It was around 11 o’clock when we arrived and the temperatures had already risen to what felt way above 30°C. The nuclear power plant Zwentendorf was a very impressive location that felt like it demanded your respect the moment you arrived. The heat, the tower, the empty fields around that made you feel like you were completely cut off from any civilisation other than the small village closeby. Never operational, the “AKW Zwentendorf” as the Austrians called it, was a symbol for a future free from nuclear energy for many, today it was the symbol of Hardstyle finally finding its way to the small country in the Alps. Being the first of its kind, Shutdown Festival, was a small outdoor event in Austria. First we didn’t think too much of it: great lineup, sure, but just three stages, how impressive could it be? Spoiler: very!
As mentioned before, there were three stages: The main stage, the Freestyle and Raw Hardstyle stage and a Hardcore stage. The main stage was designed like a cyborg-scorpion of some sort and looked very impressive despite its small size. If we had to guess a good 2000-4000 people fitted on the main stage dance floor and the Hardcore tent seemed of an equal size. The stage inside the tent was decorated with a huge cyborg-spider, to fit the “Rise Of The Machines” theme once again. The smallest stage was the Freestyle and Raw Hardstyle stage, the stage design was colored blue, silver and yellow and seemed inspired by an atomic nucleus.
While Rebourne & Cyber opened the main stage and Tom Aitch played the first beats on the Freestyle and Raw Hardstyle stage, we started exploring the festival grounds. The “nuclear warriors” slowly started showing up on the festival site and the stages slowly started to fill up. Cyber and Rebourne played a relaxed, laid back and euphoric opening set, while Tom Aitch paved the way for playing with his colleague as Concept Art. By the time the first DJs stopped playing, the weather just started getting hotter and hotter, not a single cloud was to be found in the sky. We escaped to the Hardcore tent, which was still providing a good amount of shade during this time and enjoyed a bit of Poley Tight’s set. The Austrian was early, but didn’t hold back on getting the crowd going. A very Industrial opening set got the Austrian Gabbers in the right mood to hakk all day and it was safe to say the tent got torn down before it filled up!
Back at the main stage Euphoric newcomer Demi Kanon played a dreamy set with several of his new tracks, including his brand-new collab with Atmozfears and a lot of new stuff. After his set we decided to check out the bars. Next to tasty Austrian Beer, Desperados was served and a whole selection of different Red Bull-Vodka was available. What we definitely missed at these scorching hot temperatures was a refreshing Radler though! Payment was in cash over an NFC wristband that doubled as Festival Wristband. You could top up your wristband balance online or at the Top-Up containers and even get remaining money transferred back to your account afterwards. We got our drink and headed for the Freestyle and Raw Hardstyle stage. On the way, the Fire Brigade had set up a hose, that sprinkled water onto the sweaty partygoers. Temperatures were still rising and the people seemingly enjoyed the water. We sat down in the grass at the back of the stage, where some patio umbrellas provided a good amount of shade. Dutch Moment were playing and we all nodded our heads to the uplifting Freestyle beats – dancing was not an option at the moment, as much as we wanted to.
With 37°C the temperatures peaked during Bioweapon. The main stage looked seemingly empty, but taking a closer look, most of the “Nuclear Warriors” just hung out next to the food corner, where even more umbrellas protected the crowd from the fireball in the sky. Bioweapon stood against the heat and provided an absolutely epic set with classics, edits and fast-paced mixing that truly stood out that day. Afterwards we once again headed to the Freestyle and Raw Hardstyle stage, where Deepack greeted the crowd with the best they could do in German. “Hallo, Österreichhhhh!” The crowd loved it and the atmosphere was amazing, the energy at the stage was remarkable and we had true respect for all the dancers in the sun. Fast-paced high-energy mixing and very energetic sets were one of the strong plus points of Shutdown Festival throughout the entire day.
