Date: Saturday, 26th of August.
Time: Somewhere around midday
Feeling: The usual Saturday rush of excitement and a slight unsettling nervousness.
Well, I was going to take my (sort of new) boyfriend to his first Hardstyle event.
In April, 2017, I met my now boyfriend Rick in the most technologically savvy way of all. After partying a little too hard at Qapital, I found myself lying in bed the following day, feeling sorry for myself and my burning hangover whilst simultaneously swiping the overload of fuckbois into the Tinder trashcan. I came across Rick unexpectedly; after observing his profile (which contained little to no effort) and his outstanding aesthetics, I decided to swipe right.
Now, four and a half months (and not to mention, countless glasses of wine and wholesome dinners) later, Rick and I are boyfriend and girlfriend (lol g a y). Now, a lot of people in the “Hardstyle scene” tend to date like-minded individuals: i.e, other humans who share the common love for pounding kicks and penetrating screeches.
Some girls I know (or hear about via Chinese whispers) literally have a type: it’s Dutch and a DJ or another ‘relevant’ music industry ‘professional.’ For me, I don’t really care; as long as a dude is hot as fuck, doesn’t bore me to death and can entertain my private parts, then their association with Hard Dance music means absolutely nothing.
I popped my boyfriend’s Hardstyle cherry and it felt damn good.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that my lovely boyfriend Rick does not have any connection with Hard Dance music, besides the casual rendezvous with his favourite Sefa track “LSD Problem.” Rick has a broad taste of music, but his most listened to genre are the dreamy sounds of Techno. I too enjoy Techno and together we’ve been to a few parties, however for me, there’s no place like home. The energy felt at a harder styles event is simply matchless and although Techno is great and all, it lacks the friendly community vibe shared between party-goers.
Throughout the festival season, I’ve been away most weekends and partying at the most exquisite festivals. From Defqon.1, to Dominator, Decibel, Airforce and Paradigm, my boyfriend prefers to hang local in Haarlem, spitting out the the same “I’ll join someday” statement.
And on the 26th of August, that day finally dawned.
I popped my boyfriend’s Hardstyle cherry and it felt damn good.
This was his first real ‘backstage’ experience. He fucking hated it.
My choice of festival was perfect for Rick. Aside from spending quality time at the Q-dance stage, when things got a little too ‘Hardstyle-ish’ for his liking, we were able to roam the rest of the wonderful terrain and see what Mysteryland had to offer.
He even accompanied me to an interview I conducted with Showtek (which you’ll all get a glimpse of in the coming weeks). This was his first real ‘backstage’ experience. He fucking hated it. I don’t blame him though; there was absolutely nothing going on behind the mainstage – just a bunch of people sitting around doing fuck all.
After watching about ten minutes of a rather disappointing set by Carl Cox, we found ourselves sitting down around 8PM, eating chippies and engaging in running commentary about the ‘people of Mysteryland.’ I was acting rather savage; pointing out slutty outfits and laughing, or reporting on the rapid jaw movements of several visitors.
After this, we made our way back to the Q-dance stage to watch the final half hour of Frequencerz vs. Bass Chaserz, before closing off with a bang and some Gunz For Hire mayhem. Over the course of the day-time, Rick had already become acquainted with Hardstyle and its culture. He observed the wide range of people, the philosophy and social aspects, the diverse range of sounds and the genre’s overall jubilance. However, I must admit that a first-timer watching Gunz For Hire was a little ballsy. Actually, no, I take that back; I think if he were to visit, say, Supremacy with me, then I’d be impressed.
Rick seemed rather perplexed by Gunz For Hire. Compared to the classic Techno atmosphere where everyone is trying to act way cooler than they actually are, I suppose he wasn’t used to being in an environment where visitors aren’t of being a ‘pleb’ and shouting every lyric with pride. FYI, that pleb was standing right next to him, screaming “NO FUCKING MERCY!”
The following day, we returned to Mysteryland. Upon leaving my house, pure joy took over as we were prepared to embrace every drop of sunlight this stunning Sunday has on offer. It’s been said before and I’ll say it again; summer in The Netherlands this year hasn’t been too kind, however it appeared that the main upstairs had consumed some serious MDMA – god hasn’t been this generous since, like, last year’s edition.
We spent a lot of time wandering around and exploring the festival on Sunday. We enjoyed some calming, dreamy Techno at the Cocoon stage, followed by a mind-blowing performance by Netsky. But of course, for the final hour we ventured back to the Q-dance stage to enjoy the insane production, accompanied by a stellar team-up set by ‘The Paradox’ brothers, aka Phuture Noize and B-Front.
I didn’t expect it, but Rick’s favourite Hardstyle set of the whole weekend was by Phuture Noize and B-Front. From his own mouth, he said “they played a great DJ set; I noticed most of the other Hardstyle DJ’s kind of did a start-stop motion during their sets, but these guys kept the music flowing.” So, B-Front, Phuture Noize, you guys impressed a very tough critic – so big ups for your fantastic set!
In the back of my mind, I’m curious to how my boyfriend would respond to say, a set by Radical Redemption, or a night at an event like Masters of Hardcore or QAPITAL. I mean, sure, he received a pretty well-rounded Hardstyle experience at Mysteryland, but to be honest, there’s nothing more authentic than diving into a full-blown Raw or Hardcore event.
Aside from my little rave virgin experiment over the weekend, I observed the festival as a whole. I truly feel as though Mysteryland is becoming more and more Hard Dance ‘friendly.’ With the addition of the infamous Thunderdome stage, which my boyfriend sadly couldn’t handle (f*cking pussy), this paved the way for Hardcore to also be recognised as a force to be reckoned with in electronic music. Big ups to ID&T for including the wondrous wizard at this prominent event – I’m looking forward to seeing Thunderdome at Mysteryland next year!
I’ll conclude with saying a huge thanks to Mysteryland for having us at their beautiful event! We enjoyed every inch of it to the max!