The world after COVID 19 is going to face a global recession. Major players in the car business, travel industry or even airlines will be supported with government grants or subsidized loans. But a complete sector, who tremendously contributes to the European economy and to its culture seems to be left behind. But the radius of companies and persons working in and around the Event- and Festival sector is vast. An interview series in 3 episodes with people from across the scene shall emphasize how big this radius actually is, and therefore that this sector matters. Welcome to “The Scene speaks”
Team Hardstyle Mag
Three months have passed since the first Covid-19 lockdown was exclaimed by several governments in Europe. Meanwhile, almost everyone accepted the restrictions and tries to manage their daily lives.
The amount of new infections is dropping, caused by the ongoing limitations and step by step public facilities like gyms, cinemas or restaurants are allowed to open again. Even though people are wearing face masks or rubber gloves, everything seems to get back ‘normal’. Except one.
UNCERTAINTY AND MISSING ATTENTION
But there’s one thing missing, which shows, that ‘normality’ is further than we think: Events and festivals. All of this is gone now. For how long? We don’t know. And this uncertainty makes it even harder and more unbearable to endure this horrible situation.
But what happens behind the scenes? All the hard work, the enormous sums of money and most importantly the passion. The passion to create something big, something huge, something that leaves the people speechless. Something that makes it easy to create beautiful memories, which will be in your heart forever.
- How does this passion live on?
- What happens to the money?
- Who is still able to work?
THE EVENT SECTOR MATTERS
HardstyleMag has therefore met with different personalities of the scene and talked openly with them about the current situation.
This series shall show how many people are working in and around the Event- and Festival sector, where they come from, and what this business means to them and last but not least – how they experience the current situation. So let us take you behind the scene and show what it means to work there.
Since the number of people involved exceeded our initial expectations, we decided to split this interview into 3 episodes. In each interview we talk to artists and entrepreneurs from the scene.
WELCOME TO “THE SCENE SPEAKS EPISODE 1”
For our very first Episode we are delighted to speak to Daniël Versteegen (General Manager at Most Wanted DJ Agency); Rene de Bruijn (Artist known as Digital Punk); Sandra Verkerk (Graphic Designer); Pieter Heijnen ( Artist known DJ Thera); Julien Raasing ( Artist known Jay Reeve); Hans Verhoeven (Managing Director at MTD); Johan van Korven (Part of Donkey Rollers ); Bart Peters & Thijs Verdegaal (Artists known as Primeshock) and Ramon Stuurman (Known as MC Livid)
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF WITHIN 15 WORDS
Daniel: I’m Daniël Verstegen, 32 years and passionate hard dance follower since the year 2000.
Hans: Hans Verhoeven Managing Director MTD, since 1978 working as a supplier in the event sector
Rene: I’m Hardstyle Dj producer Digital Punk. Known for Unleashed and Public Enemies. Signed to Rougstate.
Pieter: I am Pieter Heijnen, Dj Thera, releasing diverse hardstyle music since 1999, owner of Theracords
Julien: My name is Jay Reeve and I bring positive vibes with Hardstyle music!
Ramon: MC Livid, the voice you hear at a RAW-Hardstyle day or night!
Sandra: Graphic designer since 2013. Adventurous, go-getter, motivated
Johan: Johan van Korven, part of Donkey Rollers
Bart & Thijs: We are Primeshock. We are all about energetic and fun Hardstyle
HaMa: How did you come into the scene and to your current role?
Daniel: I Deejayed a bit in the past, did some side jobs in the event industry and grew from an intern to a general manager within the Most Wanted DJ company.
Bart & Thijs: We both started as solo acts and found each other through the same hardstyle label we released music on. Collaborations followed and soon we realized we had more fun as a duo than solo. This is how we eventually became Primeshock!
Johan: In 2002 I was the A&R Manager of Fusion Records and our first release was a ‘Donkey Rollers’ track. Q-dance asked if it was a live-act which they could put on the mainstage of the very first Defqon1, so yeah, of course, it’s a live-act 😉
Julien: I’ve been listening to hard dance music since I was a little kid. It started of with early hardcore when I bought my first CD before Hardstyle even existed. Since then I never stopped following this music genre and I only wanted more and more of it. So it went from a die-hard listener to visitor of many events and now to producing and playing the music myself. And that is where I am right now haha.
Hans: Started first a heating and air-conditioning rental company for events, sold that company in 1999 and bought in 2006 the local MTD company and expanded that to global temporary water infrastructure and water treatment company for events
Rene: With talent, but most of all, HARD WORK!
Sandra: After graduating in Graphic Design I went to the HBO study Art Management. Soon I found out that this was not for me. During this time I did an internship at MBFH in Arnhem. They organized a.o. Beat the Bridge. I stayed here for a number of years as a freelancer, and in the meantime, I had contacted Theracords, for which I did a lot at that time. This way my network grew more and more.
Ramon: I worked at a club in Schagen, and the MC of the night was sick.. So I tried it one time for the fun.. and after that I started at party’s of Lose Your Mind (CRAFT & PENOZE) and more!
