Grotesque #250 Indoor Festival 2016: the magic of the Trance circus!
Written by pepo on December 24, 2016
Already two weeks have passed and we’re still under the impression… we remain with this feeling of being transported into the realms of fantasy, and we want now to take you back to experience one of the best indoor festivals in the Netherlands.
Grotesque and PT Events, organization behind, have clearly created a whole new concept of spectacle for the trance lovers around the world. We’ve been witnessing along this year how Trance has made through with a huge comeback. We aren’t just talking about the regular festivals we are all used to, in this last year more and more events have been added up every month! In that sense, it was about time for organizers to realize how much more there was to offer than just quality music or big names.
This time found me really curious about how all this would turn out. I was truly wondering how the whole ‘circus’ concept was going to be developed, especially with all those extras that were announced like market, beauty parlor, silent disco, etc.
We were happy to be invited by the organization, and for the first time we even got VIP passes! It was time to put some of our best clothes -as required by the dress-code white, neon, disco– and go to find it out for ourselves.
Together with Luciano Médica Catalán, author and friend, we were ready this time for adventure and fun! This review is the result of our teamwork.
First things first
As a representative of Trance-Energy Radio I was happy to be there, but of course it’s slightly different when I go to a party knowing I will have to write about it later on. Normally I try to focus first on all details, later comes the time for enjoyment. Luckily I had this time Luciano to help me out with details and his own insights.
However, things went kind of different than planned. First of all, when I arrived to the venue with my friends, we were early and it looked as if not everything was ready yet. For instance, I couldn’t find any dedicated VIP entrance (which later Luciano told me was just two doors away on the same street). Being with friends I just went with the flow and like everybody else got my ticket scanned but I wasn’t given a wristband. Still in doubt, I asked the girl at the entrance but it was kind of confusing situation, we didn’t understand each other. That’s why I went inside without it. I thought, ‘whatever’.
The show must go on!
Maassilo is a really big venue, with different sections and a basement floor. When I arrived together with my friends we weren’t given maps or booklets at the entrance to be able to get around in the venue. The lounge area was beautifully decorated and the whole place itself was looking really nice. All in all, at bright lights still on while people were arriving, there was much to see around.
The Spanish crew (2 Spanish, 1 Bolivian & me, Argentina!), we took some pics here and there but all we really wanted was to go to see Spanish DJ DiM3NSION playing at main stage. The place was still empty when we arrived but we immediately met some of our friends, DIM3NSION started taking it slow first and building it up until the last half an hour when the mood was really starting to light up. After him was Mark Sixma’s turn, we stayed just for a little while there and left to the other stage where Scottish DJ Stephen Kirkwood was ready to kick ass. With a more progressive and tech sound, he was really pumping! Suddenly this feeling of being at the right place & at the right moment kicked off!
The venue started filling up, and when Kirkwood finished was the turn of Dutch DJ Ruben de Ronde, who continued layering the high vibes with a more house sound. At that moment we finally met with Luciano, who was lucky to get his VIP wristband “only after a funny blooper of entering directly without having the ticket scanned, then coming out again and insisting to get it at the entrance”.
He wasn’t in the mood to leave me alone and go to check the VIP area on his own. I wanted to take a look of course, because I knew this was the chance for us to chat with the DJs and have a look around, meet other people. It was also a good excuse to appreciate the venue from a different point of view. Anyway, it just turned out different, and that was fine.
In a Trance-Grotesque full mode on
Right after meeting again, we all decided to move on and go back to main stage, now fully packed with Alex M.O.R.P.H. at decks. We both really liked his set as it was very versatile and full with variation within his tracks choice. All in all, until that moment, Trance was the superstar of the show having the crowd wanting for more, to bring out its big moment to show up.
It wasn’t long until Irish legend Mr. John O’Callaghan was there to smash the dance floor, unfolding a much darker sound. In my opinion he sounded a bit different than the usual dark sound I was used lately to listen from him. Luciano described it as a ‘very Joint Operations Centre’ -his darker alter ego-. For a moment I sensed this whole ‘circus’ concept as a whole main thread taking over the whole night, connecting all of us. The air was promising and loaded with surprises. For a moment I had the idea this whole sort of red squared balloon above my head on the ceiling was a piñata going to explode! There was indeed plenty of confetti and balloons, with a ludic crowd happy to enjoy; all really magic moments shared with beautiful people!
