Techno is enjoy its moment in the spotlight right now. It is by far the most popular genre, and it is seeping ever more into the commercial end of the dance music spectrum. One festival that has also stayed true to the genre ideals, though, is Awakenings. Famous for its out of this world production, stage design and massive line-ups that read like a who’s who of tech, this year was no different.
Playing out over the course of two long days and many different stages, it was dominated by labels like Drumcode and DJS from Dax J to Dubfire, Jeff Mills to Joris Voorn. The thing to note here is that everyone goes darker and harder than usual as the crowd are serious techno heads who like no frills thrills. They don’t want fluff, they want it tough.
This year all this went down in Spaarnwoude’s beautiful open spaces, across no fewer than eight stages all of which had to be seen to be believed. Some of them are in vast hangers that could house whole aircraft. They made for religious experiences where the sheer pace and number of people around you make your hairs stand on end.
Others are outdoors, such as the one that sees Sven Vath play, His set is harder and more stripped back than you might expect of the party starting, curveball enthusiast. His giant stage is a pyramid of metal that stretches out into the sky. For Berghain resident Kobosil, he plays bathed in futuristic light and lasers as LED screens flash up various bits of imagery. He works across four decks and keeps things edgy and tense with flashes of metal synths and strobe lit grooves all spacing us out.
Another notable mention goes to Nina Kraviz, one of the best DJs in the world right now. She really shows why with a tough set on the Aera Z stage that is filled with bots of weird atmosphere, acid and pouring techno as well as plenty of weird and wonderful selections we have never heard before.
Another of the stages is a huge construction of metal boxes that looks a bit like an angry graphic equaliser. It stretches to the sky tens of feet high and is truly awe inspiring. Here the Durmcode crew sere up their funky drum programming and keep thousands of kids, boys and girls, from all over Europe, marching as one. Nothing about this festival isn’t high impact, and as such you really need to check it out ASAP if you haven’t already.