Pieter: I have always produced music for as long as I can remember. Things went a bit faster at the end of the ’90s when I started working together with Brennan Heart. From 1999 till the end of 2005 we have worked together on lots of tracks and done many bookings. After that period I quit the scene for a while but started picking up producing in 2008 again and created my own label Theracords to release the tracks I made. One thing lead to another and before I know it, the label had many artists and eventually grew to a bigger company as it is now with doing artist management, bookings alongside music releasing.
HaMa: How you personally experience the current corona situation in your private life?
Daniel: Although I miss hanging out with a bunch of friends, I am happy that I can now spend more time with my family during the weekends. Next to that I go out into nature a lot and have more time to exercise.
Ramon: Yeah looking from day to day, like I always do.. but the creativity never stops. So working a lot on new tracks, and take some more time with my family these weekends!
Sandra: I miss the festivals, working at the office as a freelancer.
Pieter: It’s really crazy and I actually try not to think about it too much. It’s something we cannot change so we got to deal with the consequences and make it the best for everyone to continue. I just really hope things can start up again and we can all remain healthy along the way.
Rene: It sucks. All the restrictions make it hard to see family and friends.
Hans: I still work from the office, but I cannot travel anymore and cannot meet our MTD colleagues and customers in other countries. That is for me a very big impact if you normally have 150 flights a year.
Julien: It is a very tough situation. Of course, the uncertainty is killing because nobody knows when we are able to visit events again. This has a big impact on both the financial situation and workflow in the studio. Bookings were my main income and made it possible for me to be a full-time musician. Luckily I qualified for some financial compensation from the government so at the moment I’m still able to focus on music and pay my bills, but no idea for how long. Next to the financial situation, this crisis is also affecting me personally a lot. Besides a lot of great bookings that I was supposed to play this year, also big plans were being made for my personal career and all of this has been canceled/postponed. So all together it’s pretty hard to always stay motivated and be creative in the studio, but of course, I try to stay positive, let the music do the talking, and hope for a quick comeback of the festivals soon.
Johan: Gladly my wife works from home, so she can take care of our son while he’s not in school. I help him get through his homework and piano lessons, so we’ll managing quite ok, to be honest. Just give each other enough space and help out wherever necessary and you’ll do just fine.
Bart & Thijs: In private life, we primarily miss the interaction with friends and family. The internet helps a lot to stay in contact, but nothing beats face-to-face get-togethers. For both of us, the financial impact is drastic as well. Going from a packed agenda to nothing at all takes a toll on your mental state, though we manage to motivate each other to keep on pushing until better times arrive. The uncertainty is what makes it hard!
HaMa: A lot of people love going to festivals – but as they only see the result on that day they are there to attend, we would like to highlight now how big arrangements for a festival are. Can you please give us a rough idea of how long it takes to prepare, organize, and conduct a festival by maybe taking one known festival as an example?
Julien: For me as a producer the summer festival season is basically the time that I work for the entire year. Especially for the kind of Hardstyle that I make, which is the more uplifting and melodic Hardstyle, this is the time to shine for us because during Winter season there aren’t as many events for Euphoric Hardstyle. I always try to make every set for each festival special and spend a lot of hours in the studio to prepare for it. Making new music, edits, mash-ups etc. and that usually goes on for day and night.
Sandra: At Absolutely Fresh I work in the busy periods as a DTP/designer. Here I start in November/January to make all the online material for social media (artist pictures, google banners etc) and production work. The events of Absolutely Fresh take place between April and July. Here in August/September, I will start all the preparations.
Bart & Thijs: For the bigger events, it often takes months to prepare. For example, we were supposed to play on the Defqon.1 mainstage this summer, which is an immense goal to reach to us. We’ve been preparing, planning and writing music for this starting back in November 2019, while the event takes place in June 2020. And this is just us as Primeshock, ONE act, ONE hour set… The work that goes into the event as a whole is unbelievable!
Ramon: Yeah I think for a festival like Defqon.1, I normally host 3 days. (including the Q-Dance Pre-Party), I call every DJ in the weeks before the DQ-Weekend.. and ask if they have new music to listen for me, and what they expect from me as MC at their set.
Pieter: I personally never organized a festival, but I did organize several (smaller) events. It really takes months and months of preparation. Loads of hours of work done by a much bigger group of people that you would imagine. So the fact that this has completely vanished is really horrible for everyone involved. I really hope it can start up again soon, first on a smaller scale of course and then building it up again.
Hans: The preparation time is depended if it is a new festival or a recurring festival. For a new festival, we need more time to explain MTD’s products & services and to do site visits. But a recurring festival is one-week preparation in the office and then on average two weeks to set up our temporary water infrastructures.
Daniel: From a MWDJ perspective, we don’t organize events. But I can tell you that most festival organizers start planning their new edition right after their last edition.
Rene: Big festivals prepare months before they actually build their festival, which costs more than a week in most cases. It takes so many hours to prepare everything and not to even start about their personnel and the hiring of security, bars, food courts etc.
HaMa: With those big projects and so many companies involved (like catering, crew support, security) who is directing everting and how? Is there something like a council that supervises everything?
