After a stunning first edition, Into The Madness was back this weekend with 44 top-notch artists, a completely new uptempo stage, massive B2B sets, exclusive live shows, and much more! Up front: a complete success across the board. Let’s dive into the details!
As most times the case with outdoor festivals, the festival grounds were located a bit further away from where you can easily get by public transport. To hold back as many party people as possible from coming by car, the organizers relied on numerous bus connections to nearby cities and train stations. I also chose to go by train via Cologne and Euskirchen and then took the official festival shuttle bus from there. After exiting the station hall, I was clueless at first about where to go now but after looking around in both directions, I could spot a bunch of Into The Madness staff members with yellow safety vests at the end of the bus station. They scanned the ticket QR codes, exchanged it for a funky pink wristband, and instructed us where exactly to wait for the next shuttle connection. About a 20-minute drive later, comfortably passing by the whole car queue, the driver safely dropped us off near the festival entrance.
Just like getting there, getting back to the train in the evening was no problem at all! Multiple articulated buses already waited for all the heavy legs, and instructors helped to quickly fill and dispatch them one by one.
The magic happened at the Lakeside Park Zülpich which can absolutely be called a true paradise – and there’s definitely no need to hide from comparable Dutch festival locations like the E3 Beach (Dominator) or Almere Beach (Free Festival).
To be noticed in particular were the generous, multiple chill-out areas. While sun sails provided some shadow, lots of benches, tables, and hammocks invited you to relax and recover your tired legs.
Food & drinks
The bars were numerous and well equipped with all the usual options: water (non-carbonated and sparkling!), cola, soft drinks, beers of different brands, various long drinks, and shots of course. Popsicles sold near the entrance as well as by vendors walking through the crowd helped with the sunny weather, too!
Hungry visitors were mainly greeted by a variety of tasty festival classics like fries, pizza, and burgers. Being properly supplied, you could then get your feet into the sand and dine on the adjacent beach area while having a view of the lake.
Drinks and food were bought using the widely known tokens. Some may have been shocked when calculating the price for one token as it was at 4.50 EUR, the first time I saw it ranging above the 4 EUR mark. But before you run to ask your employer for a raise, there’s to note that some drinks were cheaper than at Dutch festivals in fact! Water was especially affordable at 0.5 tokens per cup or 1 token per bottle, compared to 1.5 tokens per bottle (with no smaller option) for example at Defqon.1 this year.
In addition to the equally well-established recycling token system, nearly all of the cups handed out (except the ones from the fruit and smoothie stand) were made from corn starch, a renewable resource that can be fully recycled into new cups after the event. Great to see that event organizers put more and more effort into using environment-friendlier solutions!
Unfortunately, the experience at the stands was quite mixed, and waiting lines were partially long. While some of the bar and food staff really did a good job, others forgot your order due to talking with colleagues midway, had issues with summing up the correct prices, or just sent you somewhere else because they currently were out of stock (mind you, a few steps further on there still was supply available). There’s definitely room for improvement next year even though that’s all complaining at a very high level!
Into The Madness grew from about 7,500 visitors last year to more than 10,000 this year, thus the organizers upgraded the stage count from two to three – hello uptempo stage! Additionally, the raw stage got a bigger tent this year to account for the massive demand during the first edition.
The main stage design followed the theme of the past year, taking the visitors into a rusty mad world. The back and the front were equipped with multiple LED panels playing opulent animations, being part of a fantastic lighting concept incorporating towers placed on the dance floor.
To avoid muddiness in case of rain, the floor was completely covered with wood – fortunately, it remained dry the whole day!
The backside of the main area was formed by the elevated VIP deck which provided a great view of the stage from higher above but still was not too far away from the spectacle. In addition, the VIP area featured an additional bar which helped avoid the sometimes longer queues at the other ones.
The design of the raw stage mostly consisted of LED panels in the back, stacked horizontally and vertically on two levels. Moving heads with different-colored rings were mounted in between the panels, complemented by four lasers.
The new uptempo stage was placed on the opposite side of the other two stages, in the passage in between them. However, there was neither a bottleneck caused by the people in front of it nor was there any sound bleed.
A red sun sail stretched on wooden poles kept the DJs cool and dry, some spotlights colored the night sky during the later hours. On the front side, the INURFASE (the stage host) logo hung from above.
The line-up consisting of 44 international artists in total, lots of special acts, and big names in the scene raised high expectations. Yet, it was well compiled and there was not one single act that I wouldn’t instantly go for again! Thumbs up!
Cryex vs. Scarra vs. Vasto pres. Apex Allstars
Euphoric melodies combined with raw kicks and wild drops – the air was already steaming hot in the tent but that didn’t hold these three guys back one single bit. They dropped banger after banger in front of the packed area including releases from the last months (“Digital Bass”, “Streetcode” as well as the just-released track “Future Society”), going absolutely insane and the crowd liked it!
Barber vs. Juliëx
They originally were intended to both play solo sets but they actually teamed up for one! We witnessed pure dedication, massive energy, and a stunning set including Barber’s “Paradise” and “Ghetto Funk”. Moreover, Juliëx presented her new collaboration with Deadly Guns, Major Conspiracy, and MC Robs, “The Hardcore Elements”.
This guy made it clear from the first minute that slowing down is not an option for the next hour – either go with it or leave the floor! I stayed and was pleased with his high energy, clean mixing, and an amazing set list featuring “Funky Fat Beat” and Deadly Guns’ & Dimitri K’s “Drunk At The Rave”.
The Italian king of raw mashups was back again for some more! Luckily, he played on the bigger main stage this time as the raw tent was about to burst at the seams before he even pressed the play button last year. With his energizing performance, funky mixing style, and wide selection of danceable hits, Rooler always is a guarantor for a packed dance floor – and Into The Madness made no exception to that. Good thing that Villain was prepared and brought his hammers for “Hammer Time”! Of course, his classics “Too Hot”, “Club Banger” and “Move 2 Da Beat” were not to be missed, too, as well as my favorite “Find You (Walk Away)”.
It’s absolutely fair to say that this guy hits like a sledgehammer and was absolutely worthy of closing down the raw stage. Ruthlessly he kept on slamming brutal kicks through the speakers with bangers like his remix of Warface’ “Control Your Soul” as well as his collaboration with Fraw “Can You Feel It?!” – anyone who still had energy left after that set was definitely to blame himself!
Gunz For Hire
It’s already more than 10 years since Ran-D and Adaro teamed up for “Gunz For Hire” but there’s not one single sign that they’re gonna stop soon! Masks, suits, flames, fireworks, confetti – these gangsters were not playing around, dropping their unique performance-driven show “Baddest On The Block”. Needless to say that they also brought their new tracks “Candyman”, and “The Devil’s Hour”, as well as their latest release, the official Into The Madness OST “Let’s Go Insane”.
My visit to Into The Madness was a grand finale to this year’s summer festival season. A day full of highlights (so that I sometimes had issues deciding for which stage to go) and banging beats, crowned by a fabulous end show. I still have goosebumps thinking back and can’t wait for next year!
On August 30th and 31st, 2024, Into The Madness festival will return to Zülpich with an extra pre-party on Friday as well as two nights of camping. Get your tickets for the next edition of Germany’s biggest outdoor hardstyle festival now at: https://madness.dj/ITM2024-Tickets