Biddinghuizen, the Mecca of Harder Styles, has welcomed us back once again. There is no place that feels as “home” to the old as well as the new generation of The Weekend Warriors!
We started our adventure in Dronten, where most visitors gathered with their friends to take the shuttle bus to Defqon.1, and we kicked off the weekend too!
The sun welcomed us on this Thursday morning, and excited hardcore fans from all around the world blasted the first tracks. It felt like we were about to jump through the closet to Narnia, which turned out to be pretty accurate. The bus ride itself was a party: smiling faces accompanied by shining eyes. Arriving at Walibi, the theme park where Defqon.1 has been taking place since 2011, after being located in Almere for the first decade, the security check was thorough but quick, and we were ready to find a spot to set up our camp!
Having been to the festival before, we were excited when the staff on site sent us to Campsite 3, located close to the stage area and food stands. Defqon.1 offers different options for campers of all needs: The Highlands, which is the comfort camping; The Sanctuary, a rather luxurious experience with tents and containers that can be compared to hotel rooms and even have their own high-class restaurant; and for us weathered festival visitors, the basic camping, which has access to the gym, food areas, sanitary facilities, and the silent after parties (which you shouldn’t miss out on!).
Once we set up our little camp and met some friends from previous editions, we made our way to The Gathering, Defqon.1’s warm-up party at the BLUE stage! From Sub Zero Project to KELTEK, and my highlight of the day, Headhunterz, who was joined by DJ The Prophet on stage, all Hardstylers had their desperate need for loud music met!
The Afterparty on Thursday was held at my favorite stage, the MAGENTA stage just across the BLUE stage, you can find a tent with all the classics that made you and me fall in love with this music! “Classics by Surprise” was the title of this set, and it did not disappoint!
The next day, Friday, we were finally able to see the heart of the festival: the RED mainstage, which was home to many highlights this weekend! Phuture Noize opened the stage with his incredible melodies, and tens of thousands of fans sang along. This year’s RED stage had a new design, standing 56 meters high, with many details to explore, such as the two samurai holding the center. Some details were brought back from previous designs, like the massive blades, and some elements will return next year for something else, like the 200 waste bins used for the two samurais – living up to the event’s philosophy of being made of scraps and avoiding waste!
After spending more time admiring the RED stage while dancing to Darren Styles, we started exploring the food courts and the GOLD stage, which provided Hardcore classics close to the main stage, before ultimately returning for TNT, the set we needed on this warm Dutch summer day! Seeking some shade, we moved on to the MAGENTA stage, which had massive fans set up on the back of the tent, cooling down all the dancers who were partying to classics by The Pitcher. After a quick break at the camp and a detour back to see The Gang at the RED stage, we landed at the BLACK stage, practicing our moves to Angerfist!
Back at the BLUE stage, Gearbox showed us how a proper afterparty is done, before ending the night with Geck-O’s silent party at The Wasted Lands. You could tell the motivation of many visitors was peaking, so I strongly advise bringing earplugs to sleep. Don’t worry if you forget; they are available on site as well! While our camping neighbors celebrated noises that made us chuckle, day 2 was officially done!
Waking up on Saturday, we were grateful for all the free sunscreen stations provided at the festival! We explored the various extra activities, such as Speedcore dating, where you could find rave buddies (or maybe your big love? ) Artcore painting with Ruffneck at the GOLD stage, and the Warrior Workout at the second biggest stage of Defqon.1, the UV. It was wonderful to see how Warriors from all around the world engaged with the festival and dove deep into the world of Defqon.1!
Besides the massive POWER HOUR, including the biggest crowd control left-left-left-left right-right-right-right movement at any festival (causing a tremor that’s measurable with a seismograph), Saturday is also known for the massive end show! These fireworks never fail to mesmerize even the most experienced festival visitors. Accompanied by epic melodies, wild laser shows, and hard kicks, Saturday’s end show is one of the highlights of the weekend!
Back at the campsite, we were adopted by our tent neighbors, who taught us this year’s camping anthem: the W Lounge song! Marching up and down the camp and singing this song with thousands of fellow campers, we realized that the most important bucket list point had not been fulfilled yet: getting our merchandise! Via the Q-dance app, we ordered t-shirts and hoodies, so we could feel close to the event during the year-long wait for the next edition! Merchandise ordered via the app can be picked up at the biggest merch store I have ever seen at a festival, just across the UV stage.
Sunday Funday has arrived, and we are not ready to end the weekend at all! We started in the shadow of the MAGENTA tent, joining a dance meet-up by Melbourne Shuffle Germany, who gathered approximately 60 dancers over the weekend, filming videos of each other and showcasing their moves! Sixteen different nationalities were present and came up with choreographies during Waverider’s set!
After dancing at the BLUE and the PURPLE stage, where new talents are given the chance to perform their best, we made our way back to the RED stage, excitedly waiting for the Legends set, a show honoring the contributions special acts have brought to the scene. The acts are not announced until they come up on stage and start the show! The crowd cheered as if the national team had scored in the world finals when B-Front, Adaro, and Ran-D entered the stage, blessing the crowd with raw classics!
Everyone sang, everyone danced! After a while, Q-dance had another surprise. Besides Sub Zero Project, who had made this year’s anthem, and Warface, suddenly Sefa entered the show and surprised the crowd with new, unreleased music! Sefa had only been seen in the Defqon.1 Theatre where the festival hosted a very intimate and exclusive experience. Now he was on the RED stage, blasting his signature French core music to the crowd’s enjoyment.
Around 10pm, the crowd became emotional as we witnessed the end of an era. DJ The Prophet ended his 30-year career, playing his biggest tracks from decades ago up to recent years! It was definitely a highlight and the appropriate way to bid farewell to such influential figures in the scene. The end show was not less emotional, as groups of friends lay in each other’s arms, watching the mind-blowing fireworks while sweating to return the following year! And so, the countdown has started. See you on June 27th, 2024, when Biddinghuizen will welcome us back again!
Soundrive, headquartered in London, United Kingdom, is the foremost global hub for electronic dance music (EDM), offering a comprehensive range of news, reviews, interviews, and features for DJs, artists, and labels across 125 countries. Founded in Helsingborg, Sweden on April 19, 2016 by Jacques Maurice Julie and Darren Johnathan Bezuidenhout, the company was originally known as UFO Network with record label UFO Recordz. In early 2023, Soundrive Music LTD acquired the company and rebranded it as Soundrive Music.
Committed to delivering up-to-date and in-depth information on the world of EDM, Soundrive Music provides a platform for aspiring DJs and artists to showcase their talents and advance their careers through events and collaborations with leading industry players. Soundrive Music is not associated with Soundrive Music Festival or Soundrive Records. For more information, visit https://ufo-network.com/about.