Hans: MTD deals directly with the organizer or main production company. Sometimes hires the festival organizer a production company to prepare the overlay of the venue, like most LiveNation and AEG festivals.
Rene: You have to ask the organizers for a specific answer.
Koen: Production managers, show directors, organizers themself.
Ramon: I really don’t know how this works 😉
HaMa: Let us talk more about the current situation. How is your business currently affected?
Johan: Completely dead.. no income whatsoever, just doing administration work, file forms for government help, plan some livestreams and prepare the artists to have a smooth start again once this whole thing blows over.
Pieter: As my company is primarily a bookings agency and there are absolutely zero bookings/events right now, my business is effected extremely
Daniel: Our core business is arranging gigs for our artists and we get paid per completed show. But now 99,5% of the shows are canceled, you can imagine that the crisis hits us hard. Luckily, we also run some record labels and sell online artist merchandise. This helps us to cover some of the costs.
Ramon: Yeah of course no party’s.. so really ‘boring’ weekends.. but creating new music is still going on!
Julien: All my bookings are canceled at the moment which took care of my main income. So the financing of my business is definitely affected, but also mentally because there is no clarity about how long this all will take.
Rene: Corona hit us all hard. My first canceled booking was South Korea at the beginning of March. I haven’t played a stage since and it will take a while. So, no income, but the costs will continue.
Sandra: All my freelance assignments within the events have been canceled. A busy period that was to come was abruptly aborted.
Bart & Thijs: No bookings, so pretty much no income. Of course, there’s still some money coming in from music sales, but those numbers aren’t even worth mentioning. We’re looking for ways to overcome this period and luckily there are some economic help regulations. Though it doesn’t cover anything close to what the loss ACTUALLY is for us.
Hans: Normally we execute 1500 events per year, now all events are canceled. We only had a few events early this year and hope to get some later this year. So we are changing our focus to other sectors, like military, semi-permanent construction, NGO’s, agriculture, etc. We are now executing temporary hospitals, military camps, temporary water buffers, offshore projects, etc.
HaMa: How is your business surrounding affected?
Sandra: I myself am ”lucky” that my work doesn’t have to be just for the events industry. This is not what I focus on and of course what I like best.
Pieter: At this point, it is all about focusing on all other activities to keep the company going, so that’s quite the challenge.
Hans: We see many other event suppliers working in other sectors like temporary hospitals. We help each other to projects in other sectors.
Johan: It’s terrible to see so many good and creative companies are going to ground just because of this.
Ramon: I think we’re all in the same situation, and try to help each other out where we can help. Together we survive this, so we have to stand together!
Bart & Thijs: Collaborations are postponed, getting together as a duo is harder due to social distancing, meetings are done online and thus feel less productive. Everyone tries to make the best of it, but it’s clear to see the business and everyone’s surrounding is taking a big hit.
HaMa: Are there any measures that help you to minimize the negative impact on your business?
Sandra: No, as I mentioned above I can fortunately also focus on companies outside the music industry
Hans: The event sector is a young sector, some 50 years ago was Woodstock organized by some hippies. In the last decades, we have made the event sector a professional sector, with standards, regulations, procedures and working on sustainability. But our loved event sector is not as good organized as the bars & restaurants sector or the farmers. We are passionate to organize a nice party but were not organizing ourselves. We only have an event association VVEM in the Netherlands since 2001 and globally AGES since 2014. So, the financial help of the Government in many countries is not suitable or tailored for the event sector.
Ramon: I don’t think so, maybe when the small clubs are opening again soon.. we can rebuild on small party’s again. But for now.. nobody knows of course.
Rene: You see a lot of livestreams to keep our music and movement alive. That’s really good! But we don’t earn anything from it. So no, business-wise there is nothing at the moment that really minimizes the effects of corona. Expect keeping your costs as low as possible.
Daniel: Our main priority is to survive this crisis with all my colleagues who made Most Wanted DJ where it is now. Some big investments we had in mind are put on hold. A couple of collogues from the agency department now help the merchandise team and marketing team, to make sure we can offer the best services to our artists and fans.
Johan: Try to be on point on social media, let the fans know you’re still around and working to get back stronger then before.
Pieter: Fortunately we have a great team and everyone is helping in their own way to keep going. I have also worked a lot on other ways to focus the business on and that is also helping.
Bart & Thijs: The economic regulations for businesses help, although they aren’t enough for many. The many online events popping up certainly help with staying relevant online as an artist, so we can start where we left off as soon as the world turns back to normal. It does cost a lot of time however, and you don’t earn anything…
HaMa: Do you get any help from the government?
Daniel: Yes luckily we get help from the government.
Sandra: In the month of April I had 0 turnover. In this month I was fortunately entitled to the TOZO
Pieter: Yes, for the first three months I received like a social minimum income subsidy from the municipality, but that will quit, unfortunately. I also receive a percentage of the salary for the employees which helps a lot as well. It is not sure yet how that will continue, but it definitely will. So in that way, it will definitely help me to keep everything going and maintain a healthy company.
Johan: Not like KLM, but we still got some pocket money indeed 😉
Rene: Yes, they offer a little help for 3 months. After that, I’m on my own again because of the new rules.