Heading back to the main stage we were greeted by the craziness of our favourite Canadians: Crisis Era. Mixing up several styles, truly not giving a single shit, the duo tore the main floor (or whatever of it was not being boring in the shade) and surprised us with the most unique set of the day. Did we mention their outfits let the stage dancers look like cute schoolgirls? Yup, that’s Crisis Era for you. Meanwhile at the “Hardcore Sauna Tent”, D-Fence lit up the place even more dropping bomb track after bomb track. We decided to have a longer break as the heat was taking its toll on us. We checked out the Food Corner and were pleasantly surprised by an Ice Pop parlor. Ice Pops? Alright cool, but these were alcoholic ice pops! We enjoyed several of them, conveniently ingesting alcohol and cooling down at the same time, but happened to sweat out the alcohol faster than we could feel it. Next to ice pops, party goers could choose between Pizza, Poffertjes and several other foods. The heat was still unbearable, but temperatures slowly started to normalize towards the evening.
We checked out a good bit of Digital Punk’s epic set (and totally took the chance to take a cold shower at the water hose while doing so) and arrived right on time for Scale and the “Desperados Rush Rumble” we arrived back at the main stage. MC Tellem, Scale, dancers, inflatables, flags, cardboards, confetti and the anthem made the Rush Rumble the mid-festival highlight. It was a colorful party moment that reminded us quite a bit of the Defqon.1 Power Hour, but still different enough to be its own unique moment meant for Shutdown Festival. Scale proved himself a true champion handling the Austrian crowd and the vibe was amazing throughout the entire set. At this point we would also give a shout-out to MC Tellem who was an absolute trooper, standing and mc’ing in the heat like a pro for the whole day! Thumbs up!
One of our personal surprises of the day was Stephanie’s set. Again very fast paced and well mixed, but this time the Austrians were more than just partying. Classics, fun tracks, edits, great transitions and occasional MC’ing made this set one of the best of the day. The crowd was going mental, but when the “Italian Queen Of Hardstyle” played Project One and Headhunterz classics, the crowd simply lost it. Top! Sound Rush and Adrenalize tried to keep the same energy but simply couldn’t keep up with what had happened just minutes before. Still performing a very solid set, the guys seemingly enjoyed themselves and the crowd just kept on dancing and dancing. The sun finally set and people finally felt like they had enough energy to dance again. We headed to the Freestyle and Raw Hardstyle again, which was now definitely just a Raw Hardstyle stage: Sub Sonik was lucky to be playing in front of a crowd that finally had the energy to show their dedication again. The atmosphere was great but there was still more to come!
Frontliner provided a massive, classic Frontliner set, and the crowd started to truly wake up right now. It was like the chillier temperatures gave back life to the “Nuclear Warriors”. The power plant was lit up by big floodlights and looked absolutely epic at night. We watched a bit of a completely mental DJ The Prophet set, before heading to Raw Hardstyle Rockstar E-Force. The Raw crowd also got back on its feet and the vibe at the stage was nothing less but absolutely epic. Austrians might not handle the heat too well, but as soon as they feel comfortable, damn, they’re an epic crowd that any DJ might wish for! We headed back to the main stage where D-Block & S-te-Fan played a fast paced mix that was something between an album showcase, a classics set and their current favourites. The crowd loved it and so did we! Shortly before the endshow we headed to see Endymion. The “Wolves” completely annihilated whatever what was left of the Raw Hardstyle stage, without ever sounding too Extra Raw, a fantastic closing set for our evening, we couldn’t have asked for a better one! The endshow was small, but once again the location set the scene and as fireworks vanished into the clear, beautifully bright starlit sky, we couldn’t help ourselves but already look forward to the next edition of Shutdown Festival!
With an absolutely epic location, taking place next to a never activated nuclear power plant, a brilliant production for a small-sized festival, and many great details such as the NFC-wristbands, small goodies, drink prices being showed in “real” cash amounts, Shutdown Festival is here to stay. Hiccups, like the long waiting times at the entrance aside, sound being not loud enough at the beginning and especially the lack of Radler, Shutdown is a rock-solid festival with a very high quality standard. Great stages, diverse lineup and the fantastic (but very hot) weather made this festival one of the best of the season for us. Are YOU down to party in an absolutely “atomic” atmosphere? Shutdown Festival is calling your name! We can absolutely recommend it!
Check out the german translation of this article on Hardstyle Österreich:
More from Hardstyle Österreich:
Pictures: Heino Spindler /Patrick Ziebermayr/ Shutdown Festival