Kutski once said that Qlimax is basically the “World Cup” of Hardstyle. And he’s damn right. Every year, everything just comes down to this one, magical night in the Geldredome in Arnhem. Playing there? Every producers dream. Being there? Memories for a lifetime. Hardstyle fans from all around the world gather, may they be from Chile, America, Australia or just living 30mins from the venue. Even after 15 years Qlimax has maintained it’s magic as the Queen Of Indoor Events.
Arriving smoothly with public transport and the shuttle bus, I enter the Gelredome somewhere in the beginning of Isaacs set. As VIP, I get a locker voucher, which didn’t quite work out the first time because my locker was apparently broken. The lady at the counter was rather nice and assisted me with the problem, which was resolved in a matter of minutes. On my way to get tokens I take my first glare at the crowd from the window. Shivers. A sea of light, a dark stage, Isaac playing old school beats in the background. I just NEEDED to get down there as soon as I could. Not saying the tokens were outrageously expensive, but they were definitely a good bit more pricey than at your usual festival. Water for 2 Tokens was a BIT much though – poor car poolers.
I leave the VIP area and find myself standing on the tribunes a bit to the back left. Isaac’s set was amazing, and even though I miss the Hard Trance openings from years ago, I could definitely get used to a great classics opening from now on. I loved his set. My personal highlight was him playing “Y.R.M.L” by Davide Sonar and Julian DJ, one of the tracks which got me into Hardstyle and a undeniable classic. Next to that Isaac pulled out some of the most memorable tracks in the history of Hardstyle, among those “Phases” by 2 Best Enemies (of course in the TBY Romantic mix) and “Her Voice”.
With Bass Modulators set, Qlimax was officially opened. The show was amazing to look at, but I didn’t really know what to make of the LED stage. I actually expected something a bit more related to the theme or designs, which were used for Qlimax this year. Still, I stood in awe. Seeing this sea of people, small lights in between just took my breath over and over. Bass Modulators delivered a rather solid set. From emotional moments such as their “Hello” bootleg to Bass Modulators classics like “Music Is My Life” (my voice was gone after that one), it was a perfect mix between old and new stuff. A lot of exclusive Mash-ups, edits (“Science And Religion” anyone?) and new tracks (one TBA and one of which I’m pretty sure of that it was a new Jinxed track) rounded up the set nicely. Oh, and Villain did a nice job, by the way. Sure, I miss Ruffian, but Villain did surely deserve this spot on Qlimax.
By the end of Bass Modulators set I decided to follow some of my friends and sit down at the very back tribune behind the Lights and Tech, to experience the show and opening of Atmozfears. After 5sec I just needed to get my Phone out and film the entire thing – it was my journalistic reaction. It was amazing. Light, lasers, music and people just melted into this one thing, feeling. Atmozfears’ set was danceable, full of new stuff (“Keep Me Awake”, “Hate”, Mash-Ups), but also old beloved tracks such as “Singularity” and (duh.) “Release”. The anthem show was just as epic as the beginning of the set and once again I just stood there staring at the stage, paralysed by the sheer epicness.
“EEEEEK!!! YAAaaaAAssSSS!!!11”, was my reaction when Noisecontrollers and Wildstylez were announced. Did I expect it? Kinda. Was I still hyped about it like a little kid about Christmas? Fuck yes. Playing through their discographies, both gentlemen delivered a wonderful set, easy on the ear and with many, many sing a long moments. By now I had ran into friends from all round the world: Spain, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Australia and more. I went to the Gelredome on my own, but this what I love so much about Qlimax: Everyone is there. No matter if your friends just dragged you along because “Dude, if you wanna get to know this music, come with me!”, if you’re an established producer dancing his ass off in the crowd, a die-hard fan since the early 2000’s or just a casual partygoer – almost no-one misses Qlimax. You just constantly run into someone you know!
Now it was time for Brennan Heart. And here came my absolute favourite moment of the entire party. I was at the tribunes again as an “Imaginary” edit starts to play. A sea of light started to emerge, as people slowly started to sing. I was close to tears. It was probably one of the most beautiful moments I ever experienced on a Hardstyle event. I can not put into words what I saw or felt. It was breathtaking. Brennan Heart’s set was solid, nothing too unexpected, but also far away from boring. As Ran-D joined him, the sound slowly became rougher. “Fck On Coc4ine”, “FCK EDM” were just a few of the tracks played. Ran-D took over by the end of the set and I hear a voice, that sounded very, very familiar to me. Was that…? Nikkita? Holy fuck. Later on I got to know, that it was apparently the new E-Force ft. Nikkita ID track, which had been rumoured ever since the vocalist started being active on Facebook again. I was hyped. Another potential banger from Ran-D’s set was his Voodoo People Bootleg, which I fell in love with in the first 15 seconds.
Zatox and Adaro were probably one of the “weaker” sets of the evening, but I still enjoyed the show. The set was solid, but a bit too predictable for me. I went for food. Surprisingly my tasty veggie spring rolls were cheaper than a bottle of water. I thought it was weird. I sat down at the VIP area for a while and chatted with some friends. The area was in the same spot as last year, with an own bar, toilets (omg yes), smoker’s room, tokens and a breathtaking view from the side. I kept sitting down for a while, as my own Equilibrium (oh, the pun) was impaired by alcohol. I heard the set from the speakers and enjoyed the massive view.
Frequencerz were one of the acts that I was really looking forward to since the beginning, so I gathered my energies and went downstairs again to move. Now I was at the mid-end of the room dancing in the crowd, letting myself be infected by the energy of those around me. The set was perfect, a lot of Frequencerz classics, such as “Men Of Steel” with E-force or “Rockstar” were played, but also some edits and the one or other TBA. Me and my friends headed to the front.
Deetox was proably the highlight for many who loved it really raw. I could dance, but the music wasn’t my thing. The first lady of Raw spun mostly own material, including “Bring The Riot” or “Rawness” (with E-Force), but also some edits such as her “The Prophecy” edit, which she worked on with Deepack themselves and a Sub Zero Project bootleg. Some of my friends had already left by now, I decided to stay for the Hardcore.
Ok, so Tha Playah is one of my favourite Hardcore acts anyways, but what happened in Arnhem this day was just off the fucking hook. If you wanted to have a great fuckin’ Hakk that day – you absolutely had to stay until the end. The guy just wrecked the place. I could not have imagined a better ending to this years edition of Qlimax. From “Just Like Me” (w Angerfist ft MC Jeff) to a sick “Men Of Steel” remix, I just moved, danced, had fun. And then the moment came. “This was a Q-Dance Event! Have a safe trip home and see you next year!”
Man. It was over. I said goodbye to everyone and got my stuff out of my locker. While some of us were plotting where to hold their afterparties, I could just think of my bed and a shower. The shuttle bus arrived quickly and transport by train was no problem. The NS ticket was definitely worth it!
Conclusion: You can say about this years edition what you want, but Qlimax stays the Queen of the night. While the stage was a bit underwhelming from close-up it revealed its true beauty from afar, accompanied by a great show and a massive set-up, it is still the number one amongst all Hardstyle indoor productions. With massive sets, well balanced in between Raw and Euphoric and the, for Qlimax so typical, track premieres, edits and mash-ups it was a must-attend for everyone in the scene, may it be on-stream or live in the Gelredome.