Hans: Yes, we get in some country’s support from the Government to pay our salaries, but that is not enough to survive for most event suppliers. We have a seasonal revenue and we should make our money in the summer, so we need a percentage contribution on our lost summer revenue to survive the next winter.
Julien: At the moment I’m getting a financial compensation that makes it able for me to take care of my fixed costs, but of course that’s not as much as I would make when doing the bookings. I also don’t know for how long they will continue to finance us. I’ve noticed that they came up with a ‘2nd package’ for the next 3 months and it seems that I’ll be getting even less this time as they will be looking at my partner’s income as well. But I’m coming to dig a bit deeper into that and hope that it will still be enough.
Ramon: No I didn’t get any help from the government because I started working again through the week, till it’s all over!
HaMa: Do you honestly think that the EU has acted in a proper way?
Daniel: Let’s evaluate that in a couple of months.
Hans: There was no roadbook on how to act or handle this virus, not on EU or local level. We all (the EU, local Government but also the event companies) must learn out of this crisis and prepare ourselves better for the next crises.
Julien: It’s hard to tell as this is a new Virus that still needs to be discovered a lot about. I understand the temporary measurements they took in order to limit the impact of the virus until we know more. But it seems pretty unrealistic to state that all events have to be canceled until a vaccine has been made which can take a long time. As far as I know, we are not well informed enough yet to tell how this Virus will evolve, and how it behaves outside and inside. Maybe the impact of the virus will already be less after we’ve grown an immune system and I’ve read recent studies that conclude that the infection rate outside is extremely limited. So if that’s true I definitely think that these measurements are too much and are damaging the industry unnecessarily.
Johan: Who can tell.. I think we do it pretty ok here in Holland.. it’s always easy to tell differently afterward, but I’m not complaining. I’m just happy no one in my near surrounding got ill or died.
Bart & Thijs: Yes, this is a very serious virus and doing nothing would make matters worse. We believe it’s devastating for many people, but there’s nothing more you can do than act the best way science seems to point to. That’s all we can believe for now! Better times WILL come, it’s not like somebody wished for this all to happen. It’s a matter of helping the right sectors to stay afloat.
Rene: That’s a very hard question. I think it’s a very hard decision to literally kill the economy, but they had to do it I guess. Of course, there are things I would do differently, but it’s not of to me. Business-wise I would say that the effects on these decisions are fatal to a lot of companies. I just hope that our scene will bounce back.
Pieter: I think globally it’s a shame countries are too busy with politics and are not working much more together in general. A crisis like this is affecting everyone.
HaMa: If you could name 3 realistic measures the EU and the government could do to really help the event scene what should they do?
Pieter: This is obviously an entirely new situation so the only thing I could say is that I hope the people in charge will look into all investigations. We are currently filled with so much news without even knowing what is correct and what is false. I have read that when outside the virus can’t really spread, so then I would immediately think, so events outside shouldn’t be a problem? That’s obviously too easy to think that, but yeah, I am an artist, not an expert in virology.
- 1: continue contribution on salaries till 1st April 2021
- 2: contribution percentage on lost revenue summer season 2020 to pay the fixed costs winter 2020/2021
- 3: heavy discounted prices from local government to organize an event again, like permissions, local taxes and hiring local venues. We must start again organizing events, but that will be difficult because of less sponsorships of companies, so the local cities/governments must help organizers that they can start cheaper without having lots of start-up city costs. That is in benefit for the organizer, the artist and the event supplier.
Daniel: I completely understand that the event industry is last in line in this crazy situation, so let’s not over rush things. But it would be great if the government would allow us to experiment more with (small) social distancing events.
Bart & Thijs: Bring more money support to the cultural sector, so the event scene can survive a bit longer in these uncertain times. If a flight company get billions, and we as a whole sector get only a few hundred million while more people work in the sector as a whole, something goes wrong.
Eventually, start with allowing smaller events to see if they can work. Slowly building up towards bigger events if everything goes well.
- Offer more support to freelancers, no partner test for the months to come.
- Probably relax rules (contracts) so zpp’ers who have no work in the coming period can easily bridge this gap with companies that do need personnel.
- Maybe open up the clubs sooner if possible so that organizations can have the opportunity to organize small-scale events there.
Julien: As it seems to be that the virus does little to no harm to the younger people, but in most of the cases only to older people with underlying health issues, it might be an option to come up with a system that allows the younger generation to keep the economy going including events while preventing the risk group from being affected by taking proper isolation measurements instead of isolating everyone. I don’t think that the 1.5 meter rule will work for events, with drinking and partying people, but as recent studies show that the infection rate outside is very limited, we could at least focus on outside festivals only and use open air and open tent stages only. Of course only when these studies have been 100% confirmed.
Johan: Well, it’s not just about tossing in some money. Festivals are a crowded place, so it’s really hard to pinpoint how to act to this. If you allow smaller festivals with for example 1000 people, it’s still possible to get infected. I think the government has looked into it properly but can’t find a solution, neither can I. Maybe give the immune a bracelet or a digital file so they can enter the place safely. Make ‘Immunity’ festivals??
