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This Was: BigCityBeats’ WORLD CLUB DOME 2023

The tenth edition of WORLD CLUB DOME took place from June 9th to 11th in Frankfurt Germany. WORLD CLUB DOME is one of Germany’s largest electronic music festivals hosting more than 180,000 attendees over the span of three days. Moreover, the festival is comprised of 25 stages with a stacked line up of more than 150 artists ranging from house music, to hardstyle, techno, and more!

Getting There
Of course, as I live in the Netherlands, getting to WORLD CLUB DOME was a bit of a journey consisting of multiple trams and trams. However, getting from Amsterdam direct to Frankfurt was about four hours. Then following that it took another 20 minutes or so to get to the hotel, which was about a 15-minute walk through a park (more like a spooky woods!) to get to the venue. We were lucky to be able to walk back and forth to the venue each day which allowed us the flexibility to arrive at the festival at our desired time without having to rush!

The festival venue, Deutsche Bank Park (also known as Waldstadion) is a sports arena located in the outskirts of the city. Despite the stadium being built on concrete there were various grassy areas and even a swimming pool! Notwithstanding the massive size of the stadium, everything was extremely well organized and easy to find. The festival grounds were very manageable and there were clear signs throughout the festival instructing people where to go in addition to the map incorporated within the festival app.

The stadium was your traditional professional sports stadium with tiered seating (which really came in handy when you got tired and still wanted to watch the show!). As with any major arena there were multiple entrances to enter and exit the stadium (which was the Mainstage). This came in handy as you could watch the Mainstage performances from various vantage points. Along the outside of the stadium were various smaller stages. For example, if you were to walk around alongside the stadium to let’s say go to the lockers you could pass by multiple small stages that although were technically part of the stadium, they faced outwards so that you could pass by while you dance.

The festival grounds went beyond the immediate stadium facility and into the surrounding wooded area. Which is surprising because if you look at the venue from the outside you would have no idea that there would be multiple stages nestled away in the forest.

Food & Drinks
There were a myriad of different types of food and drinks to choose from at the festival. The food was mostly what you would consider traditional festival bites (like hot dogs, burgers, and sandwiches) in addition to German delicacies like currywurst and my personal favorite… pretzels! According to my friend who attended with me, the currywurst, pretzel and burgers were the absolute best.

Prices were reasonable considering other festivals of the same caliper that I’ve attended in the last year. Rather than utilizing a token system (as most major festivals do in the Netherlands) or allowing people to pay by card or contactless, WORLD CLUB DOME implemented a chip system. Upon your receiving your festival wristband you can top up the chip on your bracelet either on the festival website, from a top up ATM type of a machine, or from a stand for those who preferred to pay in cash.

Regarding the drinks they had just about everything from summer cocktails to beer to “Shot Ice”. I’m embarrassed to say how many of those I ate but on a 30-degree day (86 Fahrenheit) nothing like sipping on a frozen watermelon vodka pop!

Additionally, there were multiple food areas, cocktail gardens, and lounge areas there were also multiple places to purchase festival merchandise. The festival sold fans, hats, shirts, lighters, and other paraphernalia sporting the logo. There were also small shops to buy sunscreen, sunglasses, and other summer festival essentials.

This year’s theme was Atlantis. Throughout the festival they had various nods to the theme including trippy underwater visuals and dancers.

As previously mentioned, there were in total 25 stages. Certain stages changed names and genres throughout the weekend. As we obviously we can’t dive deep into all 25, so here are a few notable ones!

The Mainstage was located inside of the arena. At the center of the stage were huge LED screens that projected images that corresponded with the DJ who was playing. There were also various images of the ocean and Atlantis flashing across the screen, fitting with this year’s theme. Inside the arena it was possible to enjoy the show from the floor or alternatively from the stands. There were times where it got pretty crowded (for example during Marshmello’s set) but with the stadium style seating and various levels there was plenty of space for everyone to see the show!

Outdoor Mainstage
In addition to the Mainstage inside the area, there was a second Mainstage outside located on a grassy field surrounded by various beer and cocktail gardens, hammocks, and inflatable areas. To the right of the stage was a hill with Hollywood sign style letters that said WORLD CLUB DOME. In the center of the grassy field outside the Outdoor Mainstage was a large fountain with statues that look like they were found underwater in the lost city of Atlantis. This was the perfect place to get that Instagram shot in addition to of course a double-sided photo wall.

It of course wouldn’t be an article written by me if we didn’t talk about the Hardstyle stage. The Zombie stage was in my opinion the most aesthetically impressive. Large columns surrounded the stage with statues aligning the top as if they were guarding the kingdom of Atlantis.

Pool Stage
The Pool Stage was the stage that surprised me the most! In my 13 plus years of raving I’ve never seen a pool stage so big! Traditionally pool stages are set up where the DJ booth is situated alongside side of the pool playing to a crowd of people dancing in and around the water. From the many festivals I’ve attended the pool stage or event hosted pool parties they are typically small and set off to the side. At World Club Dome however, the pool stage was HUGE and set upon a grassy field surrounded by vendors and then on the other side of the field was the large pool.

