Dockyard Festival – Rougher but Better?

Well that was unexpected. Hmmm, now I don’t know what to recommend to potential visiting folks (like you?!). I guess it depends on what kind of electronic dance music festival you are in the mood for….

I bought my tickets for the DGTL festival I told you about two weeks ago with reservations, because I knew that this weekend I’d be heading to the same space for a different party, Dockyard Festival. Would that be boring, too much the same?

They turned out to be night and day.

So forget all that fancy sustainable pristine-clean-organic-greenhouses-vegetarian-digital bracelets-turn in your cups for credits niceness. Regular cups here, regular drink coins, regular festival food. Or was it? I had an *outstanding* burger before starting to dance; it was so good I had to give them high American praise, which they gratefully received. Then I people watched for a while. This crowd was older, rougher, grayer, and the young ones were hoodier. Had kind of a biker look to the grownups, or perhaps….people who worked on the docks, coming to Dockyard? I dunno, but it was sure different.

dockyard outside

My first thought was that this crowd could be potentially much harder to manage than all those highfalutin folks at DGTL, and that was the other main difference I noticed all day. Instead of paying for all those sustainable services, for the same ticket price, we got a pair of security guys walking past us every 10 minutes, day or night. Unlike in the US, they weren’t going around with flashlights trying to catch people doing bad things; they were very unobtrusive and I think they were just looking out for anyone who needed help. We saw no incidents at all day or night, and in fact the crowd was super well behaved and dare I say, they danced more enthusiastically, had fewer cameras out in front of themselves (age thing I think), and expressed more joy and authenticity while partying??

Meetup group dockyardAnd my Meetup group was soooo nice. It was composed of the lovely people you see in the photo below and a couple more who arrived later. However it was almost the shortest Meetup in world history, because my co-organizer Alex and I met everyone there at the lockers as planned, and then we all trooped off to Terminal 1 where we planned to spend the next several hours. But by the time we arrived there, we had lost all but one of the group! We sent messages about where we were but it was crowded and hard to navigate. It took a long time to get reunited, but we did, with most of them, and a small group of 5 or 6 of us spent most of the night together. It was so wonderful; not just herding cats like it might have been, but getting to know really cool people who share our passion for techno and dancing with them for hours on end. Niiiiice.

The lineup was terrific and the DJs were mostly on their game; Harvey McKay, Sam Paganini, Secret Cinema, Monika Kruse and Dubfire all delighted. My musical star for the day though? ART DEPARTMENT. Man, the only thing I can think of to call what he was playing is “Party Techno”. He had us whooping and jamming in a way techno rarely does.

Anyway, I get it. Just as major DJs these days have to have a unique musical message, in order to play in the big leagues of party promoters you have to create a unique, interesting and safe environment, no matter what venue you are in. Dockyard and DGTL for the win. You, dear visitors, just have to decide what you’re in the mood for.

2 thoughts on “Dockyard Festival – Rougher but Better?”

  1. Awesome passionate and information filled article! This Dockyard fest sounds so sick. Seems like an interesting vibe with the mix up of younger kids and older biker people. Sounds like an interesting group of people to vibe with in the techno crowd. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyways, thanks for the passion filled and informative article. Also, you made me crave a burger now with that awesome story about your burger energizing you to get back in that dance crowd. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks Jonah! The vibe was key for sure. And what better way to fuel yourself for dancing than a great burger, right? But believe me, as an American, great burgers are very very hard to find in Europe. This was a lucky hit.

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