Review

Awakenings Easter weekend

Amsterdam's techno institution returned

For three days over the Easter holidays, the brilliant minds behind Awakenings returned to the infamous Gashouder for the latest edition of their annual Easter celebrations. With a New Year’s Day event, huge Eindhoven party and a collaboration show for Joris Voorn’s birthday already under their belt, Awakenings have certainly started the year strong. Adding to this already impressive roster, were three Easter parties that took over the Gashouder for a weekend of pure techno decadence.

Venue

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The mighty Gashouder, also known as the temple of techno is located in the picturesque Westerpark of central Amsterdam. A place Awakenings have called home for many years, the Gashouder is an industrial stronghold holding 3,500 ravers in one colossal sized room.

Staff

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Running like a closely knit operation, Awakenings ensure your experience from the moment you queue to enter, right until you leave the venue is a positive one. Efficient and polite staff get you through the doors and to the front of the bar queue quickly and effectively.

Food & Drink

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Keeping their events green, Awakenings run an eco-friendly reward system which encourages recycling for cheaper priced drinks. Using queue-reducing tokens, for €3 a pop each, drinks ranging from beers, mixers and juices were all reasonably priced, with the option to splash the cash on a cocktail for €9. Various food, fresh fruit and even ice lollies (ideal for when you need a cool down) were also available. 2 large bars either side of the main room divided the masses with minimal waiting times to get a drink down your neck.

Production

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A party which never fails to provide their audience with a jaw-dropping visual experience. Taking full advantage of the gashouder’s cavernous open space, the ingenious production team carefully orchestrated various enchanting scenes throughout the weekend. Centred around a giant disco ball, found an army of lasers shooting colour in every direction, floating LED panels displaying lucid visuals and enough strobes to see it all from space. But it doesn’t stop there, Co2 cannons, pyrotechnics, and even fireworks made regular appearances at iconic points in the night, making the event all the more memorable during those moments of ecstasy.

Sound

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Loud, clear and packing a hell of a punch, the sound system in place filled the giant room with thumping audio. Multiple line arrays dotted around the room covered every corner with no part of the space suffering from a loss in sound quality.

DJs & live sets

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Throughout the three day spectacle saw the genre’s elite artists from across the globe, showcasing their unique and defined soundsKicking off things with a bang, Friday delved into the darker shades of techno, featuring the likes of production partners SHDW & Obscure Shape, and the chaotic energy of Italian duo 999999999 which set the pace for the night. The intense beats of Perc, Kobosil and Berlin duo Fjaak then followed, with a live performance of Fjaak’s heavy hitting track “Drugs” being a standout moment of the night.

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Steamrolling straight into Saturday night following the daytime event’s shenanigans, saw more techno royalty in the shape of Monika Kruse. The artist’s years of experience shone through her set, keeping the crowd locked in her grasp. Switching up the pace, stepped up Mind Against, who’s euphoric melodies sent a different energy into the room, with stunning light displays perfectly complementing the soundtrack. Seeing out the night were performances from Awakenings regulars; Pan-Pot and an extended set from Drumcode label boss Adam Beyer to round off another night of incredible soundscape.

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Closing off the marathon, Sunday’s finale made for the perfect ending to a show-stopping weekend. The talented artists continued to flood in, with Amsterdam’s own Reinier Zonneveld curating a powerful live set, featuring his very own track ‘Hard Gaan’ which rumbled around the Gashouder’s concrete walls. An acid & techno cocktail by Sam Paganini followed after, with the electrifying display giving the crowd that second wind as we ventured on through the final night. DJ Rush continued this pace, before an immense closing performance from Attention Deficit Disorder saw out the weekend in emphatic fashion.

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Overall

The Easter celebrations are Awakenings longest standing event, and it’s clear to see why. Slickly operated running, creatively compelling production and a never-ending selection of world renowned performers. The colossal temple of techno is put to perfect use, with an audiovisual experience you’ll find hard to forget. 9/10

Fancy getting your Awakenings fix? The summer festival has now sold, so be sure to only buy tickets from official resale vendors. However, you can still seal your place to their collaboration with another techno giant; Drumcode Festival. Tickets available here.

Words: Omar Thorne
Images: Photo-Company.nl