It is Easter weekend and I am buzzing through a blissed out crowd, though by no means do I feel crowded. There are loads of people, yet it is easy, even comfortable, to move among them. Floating from side to side, the massive venue offers sights beyond my wildest imaginations. Acquaintances are met, interactions exchanged, a constant thumping beat floods the hearts and souls of attendees. The lights have now warped from clear pastel shades of yellow to sharp tunnels of blue, purple and red. And then, the fireworks…
What indoor venue have you been to where you saw streams of fireworks shoot off right in front of your eyes? What festival promoted sharing so hard it made any person in the vicinity an extension of your own friend group? Which crowds were so genuine and caring they basically carried you to where you wanted to go? This is just a taste of what you would expect to see and feel at the Awakenings Easter Special, located in an industrial building called Gashouder right outside of Amsterdam.
The massive techno event took place from April 2nd until April 5th, from 10:00pm to 8:00am each night. Elias Mazian, TINI, The Martinez Brothers, SVEN VÄTH and Joris Voorn started the first day off with a series of relentless beats. On Friday, Ida Engberg and Dense & Oika took the stage, with Adam Beyer & Joseph Capriati wrapping up the night from 2:00-8:00am. Saturday brought a hard-hitting line-up consisting of Ø [PHASE], Jimmy Edgar, RØDHÅD, Speedy J, Ben Sims and Oscar Mulero. On the last day, Easter Sunday, Sandrien opened, Function put on a live performance and Ben Klock & Marcel Dettmann closed out the event with an incredible 7.5-hour set. When paired together, these two unstoppable forces exuded strength, euphoria and a whirlwind of moving music, making sure nobody forgot about Awakenings any time soon.
The venue was also a large factor contributing to the magic of Awakenings. With its open pillar-less dance floor and iron roof, Gashouder holds a capacity of 3,500 people and is located in the northwest of Amsterdam’s Westergasfabriek gasworks complex. In the center hangs an enormous looking disco ball, which reflects each glimmer of light from the show. The impressive lightshow extends beyond the stage with installations on the ceiling and an external neon glow seen by those on the outside. It is a spacious and eclectic playground tailored for EDM festivals of this calibre – a perfectly manicured temple for techno music.
The extras include drink tickets, a smoking lounge with heat lamps and relaxation lounge with reggae music, surprise fireworks and random rainfall, cooling air ventilators hidden conveniently around the dance floor and amenities such as merchandise/info tents, bathrooms with drinking water and a coat/baggage check.
What else should we expect from the Netherlands? It is a country that lives and breathes unique cultures, diverse perceptions and a wild acceptance for any norm; it is deep-rooted in the UK rave culture of the ‘80s and dance genres such as Chicago House and Detroit Techno, breeding talents such as Afrojack, Fedde Le Grand, Tiësto, Laidback Luke, Armin Van Buuren. Joris Voorn, 2000 and One, and new star Caro Emerald.
We can all learn something from the Dutch way of living in how they embody many cultures, yet are capable of complete peace. Awakenings is no exception, but rather an epitome of the Netherlands’ vast culture of acceptance. Every EDM festival-goer knows the music is important, but in order to dedicate an entire night of sleep (or multiple), there has to be more. There has to be lights, scenery, an open environment and a like-minded group of people – a general vibe that overrides exhaustion, judgement and guilt. The Dutch know all too well that it is in these situations where we must let all vices and cultures coexist peacefully, allowing a communal enjoyment of even the simplest of moments. So with that, we hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend, and consider the option of spending next year at Gashouder with Awakenings. Everyone should experience a Dutch rave and this one is definitely on point. Plus, what’s a better way to sober up from an all-nighter than a fresh bike ride home alongside the rising sun?
Watch the official movie highlights of the closing night here.
For all other after move specials, visit their Facebook page here.
The line-up for the Awakenings Summer Festival has now been released and can be found here. Joris Voorn, Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann will be making a few more appearances so if any of this sounds exciting to you, be sure to get your tickets. The festival starts June 27!