Following the success of The Hangout stage at Electric Gardens Festival last month, Return to Rio were back with a fresh instalment on their party roster - The Rio Revel. With their signature décor and high quality production, the team transformed the Manning Bar into an eye-catching playground, fit for its line-up of local & international powerhouse DJs.
Getting the party started in the main room were the Motif boys - Jesse Pepper Kooraram and Stuart Hunter, in fine form as the numbers filtered through the door. Meanwhile, outside in the courtyard was Hernan’s specially-requested warm up DJ Steve Marx, working the crowd with a tasty deep set.
The Rio vibe was in full effect - a super-friendly crowd of like-minded revellers, loving the music and basking in sun; some in the colourful festival gear, glitter and face paint typical of Rio, others sporting Argentinian football shirts with Cattaneo across the back.
A cheer signalled the arrival of the main man Hernan Cattaneo to the decks, who started with slow and long transitions captivating the audience, then switched the tempo delivering an onslaught of rich progressive melodies and basslines. His 5 hour marathon set featured seamlessly textured tracks from the likes of Einmusik, Dmitry Molosh and Danny Howells, with every drop triggering a roar from the crowd and an exchange of nods and high-fives between strangers across the dance floor.
As minutes turned to hours and day turned to night, the biggest surprise came in the form of co-headliner Guy Mantzur, joining Hernan for an impromptu B2B in the final hour. The energy between them was palpable and indicative of two close friends in musical synergy - a fitting end to Hernan’s high calibre prog set.
Next up, Andy Ef and Rio boss Ricky Cooper dropped infectious beats in the courtyard before passing the baton to special guest and Burning Man regular, Tara Brooks. Countering the unexpected rain with her arsenal of tracks, Brooks demonstrated the technical skills that caught the eyes and ears of veterans like John Digweed.
Indoors, Guy Mantzur had taken over from rising prog star Zankee Gulati in the main room. Flanked by visual screens, strobe lightning and a room full of pumping fists, the scene was set for a good old fashioned rave. PlattenBank boss Mantzur went on to conduct an energising mixture of tech-house and progressive grooves, including Khen’s show-stopping ‘Children with no name’ and his own collaboration with Roy Rosenfold, ‘Epika’.
As the 11 hour day fest drew to a close, the revellers dispersed satisfied and the Rio crew had delivered the goods with all the hallmarks of their brand - quality music, good vibes and attention to detail. A strong contender for the best party of the season.