HaMa: If we look at Sweden, where no shutdown took place, but the infection rate decreases, do you think that was the better decision?
Julien: I think that measurements should be taken based upon the population density, and this is very different in Sweden compared to other countries, so that is hard to tell. Especially upfront because nobody knew how the Virus would respond to all the different measurements.
Daniel: Let’s evaluate in a couple of months.
Pieter: It would of course be much better for the economy, but we would never know if our numbers would have been the same. It’s very difficult to compare countries with this because every country does their testing and such differently.
Johan: Maybe for Sweden it was. The country isn’t as crowded as Holland, they don’t have such a blooming festival season as we have, so it’s almost impossible to compare.
Ramon: No don’t think so, I think every government is doing what feels right. So we have to check together what works. And accept if they ask, or tell something.
Sandra: I think it’ll indicate afterwards what the right action was to fight the virus. I think the Netherlands would do well to relax the measures sooner in order to be able to keep the economy running.
Hans: No, they have more problems as the Netherlands today.
HaMa: Once events can take place again, are you already thinking of measures in particular to minimize the infection risk?
Daniel: I believe that (big) events can start again when there is a vaccination available and I hope from that we moment we can act ‘normal’ again.
Bart & Thijs: Maybe start with obligated face masks to decrease the risk of infection.
Ramon: No I don’t think about those things.. when you’re wearing facemasks and everybody is pumping on Hardstyle beats. People can’t hold it on their face, it’s way too hot. But I think outdoor stages minimize the infection risk instead of a tent offcourse.
Pieter: I think the most important one is to not go to an event when you are not feeling well. Furthermore washing hands regularly and trying to keep distance, that should do it!
Hans: We can help the organizer with increased sanitation products and of course clean and safe drinking water.
Johan: I don’t think the 1 and a half meter will make the difference. At the toilets you touch the taps, the door handles, the lockers, etc etc. The way the virus spread is so easy, I don’t think you can really control it in any kind of way.
HaMa: Some say that this crisis is a good way to clean the market as there were lately just too many festivals and events. Do you honestly agree with that? Were there really too many events in NL?
Daniel: It’s all about supply and demand. That will also be the guidance in the future.
Julien: I think that people who share this opinion are pretty spoiled. I don’t see anything wrong with having so many festivals. There is nobody forcing you to visit them. The fact that most of these festivals were successful shows that there are apparently enough people who do like it and are willing to visit them. And of course, from an artist point of view, more festivals = more bookings = more income. So I can only see good things in it haha.
Rene: Well if this crisis takes to long, there will be nothing left. So no, this crisis doesn’t help the industry. Good festivals will always win from the trashy ones.
Hans: There will be fewer festivals and fewer suppliers in 2021 due to the Corona virus. But normally an open economy in a country keeps a balance between what the markets are asking and what the market is offering. Also without a crisis, there will be festivals and suppliers stopping and new festivals and suppliers starting. But today the crises will shake-up the whole event sector and it will take years till we are back on the level of 2019 in Europe.
Johan: Never too many. If they work, they work, if they don’t, they stop existing anyway..Maybe the 20K+ festivals won’t be allowed until 2022?? But maybe we have to deal with 10 festivals of 1000 people instead?
Pieter: I totally disagree. When there would be too many events, they would not sell enough tickets and eventually end anyways. That’s how the market works.
Bart & Thijs: No, we disagree. If events survive in the economic state we used to be in before this virus, why should there be too many events? The musical value of NL is huge worldwide, we believe for that reason there are many various events for everyone to enjoy exactly what they like. We are a small country, but with a big musical culture.
Sandra: I certainly don’t agree. Everyone should get a chance to put down an event. And make his dreams come true. What comes down to it now is that only the small organizations are going to fall down.
Ramon: No I don’t think so, all the festivals where I have been the last years, they have their own charm and memories. The people who create the festivals are doing it with the same passion as we as artists do. So I think ‘clean the market’ is not a good sentence. Everybody is starting small, look back at the first Q-Dance party’s.. and where they stand now.
HaMa: If the event shutdown endures what are your measures to overcome this crisis?
Sandra: What I’ve already done is look for a job next door and in the meantime focus on companies instead of organizations and events.
Daniel: Use all the time we have to be creative, make new plans for now and the future and make sure we’re ready when the doors opening again.
Bart & Thijs: Keep on making music and trying to stay in touch with fans to stay relevant, until the crisis ends. Maybe start working on other stuff part-time to stay afloat financially.
Johan: Keep calm, don’t lease an expensive car and hope you have some savings for these kind of things.
Julien: It depends on what financial measurements the government will take on the long run, but hopefully it doesn’t get to a point where I need to go find a different job and not be able to do what I love most anymore. I’ve worked hard for years to be where I am right now including all the ‘sacrifices’ involved, so let’s hope that this won’t all be destroyed because of this crisis.
Ramon: Yeah I’m waiting till I can do my job again, and meanwhile I’m working at my old job. And happy that I can do that till the world is ‘normal’ again!
Pieter: Focusing on several other activities in my company to make sure it can stay up and running.
Hans: Reduce fixed costs, labor, buildings, expenses, cars, and focus on new sectors.
