When Scantraxx last held a party in Austria, Heinz Fischer was still president and the country was still somewhat uncharted land concerning big Hardstyle events. The entire scene was different: Club culture was still alive and well and bigger events were still the exception. This changed drastically within the last two years and the “big crash” of 2013/2014.
The entire club scene died down and with it died the last big events we had in Austria. After a painful past three to four years, the scene is finally prospering again and even found its way to the biggest festivals of the country. Clubs started to slowly tap back into Hardstyle, new DJs emerged and slowly new promoters started to be interested in bigger Hardstyle events.
Next to other mentionable events, The 15 Year anniversary of Dutch Elite label Scantraxx produced by the Groove Entertainment Group marked a very special moment in our Hardstyle History: The return of big Hardstyle brands to Austria. Coming from the transdanubian suburbs, arriving by train took a bit longer than an hour with an additional 5€ spent on a cab from Baden Central Station to the venue – The Halle B. I arrived at the middle of Devin Wild’s set and was instantly pulled into the great vibe. Apparently Paulistos took over Ron Collins spot earlier, and Existenze himself told us that the venue filled up rapidly during his set. It was wild! Someone was even waving around a Devin Wild cardboard and people were going crazy left and right.Tatanka was tearing up the venue while we were checking out the location and prices. Comparing it to other events of the same size, prices for drinks were pretty ok, but definitely in the mid-upper spectrum. Since there was no token system, the prices were written out in Euros, straight-up.
The location was possibly made to fit something like 2000 people, but it never felt too packed, which was great, especially if felt like dancing and needed a bit of space. Setting an absolutely amazing vibe with tracks like “Tokyo” or some good ol’ Italian Reverse Bass tracks, that proved the Austrians were “Heeeeey-Hoooo-ligans” to the max.The vibe just continued to heat up and Dr. Rude surely showed the alpine crowd what a party was. Freestyle vibes in Hardstyle Heaven! It was just breathtaking! And this is where some cultural differences come in: When in Austria, back home, so to say, it’s important to say “Hello” to a few people that you haven’t seen in months or even years.
Austrians are polite people, but dare you, if you don’t greet a friend or colleague, that you haven’t seen in some time. Living in the Netherlands, and now being back in Austria, one could experience a clash of cultures every now and then with the Dutch “gezelligheid” meeting the good ol’ Austrian and particularly (near-) Viennese “leiwand sein”.
It’s just different and here and there you could see the difference. Austrians do not and will not go to events unless they are 100% convinced the party will be good, this is something that doesn’t just come from the 2013/2014 trauma mentioned earlier, but also has to do with the Austrian mentality as a whole: We either dance or we don’t. And, guess what: fuck yes, today we danced! And how we danced! What a fuckin’ set by Dr Rude it was, hands-down one of the best of the night.Bass Modulators rolled out a very diverse set ranging from newer tracks like “Mantra”, their Defqon.1 anthem or “Oxygen” and back to several Headhunterz tracks and some sing-a-long Scantraxx classics. The vibe was peaking. Once again participating in one Heeey-Hooo after another the Austrians surely now did what they were doing best: drunk dancing. Very drunk.
While the scene is quite sober from any other substances, the No-Smoking policy was very widely ignored (much to the despair of the security guards) and alcohol levels were visibly held quite high. Dancing in the back, you could see the amazing stage, modeled after the artwork of the 15 Years Of Scantraxx Tour. The “Gate” formed the LED background of the DJ booth and was a stunning view to look at. The lasers and front LED panel made the entire thing perfect, it wasn’t the biggest stage there ever was in Austria, but definitely one of the best. Ups to the stage designer!Next up was the main man, the “Godfather Of Hardstyle” himself, DJ The Prophet! This was most likely our “set of the night”. Mixing up Scantraxx & DJ The Prophet classics, Reverse Bass & hard-hitting kicks, the Scantraxx Boss showed the Austrian crowd exactly what Scantraxx stood for: nothing but the very best. Opening up with “Reverse Bass” and then moving from one energetic track to another (i.e. also the current crowd-pleaser “The Project” by Sub Zero Project or his very own masterpiece “Caramba”) the set just took whatever what we thought was left of the crowd’s energy. The set got pretty damn tough towards the end and we were not even sure of how the next DJ was supposed to keep up. The crowd response? Insane! Our feet? Absolutely dead.But the crowd was unstoppable. Yes, it did thin out a bit, but to my, and the surprise of everyone: not a lot. Frontliner was still playing to an absolutely packed dance floor. And that very dancefloor was still shaking. Next to some new tracks, he also played classics like “Discorecord” and others, overall a very typical set for Frontliner. While standing in the back, the stage was still great to look at, but during this time of the night the constant and intense strobe light got a bit exhausting on the eyes. As the evening progressed into the last two hours, the dance floor thinned out further and only the real die-hards were left. Oh boy, were they in for a treat.Last one on the line-up and closing off the night was the one and only Mr. Unleashed, better known as Digital Punk. The crowd was still going strong and the Punk was treated with an insane crowd response by what could have been a still very full room. Some police vocals were hitting the sound system, as rumors hit the crowd that the “blue silver party busses” were standing outside for real. Nevermind it, Digital Punk just hit the crowd with one banger after another. This year’s Public Enemies Qapital anthem “Start The Rage” or his Intents 2017 anthem with Adaro left the crowd kick-rolling and screaming until the very last beat. What an energy.
Hardstyle is back in Austria. And its back for real! With Scantraxx claiming back its space in the land of mountains and rivers, and hopefully many other big labels and brands to come, we can just be excited for what’s going to happen next in Austria! Special “Thank You” to the crew from Scantraxx & Groove Entertainment Group for having us! See you soon!
Picture Credit: Groove Entertainment Group