Blacklist Festival delivers on spectacular first edition [Review]
For years now, Blacklist has become one of the most, if not the most, iconic and recognisable event promoters in Europe. Based in Germany, the team has grown in a massive way lately. Becoming stage hosts for festivals such as New Horizons and Parookaville , their movement is spreading worldwide. Hosting regular events in Germany’s iconic club Bootshaus means they have allowed artists like Kayzo, Jauz, Slander and more to come to Europe to showcase their heavy styles to the dedicated cult-like following that Blacklist garners all across the globe. Now, expanding their movement even further, Blacklist are out to put on their very own festival for the first time.
Hosted at the warehouse-type venue Turbinenhalle Oberhausen (which was renamed ‘The Ark X’ for the event night), four stages played host to a massive world class lineup as Germany’s biggest indoor bass festival was about to unleash chaos onto the crowd, many of whom traveled specifically for the event from across Europe and beyond.
From first glimpse of walking to the venue, the power of Blacklist is undeniably strong. It’s extremely evident that the folks behind it have built an empire and with the sold-out crowd all flocking to queue to enter the doors whilst others blasted hard-bass from their cars, the air was tinged with the sound and feeling of something special. Turning the corner into the main room (‘The Cathedral’) out of the four, attendees were greeted with three visual screens marking the X brand that Blacklist have coined over the years and made iconic. The large X’s loom over the crowd and welcome them all as they prepare for a wonderful night.
A unique aspect of Blacklist Festival is the dazzling attention to detail and story-making. Telling the story of an apocalyptic dystopian world, surgical masks were being handed out whilst security dressed in riot gear and soldier-style costumes patrolled the venue, keeping in character at all times to help further set the mood whilst the DJs provide the heavy soundtrack, not holding back at all. Even the stage designs blended in well with theme, with barbed wire and sandbags creating the look of war trenches and bunkers.
Twists and turns were around every corner, with some unorthodox subsidiary entertainment giving fans a show in the form of wrestling. With matches going on all night, the wrestling ring gathered a crowd and went down a treat proving that thinking outside the box works to Blacklist Festival’s favor. Aside from this, professional tattoo artists were on site to allow passionate fans to permanently show their love for the night with a variety of flash designs available to pick from.
Of course though, the main attraction was the lineup. To say it was their first edition, they pulled out all the stops to create a masterful DJ lineup across multiple bass genres to please everyone. In The Cathedral, local German duo TWINX set the mood whilst in the second room (‘The Judgement Hall’) Bootshaus residents Sekula and Emin (who played in the ‘Nero Theater’) showcased to international fans what Germany’s electronic scene has to offer. Mike Cervello, Gammer and Moksi were all up after each other in The Cathedral, giving fans no time to rest whilst they pumped out earth-shattering drop after earth-shattering drop. Each of the three artists brought their all and poured out everything into delivering hard-hitting sets and they did exactly that and more.
After that, a five minute changeover time allowed fans to quickly catch their breath from headbanging and pumping their fists in the air before duo Modestep brought back their well loved live show complete with drums and live vocals. Formerly a four-piece band a few years ago, Modestep have changed and developed their production and brought something entirely unique to the festival. After this, it was time for the Intro Show. Fully submerging audiences into the story line of the festival, flashes of voice overs and visuals of world tragedies and wars were accompanied with lasers and flashes of smoke cannons as it welcomed everyone to their new home of Ark X whilst Flobu, Sekula, TWINX and newest Blacklist resident member Atrip took to the stage for a mini set before Zeds Dead. Whilst this was happening, Flux Pavilion was tearing up The Judgement Hall with his signature sound which has earned him a cult following over the years and has earned him the title of being a legend within the scene. For those seeking some hardstyle/trap, LNY TNZ was there at the Nero Theater ready to unleash chaotic and hard sounds onto the extremely energetic crowd. Although UK legends Joyryde and Holy Goof both had sets that crossed over into each other, both drew equally massive crowds. Joyryde spiced up The Cathedral with his signature house style that is bound to be a treat no matter where he plays, whilst Holy Goof – who has shot to popularity in a massive way over the past year especially – unleashed his irresistible bass-line sound. It was then time for something special as Ghastly and Sikdope combined their styles perfectly for an exclusive set that fired up the festival.
Although Herobust’s flight was unfortunately cancelled, the event managed to pull through a replacement in the form of Gentlemans Club at an impressively fast rate, proving this to be one of the most organised and smooth running events of 2019.
If anything, Blacklist Festival is here to stay, and will quickly become one of the most unmissable events of the year. If you want in on the action, pre-registration is already available for 2020.