The whole circus theme was impressive, some funny acrobats, clowns and trapeze acts. There was also some kind of crazy and intriguing characters dancing around, enjoying their own party somewhere in their own magic worlds. All of them bright fully dressed, wearing great make-up, all dancers enjoying playfully, you could see it wasn’t just an act: they were enjoying as well! Was a fantastic way to introduce this special atmosphere while the crowd was enjoying, dancing and giving everything they had! The vibes were just perfect tuned to the whole performance, a real entertaining live show!
We were all ready for RAM to come to main stage, he was wise enough to turn the mood into a more joyful one, people were getting really excited, dancing their hearts out -we were too, as usual- and the whole Grotesque experience was rising the standards into the future of trance show events.
Although enjoying it a lot, I had a moment I decided to move back to the other stage and see what Sean Tyas was throwing. Some friends were already there and it’s nice when you come and go, having the opportunity to meet with them doing what you most love, together on the dance floor! However there are no warranties for individual feelings, no matter what for others can be. Sometimes you dwell into the general vibe, sometimes you are there totally on your own. In my case I just couldn’t get into the mood with the crowd and decided to go back to main stage where other friends were, enjoying the last tracks of RAM.
When RAM finished, leaving everybody in awe, James Dymond came to take over but at the same time psytrance glory Vini Vici were playing at the other stage. It was hard to choose, but the Israeli duo was pulling harder in our hearts, so we went all the way back to see them live. It was a tremendous set. They played really good, with a happy crowd chanting during their new collaboration track with Armin van Buuren featuring Hilight Tribe ‘Great Spirit’ recently unleashed, which Luciano truly loves!
I personally don’t dislike it, but it just gives me this funny feeling, there is some certain part which reminds me the “Macarena”. I wonder if I’m the only one who feels that…
All in all it has a pure tribal sound, less complex than the usual psytrance and easier to follow for people to participate, which it’s good of course.
Anyway, “It’s fair to mention that ‘Great Spirit’ was probably the most repeated track of the night, played no less than three times by different DJs”.
When Israeli duo gave their last breath out and the venue was still under the spell, it was the turn of Dutch DJ Richard Durand, one of my favorites. However, we decided to move back to main stage where the rest of the trance family was spreading and having a great time with one of the revelations of the night: Allen Watts B2B with Amir Hussain, in one word: awesome!
The night was almost over; at that point of the late night/morning we all were having a lot of fun, we couldn’t foresee this great night coming to an end. We felt really lucky with the last and powerful act by the hand of Belarusian DJ UCast. Time was almost up and we were all feeling happy, satisfied with this great feeling of having assisted to one of the best experiences ever together.
Overall the event was successful, even if there are always things to learn better for next time, but in my opinion it was amazing.
Luciano pointed out that “perhaps it’s wiser for further thinking how can the addition of the techno/house stage (with Lucien Foort & Friends) bring more out to the whole event”. We were both not really paying much attention to it, although it was interesting to have an extra stage, but not between main and second stage, because it was confusing and the techno/house stage was less full the whole night. For this reason, some people were mostly on main than on second stage.
About the extras like the beauty parlor and the market, we both think this was unnecessary. Perhaps the market was a step too far into mixing concepts.
On the other hand, the silent disco which has also been available in other events was good. There were quite a few people most of the time. However, we didn’t stop to appreciate it, and it was located in a very secondary spot.
The whole smoking area was huge and enough space to sit by the lounge. We didn’t make it to the food court but well, time flies when you are having fun and there were more than enough options for everybody to relax and have a good time.
To sum up, it was a great event with a whole new idea which I’m sure will develop into something bigger in the near future. For once and all, we have finally a big event meeting all the ingredients to be a success: great organization, with attention for details, great music and awesome atmosphere.
This is the most important, somehow, when friends and people you’ve been meeting along all this trance party life year, are coming all the way from home, sometimes from really far away! All the way to the city of Rotterdam; then I bet you want to be there, knowing it will be amazing!
In my opinion, this was way better than other bigger or more famous events this year (such as EF or ASOT to name a few) because you could get all the goodies, and even so you could still feel the intimate atmosphere, with the crowd really feeling as one. We definitely need more events like this!
In Luciano’s opinion, it was a very good event. It was innovative and special. The organization was correct despite some particular and small flaws that every event has. ‘I believe this can grow into something even better in the future so I give it my vote of confidence. Let’s see what the future holds for Grotesque 300!’
During the event, at the entrance Grotesque organized a charity action among the people assisting, as it was to bring a toy wrapped for children in poor conditions at a local organization called ‘Het Vergeten Kind” (The Forgotten Child). For more information you can check out here.