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Horizon is a relative newcomer to the ski festival scene, with established player Snowbombing now in its 18th year, and Horizon still only six years in. It's also a different beast, smaller, more intimate and generally more leftfield in its music line-up.
This is also Horizon’s first year in a new home, having moved to Arinsal in Andorra after a number of years in Bulgaria. Andorra is a beautiful location, a small resort in the Pyrenees three hours from Barcelona, that offers excellent skiing and snowboarding – at least half the reason everyone is here. The other half is the music, and the place where the snow and the music meet most closely is the Mountain Terrace, where after a run down the slope you can grab a beer and take in some tunes before heading back up the slope, or not, depending on where your head is at that day. Both Jamie Rodigan and Craig Charles play triumphant sets on Wednesday afternoon creating one of the high points of the week. It’s incredible how well snowboarding and skiing go together with music and partying but it really is a perfect match. The endorphins released from a day bombing down the mountain are complemented by big tunes and a few large, cold beers in a way that is hard to replicate away from the mountains.
It’s interesting to note what a snow festival crowd looks like – lots of camouflage jackets, a few animal onesies, a splattering of festival face glitter and a couple of Metalheadz and Radar Radio t-shirts. Not quite Shoreditch in the snow but definitely not the same crowd you would get here the week before.
Over the week the line-up included Floating Points playing an ‘all night long’ set, Ben UFO b2b with Midland, Oneman, Mumdance, Avalon Emerson, KiNK, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Grime’s new star AJ Tracey (although he cancelled at short notice due to illness). But despite this handful of excellent names the music side of things felt a bit thin – too few people spread across too many half empty venues soundtracked by not enough quality names.
But that’s not to say the people that were here weren’t enjoying themselves. There’s something about a combination of beautiful scenery, snow sports, music and beer that create a situation where it's hard not to have a blast and that's exactly what most people here were doing.
With a bit of fine tuning, a few more tickets sold and a little bit of luck Horizon’s best years are sure to be ahead of them.