Event Review: Defqon 1 NL
Defqon 1. More than just another festival, this is the journey home for hardstyle fans across the globe. The Mecca for hardstyle. Most who truly love and life for this music will try to make the trip at some point in their lives. Music has no boundaries, and this festival is a testament to that statement. Flags from all over the world, different languages and cultures, all coming together for 3 days for the love of the music. No matter who you are or where you're from, you will be welcome here.
This was my first Defqon 1, and making the trip from the west coast of the US to the Netherlands is no small feat. But I knew I had to go. I had to make the journey and the time was now. I could not have made a better decision. Having been to other hardstyle events such as Qlimax and Hard Bass, nothing can compare to the experience I had at Defqon 1. Over 200 artists and 14 stages, this was the largest hardstyle festival in history, and not one to miss.
It is truly a pilgrimage; traveling to the festival site, trekking through grass and mud with the sun beating down on their backs, hauling tents, luggage, and coolers along with thousands of others to get from the parking lots to the campgrounds. From an outsiders view, one would wonder what could motivate all these people to slave their way so far without being forced. Like being exiled out of their homeland, but this was quite the opposite, as they are heading TO their homeland.
After everyone set up their tents and became situated, it wasn't long before the partying began. Mobile stages blasting hardstyle rolled through the campgrounds leading the weekend warriors to battle. More and more festival goers followed until a notable crowd had formed around the mobile stages. The gates to The Gathering were now open to kick off the weekend. Just a sample of what was to come, only 2 stages were open at this time, Blue for hardstyle and Orange for hardcore, going from 8 in the evening until 1 in the morning. Not too late so that everyone was well rested for the main event on Saturday.
Finally, at 11 in the morning the next day, the gates opened. The full festival had finally begun. All 14 stages were open and going strong. The Weekend Warriors were free to explore their hardstyle dreamland. Passing by stages featuring every genre of hard dance music, from early hardstyle, to modern, to raw, to hardcore, and even subground, there was something for everyone to enjoy. The Red stage, or mainstage, featuring the allstars of hardstyle, is where most people made their way to. The surprise of what the stage would be this year couldn't wait any longer.
As the sun set and the sky grew darker, it was finally time for the famous Defqon 1 Endshow. The lights, lasers, and fireworks left the audience awestruck for the final portion of the night. People had been dancing all day, so this was a time to chill out, appreciate the show, and reflect on what this scene is all about, the reason we travel far and wide and spend great amounts of money. This life that others may never understand, how we live for hardstyle, and how it is so much more than just music. This music brings people together, creates unity, friendship, common interests, and takes away all the problems of day to day life. For 3 days we are free, together as one, at Defqon 1.
Defqon 1: a must for every hardstyle fan around the world. 3 days of nonstop partying with diehard fans. The massive lineup, top notch music, unity of the crowd, and mind blowing endshow, this is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.