HaMa: What could the people out there do to help or support you?
Daniel: Keep streaming and (legally) download the music from your favorite artists and if you have the opportunity, then also buy merchandise from this artist. This is a great help to them and the people who are involved behind the scenes.
Ramon: Listen to my tracks 😉
Sandra: Their ears and eyes stop when someone needs a graphic designer!
Hans: We have to start again organizing events, that is better for everybody. We could start with max 5000pax events and all visitors have to register themselves. That is the best medicine for us.
Pieter: Streaming my music as much as possible! It’s indeed that easy! I also offer studio sessions for producers, provide mixdown and mastering services, so that’s also a way how I can be supported!
Bart & Thijs: The best help would be to keep listening to our music, stay in touch with us, and stay hopeful. As soon as we can return to the events, it’ll feel as if nothing has happened and we can start where we left off!
Julien: At this moment all people can do for me is stream my music haha, but let’s all stand together to come up with ideas and initiatives to keep this beautiful industry running.
Rene: Stream the shit out of my music on Spotify etc. That generates a little income.
Johan: What I don’t understand at the moment. Everyone is hosting live-streams, but no one is making a business out of it. People can’t buy tickets to go to a festival, so why not let them pay a few bucks to watch a stream. That kinda way you can create at least some budget to do these kind of things and support the scene. Why should people just sit at home and ‘get everything for free’ in this situation?
HaMa: Many of you are currently seeking alternative concepts to get in contact with the scene. What are your current projects you would like to highlight now?
Bart & Thijs: Besides music projects and the Q-dance QONNECT OST we’ve made (a true honor!), we’re doing weekly live streams with our Plugged In concept. On top of that, we have our monthly podcast Powermode!
Pieter: I have been extremely productive in the studio making new music, so in the next few months there will be quite a lot of music from me out there. Furthermore, I am also doing a Livestream (Thursday 28 May, 21.00) via my Facebook page and Youtube channel for the first time, so that’s also very exciting to see how that will go!
Daniel: We organize(d) some live streams for artists, so they can show their new music to the world in a proper way. We keep producing awesome merchandise and stay in touch with our relations and assist with new ideas and concepts.
Hans: We have no events, we post on MTD pure water LinkedIn the projects we execute today.
Rene: Making lots of music and play it on big livestreams such as Qonnected by Q-Dance and in my Unleashed Podcast.
Ramon: I’m only working on music right now, at my new track with Deadly Guns with deciding with the people at home which melody fits best, and after that the vocals.. so we’re making a track with ‘The Chosen Ones’ at home!
Johan: Outside of keeping social media up and running and some livestreams, no one likes to invest in things at the moment.
HaMa: Do you think it’s necessary to wait for a vaccine until large events should be allowed to take place again?
Daniel: I don’t know if it is necessary, but I’m sure the government thinks it is.
Rene: I’m not an expert, but I would try to build up the attendants of the festivals. So as long as it goes well we can grow a little bigger each time. But to fill up stadiums with 40.000 people. That’s maybe too much to ask.
Sandra: No, a drug, hopefully. And I hope that by then there will be more developments about the virus.
Bart & Thijs: Necessary, nobody knows. If someone manages to find a great cure, a vaccine becomes less important. Realistically, it would seem a vaccine is the best bet for now though. Smaller events might be able to take place before a vaccine arrives, but the largest events with international crowds can be a problem due to infections.
Johan: Hard question, but we don’t want to go into a second or third lockdown. These eight weeks were already terrible for the economy, don’t think another (mild) lockdown would be helpful.
Ramon: I think that the people who are older than 50, need to stay at home. And that we can party on our own risk again! Haha no that’s not factual.. Safety first for everybody. But if the vaccine is there, PLEASE bring back the party’s haha!
Pieter: I actually don’t. They should look more into how harmful the virus is outside, so there could potentially be outside events again. Furthermore, it’s most important to have a good treatment to get rid of the threatening part of the virus.
Hans: I am not a doctor, so I don’t know. I am also convinced that we have early next year a vaccine, there are so many researchers involved and there are investments of billions of dollars to find a vaccine. If we cannot find a vaccine within the next 12 months, we will never find one.
HaMa: What do you think will the scene look like after corona?
Daniel: Motivated and fully prepared with the best music and concepts we have to offer!!
Pieter: I honestly have no clue, this is such uncharted territory, that I seriously cannot think of how it would look.
Johan: Smaller events, perhaps more club-concepts again (which I hope for)
Julien: Depends on how long it will take, but probably some smaller organizations were forced to give up on their projects so we would have a few fewer festivals. Let’s just hope that the damage will stay limited.
Sandra: Actually, I’m hoping we’ll have a beer on it next year. Sweating people still standing against you, you have to wait in a long full line in front of the entrance. Everything you actually found annoying at a festival, now all of a sudden it’s missing. Hopefully next year there will be a festival season like it should be this year, but 10 times harder <3!
Ramon: I think we’re looking better to each other after the virus, taking little bit more care of each other after all this. And I think the vibe on party’s will be unreal. Everybody is so hyped when their lives are back!
