The return of A Nightmare in Rotterdam’s was bigger than ever now that B2S is the organizer, but this party was far from a nightmare. This edition was the 30th anniversary of this legendary event, and legendary it sure was. I did not know what to expect from this event since I have never been, but it blew me away and I was smiling throughout the night. While respecting the old school sound of hardcore, A Nightmare in Rotterdam had no shortage of the mainstream sound. The mixture of both old and new made this event feel very refreshing.
A Nightmare in Rotterdam was held in Ahoy Rotterdam on October 7, 2023. The party has seen a lot of different venues throughout the years but eventually found its way back to Ahoy. I personally love Ahoy because it has big halls with very good sound and a lot of potential for stage builders to get creative.
The event consisted of two stages and two eat/chill areas. There were two outside smoking areas, this was especially nice because it allowed visitors to get some fresh fresh air during the event. Unfortunately, the smoking area had the entrance and exit as the same door so the queues to and from the area could get long.
I was pleasantly surprised that there were actual toilets, not just port-a-potties, which were regularly cleaned and maintained. This is not always the case at festivals, so a big shoutout to B2S for this.
Food & Drinks
A Nightmare in Rotterdam was a cashless event. This meant no tokens, cards only! The food options were your typical festival bites, your typical fries, burgers, pizza’s, and fruit. A wider variety of food options would be something I would like to see in the future. The selection of drinks at the bar were great and there also was an Eristoff bar serving mixers with their vodka brand.
As previously mentioned, A Nightmare in Rotterdam consisted of two stages. The mainstage which was more focused on mainstream artists and the hall of legends which was more focused on old school artists.
The mainstage was amazing. It fit the theme of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” perfectly, which A Nightmare in Rotterdam is based upon. The stage represented the bladed glove of Freddy Krueger with the blades protruding out of the stage. These blades also moved up and down separately, paired with the amazing lights, laser show, and amazing sound system this stage was a sight to behold. The stage also had some LED screens with custom graphics in horror themes. There were also a lot of performers on stage including pyro jugglers, gabber dancers, and even a real-life Freddy Krueger.
Hall of Legends
The second area stage was perfectly fine for a second area. It wasn’t outstanding but still delivered an amazing show with great sound. The Hall of Legends was designed based of the legendary ‘Energiehal’ where the first editions of A Nightmare in Rotterdam took place. This stage also had some gabber dancers during some sets which added a nice touch.
During the night a lot of legends have taken the stage among which Paul Elstak, Mad Dog, tha Playah, Neophyte, Tommy Knocker and Rob Gee.
A nightmare in Rotterdam had some special sets which were called “Nightmare Live” sets which gradually moved from the older sounds to the new sound, with some sets having more old tracks being played rather than new ones.
Paul Elstak Nightmare live:
The Godfather of Hardcore played a Nightmare live set which I thought was amazing. He played a variety of songs going from the past to the future. Some of the songs he played are The Promised land, Play My Game, My Beat, Oh My (Paul Elstak Hardcore 2018 Refix) and an edit of een “Kind van de duivel”.
Rob is a producer who has been in the game for a long time. Unfortunately, my shazam didn’t work during his set so I only knew the song “I Like It A lot” by name. I still enjoyed his set immensely though; it had a very good energy to it and the crowd was amazing.
Mad Dog mostly played music from his Downtempo EPs which I love so I had a blast. Some of the Downtempo songs he played are “Focul Arde”, “Energy 1996”, “Step Into The Dark”, and “We Who Are Oppressed”. Besides these bangers he also played an edit of “Straight Gangster Shit”. I’m glad this Italian hardcore powerhouse still releases good quality hardcore which sometimes can be hard to find nowadays.
Partyraiser Nightmare Live
Partyraiser is another legend in the hardcore scene. During his Nightmare Live set he mostly played his old sound which you sadly don’t hear that often anymore. He played a lot of old songs from different DJ’s and he opened his set with “Brain Crash” by Sequential One. Later he continued with “Dance (Remix)” by Sequential One, “Smile, F**k Up” by DJ Psycangle, “Don’t Touch That Stereo” by Marc Acardipane, and “Push Up” Scarphase edit.
Tommyknocker was the last set of the night at the Hall of Legends. I couldn’t have wished for a better closing than this man’s set. While I was really tired, I still wanted to push through and dance because of Tommy. He played “Pledge of Resistance” by Nitrogenetics, “System Crash (feat. Lenny Dee) [Edit]” by Amnesys & Lenny Dee, and “Phreak Ya Speaka (N-Vitral Re-Phreak) by Promo.
I honestly couldn’t have wished for a better first impression of “A Nightmare in Rotterdam” than this edition. I didn’t know what to expect but it exceeded my expectations by far. The atmosphere was amazing, and the sets were great. While I am not a big fan of nighttime events, I don’t mind them as long as it is a once in a while thing. I would love to see B2S make another edition of this legendary party.