The biggest German harder styles indoor festival celebrated its 15th edition under the slogan “SYNDICATE of Noise” and got more than 20,000 visitors moving on three areas for 10 hours straight. Lots of international top-notch artists like Angerfist, AniMe, Miss K8, and Spitnoise gathered at Dortmund and excited the crowd with their energetic sets in an elaborately designed setting. We were there to let you know what you missed!
Venue and travel
Being home to a lot of concerts and events all year round, this time the place of action for the hardest night of the year: the Westfalenhallen in Dortmund. The SYNDICATE venue consisted of the large arena (main stage) and three adjacent halls (plaza, uptempo, and hardstyle area). As a large exhibition center and event arena, it also features an awesome transport connection with multiple subway lines as well as lots of parking spaces for buses and cars.
Surprisingly, the party already started at the Dortmund main station. A stream of festival-goers steadily moved towards the subway station, clearly recognizable and audible from afar by the hardcore music blaring from their Bluetooth speakers. Down on the platform, public transport company staff luckily ensured that no one fell onto the tracks and that the boarding went swiftly (think of the “oshiya”, the Japanese train pushers). While the train set off with uptempo music roaring through the tunnel, the passengers continued to chant and do the hakke on the minimum space left. Usually, you have to pay some extra money to take the party bus, at SYNDICATE the ultimate party train vibe is for free!
Arrived at the entrance of the sacred halls, people were greeted with a huge “Welcome to Westfalenhell” sign, illuminated every few seconds by flame throwers blasting fire into the autumnal air. From there, things moved really quickly. Getting inside, topping up the RFID wristband, storing the jacket in the locker – all done in less than 15 minutes. Off we go into the night!
The more than 30 artists spread over three stages – the main stage being located in the arena plus one additional area each being dedicated to hardstyle and uptempo in the halls behind the plaza. All the walkways were well planned and I didn’t experience any traffic jams while getting from one area to the other.
As the SYNDICATE main stage was built into the long side of the arena, it easily reached the dimensions of an outdoor stage. At the same time, it stretched across the entire infield, over the people’s heads on the floor. To experience its full beauty, it was absolutely worth taking a detour to the grandstand seats on the opposite side, and rest your legs a bit while enjoying the merciless bass pressure.
The main stage design had futuristic, industrial, and military touches. A portal to another world, surrounded by metal blades and flame throwers, served as the central element and the way onto the stage for the artists from the backstage area. Around it, there were abstract metal structures with shreds hanging down as well as lots of lighting and various LED panels mounted onto them.
With its vertically positioned trusses and the dark plates in between them, the hardstyle stage design resembled the walls of a fortress with the SYNDICATE trident prominently placed in the middle.
Additionally to the seating in the back of the area, the organizers also built up a gigantic SYNDICATE logo there to take pictures in front of.
A pumping station in the middle, connected via pipes to two x-shaped storage towers covered with corrugated sheets, formed the uptempo stage design.
Unfortunately, the uptempo area ended up being a bit too small for the crowd and was nearly constantly fully packed – it may make sense to swap this one with the hardstyle area next year!
The SYNDICATE line-up was really impressive this year! All the stages were full of headliners and it became rather difficult to decide for one area at times.
Driven by relentless determination, this Dutch uptempo producer and DJ has made a tremendous rise in the scene during the past years. She presented brand-new tracks like “Scratching The Microphone” (by Manifest Destiny & Soulblast), and also well-known ones like “Deathblow” (by N-Vitral & Spitnoise) and her release “Fake Industry” (produced together with Tharoza).
By constantly delivering insane productions and top-quality sets, Mad Dog is already able to look back on many years of success in the hardcore scene. However, he never lost his way and dropped masterpiece after masterpiece once again, opening up with his new hard-techno-influenced track “Bass Is Kicking”. But releases of the past years like “Mean Streets” and “Hardcore Psychopath” (by Tears Of Fury, released on Mad Dog’s label “Dogfight Records”) weren’t neglected, too, for sure!
As producer of this year’s official anthem “SYNDICATE Of Noise”, Angerfist was one of the must-see artists of the night. Supported by his MC, he delivered an awesome live performance including “Mighty Methods” and “Breinbreker” (produced together with Miss K8), accompanied by a terrific show with pyrotechnics, flames, and laser beams.
With an energetic and high tempo set, the “Goddess of Hardcore” followed up excellently on last year’s outstanding SYNDICATE performance, featuring “Eclipse”, “The Last Spartan”, “Dope Sh!t” and her new uptempo-influenced release produced with N-Vitral “Crank Up The Bass”.
Once again, I-Motion and Art of Dance presented an absolutely bombastic edition of SYNDICATE. The creative stage designs and the outstanding line-ups make this festival rightfully the biggest harder styles indoor event in Germany.
The cashless payment system has also been improved in comparison to MAYDAY (there was a buffer for returning deposits this time and the refund fees have drastically been lowered) and is so much more convenient than the tokens.
Safe to say that I’m already looking forward to the next edition of SYNDICATE on October 5th, 2024 – stay tuned for more information at Hardstyle Mag!