Hans: Completely different. The event sector is thrown years back. Sponsors of festivals will stop or reduce sponsorships, visitors of festivals will travel less, price erosion for the commodities of the suppliers, this takes years to recover.
Bart & Thijs: Some events will be gone, other events might be on a tight budget, some artists might have left the scene… The main thing we expect seeing is an immense gratitude for the music. People already miss events, loud music and the feeling of this scene after barely two months! Also, we expect more love and attention for the Euphoric Hardstyle side after the crisis, as fans seem to listen more to those tracks during quarantine right now. The first few events that will take place again are going to be magical, we can’t wait!
HaMa: We currently see a concept called drive-in events. Like a drive-in cinema. Where people look at a DJ from their car. What do you think of this concept?
Rene: It’s a great idea in this situation. I hope more of these concepts will be invented!
Johan: It’s funny but after a few times you already get used to it.. You can’t dance or act out..
Julien: I think it’s a good initiative to stimulate the financial situation in this industry a bit. It creates possibilities for some organizations and artists to work on new projects again and gain some income. But that’s of course not on the scale that we’re used to, and I’m not sure if it gives the same fulfillment as an actual festival, but I am glad to see people taking initiatives.
Pieter: I have loads of respect for the organizations that are so creative to come up with such a concept so people can still enjoy an event! So I think that’s really awesome, although it can obviously not beat the ‘real thing’!
Sandra: I think it’s a great alternative. Although I won’t be going there so soon myself.
Bart & Thijs: We love it. It’s a creative way of staying within the regulations yet organizing events for now! Can’t wait to drop a Primeshock set at one of these, haha.
Ramon: Yeah it’s a cool idea.. but think maybe for a few times. I want to see a summer concept at the water with a lot of boats and a DJ-line up and ME on the beach side!
Daniel: It cannot match the feeling of a ‘regular’ festival and/or event, but it is a great alternative to stay in touch with each other.
Hans: Nice concept but not allowed in the Netherlands because you need local government permission, it is an event. Personally, if it was allowed in the Netherlands then I still think it has not a long future because of sustainability reasons.
HaMa: Even though it’s hard to imagine, do you see anything positive Corona brought?
Sandra: I do realize that I need to pay better attention to my money, and appreciate everything so normal.
Daniel: Don’t take everything for granted and I hope people see the benefits of traveling less for work or holidays.
Pieter: I think it’s not bad that we now realize more than ever we are all vulnerable human beings.
Hans: Revenue and profit-wise I see nothing positive, but business-wise at long term we see positive things like reorganizing the company, implementation of automation, and focusing on new sectors. But of course, we have to survive than.
Rene: The positive thing is a got to spend a lot of time with my wife, daughter and 2 dogs. That’s time well spend. Other than that, I found a new creative hobby. Drawing, Pencil Art. Check it out on my Instagram!
Johan: Small things are more appreciated, but you already notice that Dutch people always try to get most out of it for themselves. Like already overcrowded parks and beaches.. It’s not in our nature to be locked in a cage. In one way it’s pretty bad to see how people already deal with it, in another way it shows that we are a strong country and want to be out there to do what we love to do.
Bart & Thijs: A refocus on life. Some people are less stressed now, realize they need less or other stuff in their lives. More appreciation for the things that matter.
Ramon: Yeah offcourse, my approach is always to keep smiling (also behind my face mask) haha! But, yeah.. I see my friends a lot more in the weekends and spend a lot of time with my parents, my brother and sisters and the rest of the family. Happy that I have so much time for them these weekends without party.. Always look on the bright side.
Julien: It made me realize even more how beautiful our scene is and that we should definitely not take all these festivals for granted. And not only festivals but our Freedom in general as well.
HaMa: We are living in a world that is completely globalized, and there are 7.6 billion humans living on this planet. Do you think that there will be more global pandemics in the future?
Hans: Yes, for sure, and not only pandemics will shock the event sector, every world happening like war, terroristic attack, animal disease, natural disaster etc. The world has become smaller in the last decades we know in seconds what has happened at the other end of the world and we all travel to any country and bring everything back.
Bart & Thijs: For sure, these things are inevitable. Let’s just hope we’re even more prepared by then!
Pieter: As long as people treat animals so poorly as they do now, there will be more pandemics.
Rene: It would be ignorant to think such things will never happen again. If we look back in history, you can see diseases like this are as old as people itself.
Johan: For sure, it’s really getting too crowded. Now nature is fighting back in an ugly way.
Sandra: Yeah, I guess you get another pandemic once every few years.
Roman: I don’t know, let’s hope for a brighter future! And we have to do that together of course!
HaMa: Many Artists and Organizations are streaming mixing sessions over the socials (for example Q-dance “Qonnect”). Do you think this kind of promotion will even persist after Corona or will it vanish once the events are open again?
Rene: I think it will stay, but way less than it is now of course.
Bart & Thijs: Due to everyone showing more love and appreciation, some of these concepts might persist after the crisis is over as a way to the extent this positive feeling. These platforms are being built right now, so why remove them if they could add something to the scene afterwards? We certainly think our Primeshock presents Plugged In livestream concept won’t be gone immediately as soon as we’re back at events!