The Pyramid stage (Saturday) was in the same vicinity as the Pool Stage set aside almost in the forest. This stage was a bit hidden but once we found it, we’re glad we did! On Sunday this stage changed to the Masquerade stage.

One of the best hidden gems of the festival was by far the Forest stage (also known as the Freud stage on Saturday). Inside a tent in the forest was the place to go for techno (of course!). The pitch black tent was only illuminated by green and blue laser beams that transcended the crowd. Around the DJ booth were various plants giving it that real dark underground techno vibe.

Dixie Stage
It’s everyone’s favorite secret stage, the dixie stage! At one of the bathroom locations was a secret door leading to a secret stage! It’s not my first time discovering one of these types of stages but what set this one apart from other secret stages at festivals was how large it was inside. The stage was quite sizable for being nestled between porta-potties. Unfortunately there are no images of this stage (to keep it hidden!).

Visuals & Sound
Throughout the weekend the visuals were extremely high production. To lasers and fireworks to my personal favorite which was at the Zombie stage lines of fire shot through the air not only on the stage but on either side. This coupled with Hardcore and the energy of the crowd was a truly memorable experience.

One other notable moment was during the opening show at the main stage they had a visual presentation on the LED screens showing each of the ten years of the festival’s history up until today. This was a really memorable way to kick off the festival and to demonstrate how much the organization and the festival has grown.

The sound overall was crisp and clear with the exception of at certain times at the Zombie stage it was a bit quiet. Additionally, depending on where you were standing at certain stages there was sound bleed. For example, standing towards the back at the Zombie stage you could hear both the DJ performing at the Zombie stage and at the Outdoor Mainstage. There were a few times where I heard multiple stages at the simultaneously. There were also some technical problems during Timmy Trumpet’s set, but he kept the crowd going and engaged until the issues were fixed.

Atmosphere & Organization
is extremely well organized. The layout was easy to follow and the staff and security were extremely friendly and eager to assist. As this was my first German outdoor festival (I’ve only attended indoor raves in Germany) so I had no idea what to expect and I absolutely loved the vibes. Everyone there was clearly there for the music and was respectful of each other’s personal space.

The first full set of the weekend for us was Germany’s very own Moguai at the Mainstage. Even though it was early on day one of the festival, the crowd was vibing to house hits like In Motion and Ill Behavior. Moguai set the stage (literally and figuratively) for the rest of the weekend!

Steve Aoki
Next up for us was the very much anticipated man of cakes, Steve Aoki. Despite being in the scene for over a decade, I never had the opportunity to see Steve Aoki live and boy does he put on one hell of a performance. He threw not one, but I think seven or eight giant sheet cakes into the crowd. I knew the cake moment was coming of course but had no idea he would throw so many! Good thing I was sitting far away as I am severely lactose intolerant but love the concept! Throughout the set engaging visuals such as Steve Aoki dressed up as Rose from Titanic while My Heart Will Go On was playing is definitely an image that will forever be in my mind. Additionally, during the set Steve Aoki announced his love and support for ten years of World Club Dome, which is a true testament to why this festival is so exceptional.

Timmy Trumpet
Speaking on putting on a crazy performance, Australia’s trumpet yielding power-house Timmy Trumpet, can best be described as a firecracker on stage. The amount of energy that he produces between the jumping, dancing, mixing, crowd interaction and of course playing the trumpet live is what makes him one of the front runners in the scene. Timmy Trumpet dropped some fan favorites like Drugs from Amsterdam and Push It. My favorite moment from the set is when he dropped GPF and encouraged everyone to start a mosh pit.

James Hype
James Hype on the Outdoor Mainstage was just what we needed on Saturday afternoon. The sun shined down on the crowd as we sang along to Kernkraft 400 (Zombie Nation) and Everybody’ Free. The great thing about the Outdoor Mainstage was that there was ample space to dance in the crowd or to relax on the lawn or on the hill.

A packed house as always for Marshmello. The stadium was wall to wall packed. From big room classics like Happier, Levels, and Sandstorm mixed in of course with plenty of headbanging dubstep. Since his back-to-back performance with Svdden Death at EDC Las Vegas this year, Marshmello has been dropping harder and harder dubstep and the crowd is all for it!

Miss K8 and Anime
Hands down my favorite set of the weekend, the queens of Hardcore destroyed the Zombie stage. As the sun went down the music got harder, fire shot into the air and there was so much confetti that exploded it became wrapped around our legs as everyone tried to hakken. This set was straight banger after banger. I would expect nothing less from Miss K8 and Anime and they once again did not disappoint.

As the weekend came to a close it was time for the one and only Angerfist! Dropping bombs like The Fist and the Hammer and Breinbreker we didn’t want it to end.

Peggy Gou
The very final set of the weekend was Peggy Gou B2B Ryan Elliot at the Pool Stage. I’ve been a fan of Peggy Gou for quite some time now but just discovered Ryan Elliot and am now hooked! What a way to close out the weekend.

Overall Impressions
I would 100% recommend World Club Dome to anyone who wants to experience a multi genre electronic music festival that is big enough to give you that fairytale land escape from reality experience but not so big that its unmanageable. The festival was also very clean, organized, and I really enjoyed the theme and diversity of the line up. I’m looking forward to attending another edition in the future!

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