably mixed the aggressive, yet deep and detailed in style tracks, typical for Critical Music. The Upbeats were among the stars we missed during this summer. The duo which is also a favorite among the fans blew the Madhouse Stage away and then made room for SOM. State of Mind, on the other hand, were represented by only one of their members, despite their set lacked diversity, they are still legends in the branch and can allow themselves a few not-so-intriguing sets. Drawing towards the end of the show we heard Mindscape & Jade, who included quite a lot of Techstep tunes in their set filled with Eatbrain tracks. For dessert we heard Kato, who closed the programme with a not-so-aggresive, yet impressive set.

The Underworld Stage kicked in hard ever since the very beginning. Kudrnc & Stratos were followed by Furious Freaks, however things began to get reeally interesting when N:Force came up. With a very powerful, aggressive, very technical and highly-intensive set the Czech showed everyone that this room was not just about Neurofunk. Pixie contributed to this concept of the Underworld Stage and made way for Zombie Cats. While the third DJ of the project was showing his skills in Bulgaria, Ross and Rouven demonstrated that their new project isn't any less promising than their old aliases (which are now in the history). These two rascals were followed by Billain, who apparently had chosen to surprise the crowd with a Live performance. Regardless of his choice, this didn't affect his act in any way as the Bosnian did splendid.

After the Balkan artist, things got rough fast. The heavy Neurofunk rapidly shifted into Hard Bass as the Czech titan Forbidden Society stepped in. He was succeeded by the Russian brothers Gancher & Ruin, who intensified the Hardcore setting. The veteran Limewax presented a trembling set, leaving me with absolutely no power for Hanzall's performance.

Yep, Let It Roll Winter is now over. My 10-hour stay at Holesovice Expo completely drained my powers, yet this was not the end of my musical affair in Prague. On the following evening, the Let it Roll Winter Afterparty took place at the local Storm Club, owned by LiR's managers. Key players at the during that night were the artists from Rough Tempo. Suki was supposed to take part as well, but eventually didn't show up on stage, leaving Bifidus Aktif on a double shift on the bigger stage. After that it was Rough Tempo - domination time in the room, later canceled by the duo One Way. The bigger stage provided a broad range of different DnB styles, yet a slightly poor diversity in terms of selection. A lot of the traks was played 2 or more times and all the sets sounded equal. After all, the hype was on a very high level, which was the main idea behind this Afterparty. The smaller room kicked it with Liquid and Jungle sets, as a warm-up for the Jump Up frequencies accompanied with great MC-ing. Completely drained and powerless I was constantly lurking between the two rooms in order to hear as much as possible. At 5 a.m. though, I was already on my way to the subway station. Three hours later you could find me on the bus to Sofia, which is how my trip to Prague ended.

Both the pain in my muscles and the damage caused by the lack of sleep have now probably passed, yet the memory of these two days sounded by my favorite music, alongside the beautiful views of Prague will never leave me. Make sure you come by and check the website for some pictures from the event (but still, as I mentioned above, keep in mind that we can be quite unreliable when it comes to deadlines and picture material). Although Let it Roll Winter is now behind us, Let it Roll will continue to be part of our platform as we will soon start our Let it Roll Open Air 2016 Coverage.
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