Sandra: It will be fun if this will stay, but at the time the events were of course streamed. So the idea is the same.
Ramon: The streaming sessions are cool when all the people are home, but if you gonna stream a livestream on a Saturday when there are 5 Hardstyle events in NL.. nobody is gonna watch your stream haha! So I think it’s cool for now.
Daniel: It’s not new. Live streams were also organized before this Corona crisis. There is now a big peak, as there are not many alternatives, so when we can party again the number of live streams will drop.. but will still be happening, like a Masters Mayhem.
Pieter: I think it will remain but not as much as it is right now. It stays a good method to stay connected to the fanbase!
Julien: I think it will vanish a bit more again. For now, it is a nice alternative for artists to present their music to the people and for the listeners to still enjoy some sets, but there is also a lot of time and preparation involved without any financial income. So this time could then probably better be spent on the actual ‘money making’ projects.
Hans: I think this will stay and it is good, the organizer has to stay in contact with its audience. That’s why we want to start again with events, to stay in contact.
Johan: There were some streams before or promoters putting out Dj-sets from the previous event they had, so that will stay. Don’t know if there will be a business model in these things, but I hope so, so we can reach the younger fans who aren’t allowed to enter a festival yet.
HaMa: What do you think can the people out there do now to help you and to help the whole scene to bring it back to where it came from?
Daniel: If you already bought a ticket and you can miss the money, then ask for a voucher or an event ticket in 2021. Next to that, keep streaming as much music you can and buy merchandise from your favorite artist!
Rene: Just keep in touch with the music and the artists. We will overcome this situation.
Hans: Start organizing events.
Bart & Thijs: The best help would be to keep listening to our music, stay in touch with us, and stay hopeful. As soon as we can return to the events, it’ll feel as if nothing has happened and we can start where we left off!
Johan: Nothing, they just have to wait for the scene to get back on its feet again and it’ll solve itself.
Pieter: As pointed out earlier, the best way to support is to simply stream the music from their favorite artists! That already helps a lot!
Sandra: Stick to the rules to contain the virus.
Julien: At this moment all people can do for me is stream my music haha, but let’s all stand together to come up with ideas and initiatives to keep this beautiful industry running.
Ramon: To stay positive, and hyped for every party as they always do. The dedication in our scene is extreme, so I think we come back even harder then It was!!
HaMa: As there are no events taking place how do you as an Artist/Producer use the time?
Rene: I’m making a lot of music. I got more time to experiment, a result is my track ‘The Headmaster’ which is different than I usually produce.
Johan: Rebuilding my home, BBQ as much as possible and play Sudoku 😛
Daniel: We see that the producers take this time to make the best music out there!!!
Bart & Thijs: Not very differently actually. Just a little more studio time, we use that for online concepts like Plugged In to stay in touch online. Also, we use the time to try staying healthy and positive!
Hans: Focus on work in other sectors and prepare the company for years to come with less event revenue.
Ramon: Working, and making music!
Julien: I’m still trying to spend as much time in the studio as I used to. In terms of my ‘schedule’, there hasn’t been changed much so far. It’s just a bit harder to stay motivated all the time and I don’t want to force anything, so I also try to look for some distraction by playing games with friends and going outside sometimes. And of course, I’m preparing some Livestream sets now and then, but I’ll try to keep them limited and special and focus mostly on new music.
Koen: Family time and time to focus on producing new material in their studio’s for when the world opens again.
Pieter: I have more time now to produce so that’s basically what I am doing more now than I did before!
HaMa: We currently see a lot of Artists broadcasting video mixing sessions. Have you already done it and if yes how did it feel without any crowd?
Ramon: Yeah I did it a few times, and Q-Dance Radio after the canceled edition of Qapital. It’s strange but cool to hear the reactions of the people at home! And that gives us also a lot of strength as artists to stay connected with everyone. Because I miss it so much every weekend!
Johan: As Donkey Rollers we didn’t.
Julien: It feels like I’m playing in my bedroom again with my imaginary crowd in front of me, But then with camera’s on my face haha.
Rene: Done it lots of times now. It is very weird to see nobody but there are actually thousands of people watching. So I try to act the same as I would do when I play a real party.
Bart & Thijs: We did that quite a few times by now! It feels a little different, but we were already used to it because of our own Powermode Podcast we used to record that way. We believe that’s why it’s not hard for us at all to still create an entertaining show!
HaMa: If you would describe yourself as an animal. What would it be and why?
Rene: A lion. I fight for survival and my spot in this world!
Sandra: If my dog Luna, who, like me, sits at home all day these days
Bart & Thijs: We would be monkeys. A little crazy, screaming and laughing all the time, jumping on and off the stages… Haha!
Ramon: A Ra-Monkey offcourse, no explanation needed! HAHAHA!
Conclusion Episode 1
This was the first episode of the biggest interview across the harddance scene. For organizers and artists the times are remaining tough. The shutdown endures and the uncertainty remains. Fans can only support the involved participants by streaming their music, buying merchandise and watch the streams once offered. We see you with the Episode 2 next week.