Event Review: Hard Bass: Exploration
Hard Bass, the event that speaks for itself. This year, 2014, was the 25th edition of Hard Bass, run by b2s and hosted at the Gelredome in Arnhem. With thirty-five thousand people in attendance and selling out within a day, this event is one of the top Hardstyle shows in the world. Following the theme of space travel, this edition was called Exploration. The audience, together with the DJs, traveled through deep space and fought off alien ships to save worlds with Hard Dance music. Four DJ teams: Green, Blue, Yellow, and Red, each of which featured four DJ groups, with some teams having as many as seven people total, delivered all they had to guide us on our journey home. Each DJ team played a key role in bringing us closer to the destination, with the battle becoming progressively more difficult throughout the night, characterized by the rawness of the music.
This was my second time attending Hard Bass. My first in 2013 left such a lasting impression on me that I knew I would have to come back. That is saying a lot considering I live on the other side of the world. This is an event that is so incredible that I have no problem flying over ten hours to be there. It is the journey home, made once a year by Hardstyle lovers from around the globe. Thirty-five thousand fans, all there for the same reason: the love of the music. No matter who you are or where you came from, you are united together for one night. If you came alone, by the end of the night you will leave with significantly more companions than you could imagine. This event proves that if you must unite the world and bring peace, do it through the music.
I have been to the Gelredome three times now so I know what to expect and where to go, but I never really get used to it. Every time is like the first time. Walking into the arena and taking my first look around at the transformation b2s had done to the Gelredome in the prior week, I was in awe. You never know what you will see until you walk in. Each year is unique and a surprise. The stage, the lighting, the decorations, everything is different each year.
Hard Bass takes on the futuristic theme of technology and space exploration. As I walked in, the dim blue lighting and ambient, ominous music in the background set the tone for what was to come. The arena was still empty at this point revealing just how massive the place really is, and those who get there early have the privilege to freely explore the open stadium. This is one of my favorite parts of the night. The feeling of having the whole place to yourself and wandering around freely in this dark, glowing, massive, futuristic hall of a space vessel is truly out of this world. b2s fully utilizes their surroundings to have total control over the environment within the stadium.
The warm-up set was delivered by Geck-O. Ranging from Dutch house to Subground to early Hardstyle, this set put everyone in the mood for what was in later in store that night. More and more people were making their way to the main floor and getting to the places they wanted to be before the crowd became too dense to move freely.
Now the time had come for the main event. The stadium had begun to come to life as the intro for Team Green started, revealing just a taste of the power of Hard Bass. Glimpses of lasers, spotlights, fire and fireworks, LED screens, moving light displays hanging from the ceiling. I knew they had quite a night planned for everyone. The moment we had all waited for was finally here. Thousands of fans awestruck, staring at the main stage, looking to one another to say, “We finally made it”. When the music started, you could feel the energy forty thousand fans. I felt rushes of adrenaline and was covered in goose bumps they played a remix of the 2009 Hard Bass anthem as the second track in, proving that I am actually where I am. Euphoric melodies, uplifting vocals, and sing-alongs were the theme for the first two teams, Green and Blue, delivered by Atmozfears, Max Enforcer, Bass Modulators, Frontliner, Noisecontrollers, Coone, Code Black, and Psyko Punkz. The music started to transition out of the euphoric side of Hardstyle to the rawer side during the Psyko Punkz set, setting the tone for Team Yellow, composed of Brennan Heart, Ran-D, Hard Driver, and Wild Motherfuckers.
This is where things really started to pickup. The set started out with the main anthem for Hard Bass: Exploration. The stage fully came to life and fireworks went off throughout the entire stadium. Lasers were at full force during this set. The party had truly begun. Team Yellow progressively became harder and harder, paving the way for the final set of the night.
Now it was time for the last part of the night, Team Red. Adaro, Phuture Noize, Titan, and Minus Militia. These names speak for themselves when it comes to raw. No more holding back, this is Hardstyle in full force. The level of dedication from the fans, even this early in the morning, was outstanding. No less people on the dance floor, if not more. And the energy from the crowd was through the roof.
Minus Militia ended the night in style with their thirty minute live set. Composed of Chain Reaction, Radical Redemption, and Crypsis, this was not a force to be reckoned with. Raw kicks at 160bpm, leading into Hardcore for the final portion of the set. Talk about ending on a high note.
Finally, things had come to an end. Hard Bass 2014 was a night to remember. b2s never disappoints. I am glad I was able to take part in this once again. Truly unforgettable. I wish I was able to go back to that night, but that means I will just have to do it again next year.
Credit for all photos goes to b2s.