Published on The Harder Mix 22/04/2013:
On a cold, dark night that seemed like winter, the IQON attendees began planning. They figured out the way to make their trip to a fresh location, never used by any other festival. After all, it was going to be a unique event. Perhaps that was why Q-Dance thought it needed a unique location – The Sydney International Dragway.
The next morning, the Q-Dancers soldiered on despite the winds and pouring rain. They were soaked from the inside out. Yet they still remained, and waited with shivering passion. Their persistence eventually touched the hearts of the police, so the police gave them ponchos. At half past 11, the Q-Dancers were still not allowed to enter. They were told to change the formation of their queue so that they would face the barrier. As they stared at the words ‘entrance’, sounds from Stana began to be heard from afar. They started tapping to the beat and nodding their heads. They wanted to chant: “Let us in!” It was a curiously long waiting time, for as some recalled, they would have allowed people to get in earlier at Defqon.1.
When the barriers finally opened wide for them to enter, they rejoiced. The VIPs got a lanyard, solid timetable card, and a wristband which fit exactly. Inside, a silver set with shining platforms waited for the Q-Dancers. A giant circle made of screen panels showed the IQON symbol, as well as beautiful video graphics. In daylight, one could see through the screen and notice the intricate structures behind it, or when someone was up there making sure that the screens worked well. The giant circle was surrounded by rectangular chips, which added to the shininess of it all.
One of the bars was conveniently located on the ground level. Aside from that, the other facilities were on the top of the steps. The Q-Dancers climbed every mountain, and boarded every mud puddle, so they could gain access to necessities and facilities. It was all worth it. The food served was warm, delicious, and there were healthy options available. The VIPs had clean toilets, and didn’t have to queue to access them. It had hand sanitisers instead of sinks, which meant there were no clogged situations. There was also a VIP bar and area. However, the VIP view was not that different to what the other ticket holders would see. If only the enclosed area located at the bottom level was the VIP area. Instead, it was reserved for the special guests and sponsors of the event. The tokens were both a form of currency and a potential collectors’ item. They had an artist symbol behind each token!
Prior to the event, people were notified of Frontliner’s cancellation, which was probably why ‘Symbols’ had been played three times. Anyway, Coone, Isaac, The Prophet and Brennan Heart played for an extra half-an-hour, so it was a treat. There was a noticeable lack of Aussies on the line-up when compared to the number international stars. So, Q-Dance brought in MC D during Code Black’s set, and allowed Code Black to do a back-to-back set with Brennan Heart. It was a little repetitive for those who had already seen Code Black earlier in the day. Yet, even MC Villain acknowledged that Code Black is Australia’s weapon, and Aussies are taking over the Hardstyle world. We can all still hope for a more even inclusion of Aussies.
Sound systems or decks had malfunctioned during the sets of Coone, Isaac, Headhunterz and Zatox. When there was some silence during Isaac’s set, the crowd filled the melody on their own for a little while. This made one of the guards smile. The malfunction during Headhunterz’s set resulted in five minutes of awkward silence. Part of the crowd at the top decided to yell: “B*llsh*t!” Another part at the bottom decided to sing: “Hey, hey baby! Hoo! Ha! I wanna know if you’ll be my girl!” Those were probably people who had been to Future Music Festival and knew the singing would spread. We like to party!
The light show looked stunning at night. Some of the 3D elements on the screen were very realistic. The round screen was also depicted as a time-vortex, transporting the Q-Dancers to different experiences of sound and visuals. There were lights spread in a line at the bottom of the stage, and a little puff of fireworks. Finally, they gave out free, blue IQON lighters for the crowd to use. It was an amazing addition to the light show, because the crowd felt like they played a part in making the event awesome. They thanked us for being a great crowd in the free poster as well: “Thanks for making IQON 2013 out of this world. See you next year!”
Q-Dance delivered what they promised – Spectacular production. It’s great that they’ve brought the international hot shots over again. However, they could have done more in terms of consistency and maintenance of sound systems. Hopefully the next IQON event will have some much needed improvements, efficiency, and VIP value. Please and thank you, Q-Dance!
PS – A huge shout-out to Alejandro Nosnhoj, who came all the way from Minnesota to attend IQON during his 2-month stay in Australia and talked to me on the train!