PHOTO CREDIT: Katarina Cvetko
Last weekend marked another epic sold out edition of Melbourne’s biggest hardstyle festival. Shadows of Wonderland returned to Festival Hall on Friday night and brought a massive international lineup and jaw-dropping production with it to celebrate its 4th anniversary. Hosted by Melbourne’s own Hard Kandy and Finders Keepers Entertainment alongside Harder Styles United, the one-night event proved to be a truly magical creation. Here’s why Shadows of Wonderland remains as one of my favourite Aussie music festivals.
Undoubtedly the perfect home of the harder styles in Melbourne, Festival Hall remains as one of my favourite festival venues. Accommodating for yet another sold-out event, the venue itself did not feel crowded or oversold whatsoever; yet still created the perfect intimate vibe. The overall layout of the event also made it easy to move around and find everything you needed. The general dance floor area was open to everyone and had a perfect view of the stage and artists, no matter where you were standing. Either side of the stage also had seated areas, open to all ticket holders, which was extremely convenient. Above the dance-floor, the VIP balcony area also offered a picture perfect view over the entire venue and an unobstructed elevated view of the stage. Everything was labelled clearly making it easy to navigate to the bathrooms, bars, food and merch; and the set times were also visible throughout the venue.
After attending Hard Kandy’s Kandy Carnival less than six months ago and being blown away by the stage design, my jaw dropped at this year’s Shadows of Wonderland stage. The overall stage design was significantly bigger than last year’s, with LEDs from floor to ceiling; perfectly crafted together to encompass the magical theme. I especially loved the arches on either side of the DJ booth, bordering the stage perfectly.
Aside from the music, the production is always my favourite part of a festival and once again, Shadows of Wonderland delivered everything I wanted and more! Lasers filled the entire hall at every just about every drop and flames shot high throughout the night. The brand new stage design painted the perfect backdrop for the entire night, with vibrant visuals displayed from wall to wall. Overall, I’m once again absolutely blown away by the level of production from this festival and the organisers definitely know how to put on a show!
This year’s lineup was absolutely stacked with some of the biggest artists in the world including many of my favourites. Each and every set blew me away and it’s almost impossible to pick a favourite.
Without a doubt my favourite hardstyle DJs, it would be unfair not to rank them as my favourite performance after an epic hour on stage with them! The energetic duo from Norway always know how to put on a show and the crowd went absolutely mental the entire time! From their classic Disney sing-a-long tracks to up-and-coming releases, a taste of their happy hardcore alias ‘Tweekacore’ and so much more, it was impossible to stand still during their set. I was even able to celebrate my ‘Jagerversary’ with the boys and share a drink with them!
Next up on the favourites would have to be Coone. Kicking off the international lineup, the Belgian DJ and producer filled the entire venue within seconds of his first track. After an epic year pioneering the Hardstyle movement across main stages all over the world, it was awesome seeing him perform in front of such a small, yet dedicated crowd. Hearing all of my favourite tracks I grew up listening to, as well as a tonne of brand new music, this was an unforgettable performance that definitely took me back.
SUB ZERO PROJECT
Releasing ‘The Contagion’ on Melbourne, Dutch duo Sub Zero Project was one of the most anticipated acts to head down under. After recently releasing their debut album, the pair showcased their brand new music for the first time in front of the Australian crowd. The energy on stage from these guys was absolutely contagious and the entire crowd loved it!
Another epic edition of Shadows of Wonderland has officially come to an end. The iconic harder styles event brought an incredible international bill of talent down under and showcased a truly magical creation to a sold-out Melbourne crowd. Everything from the stage design to the production, the music and the overall atmosphere of the venue already has me wanting more and I will without a doubt, be back next year!