Written by and photos by Taylor Dickason
Airbeat One Festival was held over July 10-14 in Neustadt-Glewe, Germany. The theme of this year’s festival was India. Main stage was designed after “Taj Mahal” and the terminal stage had a big elephant in the middle. Q- Dance also brought their own stage to the festival.
Main stage held big name artists across all genres including: Armin van Buuren, Don Diablo, DJ Snake, Alan Walker, Ingrosso, Vini Vici, KSHMR, and Alesso. Production wise, main stage offered a lot of lasers and fireworks. Martin Garrix even brought his famous laser show to day two! If you like lasers, then the terminal stage would’ve been the one for you. The terminal stage also offered several genres, hosting artists such as Mike Perry, Malaa, Tchami, and Lost Frequencies. Anyone who wanted a hardstyle fix was able to walk over to the Q Dance stage for artists such as Da Tweekaz, Wildstylez, Headbunterz, and Brennan Heart.
Day two of Airbeat earned the festival the nickname, “Mudbeat”. After heavy rainfall throughout the night and day, the festival grounds became very muddy! Festival goers did not let this stop them from having fun though. A massive “mud pit” developed at main stage early on in the day. In this pit, people were wrestling and sliding around in the mud, having the times of their lives. A kick line even broke out during Alan Walker’s set, which was followed by a game of people being pushed around in the mud on an inflatable goose! The people coming out of the mud pit did not have even an inch of skin that wasn’t covered in mud, but their smiles spread from ear to ear. Everyone involved in the mud pit showed the true meaning of making the best of what you’re given, as well as the saying “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just a bad attitude.”
Apart from the production, most of Airbeat One was actually a very negative festival experience for my friend and I. A major problem was the lack of organization amongst staff. Whenever we had a question, we were sent amongst staff members like a game and each person gave us a different answer. Upon arriving at the festival, my friend and I went to pick up our passes and found out there was a problem with our camping. We were told to go to the booth next to the one we were at in order to resolve the issue. The staff members there told us they did not have an answer, and told us to drive over to a desk at one of the parking lots. The staff members at that desk told us to drive over to the entrance to the campgrounds, a solid 10 minute drive, and told us we would be fine to enter there. Upon arrival to the campground entrance we were stopped again. Staff there had no idea what we were talking about. The lady in charge radioed her boss, who said she would come by in 15 minutes to sort out the issue. After an entire hour passed by, the lady in charge of everything finally showed up. We thought for sure she had come by to actually work things out with the camping, but instead she made us wait the entire time just to tell us we had no camping, something that could’ve easily been said over the radio to save us time. We wasted a total of 2 hours on the issue, and my friend and I ended up sleeping in our car because all Airbnbs/hotels in the area were sold out.
Another organizational issue we faced was with parking. On day 1, we were told to park in the crew lot, free of charge, because we were crew members. By the start of day 3, an employee tried to charge us 15 euros to park in the crew lot and played a language barrier game with us. We showed the man our crew credentials and emails, saying we were allowed to be parked there, but he pretended not to understand what we meant and kept saying “no parking” and motioning for us to pay him. We were surrounded by other cars in the lot that had also been parked there since day 1 with us, but he only had a problem with our car, which seemed suspicious to us. We ended up leaving the festival rather than paying him.
Another major problem I had with Airbeat One was the crowd. While festival organizers cannot completely control their crowds, they can control whether or not they allow people in who are clearly over served, and they can regulate who is served from the bar. Before entering the festival, I walked over to the bathrooms where a man ran up to me, peed on my leg while I was waiting, and ran away. He didn’t say anything and I was too shocked at what was happening to say or do anything more than jump away. Thanks to our issue with camping, we didn’t have access to showers, which meant that I wasn’t able to do anything more that rub hand sanitizer all over my leg. Within the first 5 seconds that I entered the crowd on day 1, I was punched in the face. The crowd wasn’t full and I was saying “excuse me” as I was passing people. A bigger guy claimed my camera was blocking his view and punched me, rather than shifting 2 feet to the side. Another crew member saw this and brought me into a “safer area” away from the over served crowd, where I was ultimately drugged by this same crew member. My friend was also attacked in the crowd on day 2, while security took her camera and watched her be punched and strangled by several people in the crowd. This man stood there laughing and pretending to take photos of her on her camera, rather than helping her escape the violent crowd. While there were some nice people at the festival, the majority were not. Out of all of the festivals I have attended across my life, I have never been in a crowd more violent than the crowd at Airbeat. All in all, while Airbeat One has very impressive production, It is not a festival that I will ever consider returning to. The lack of organization from staff members was bad, but level of violence in the crowd put my distaste for this festival over the top. My friend and I ended up having to leave after day 2 because we feared for our safety after both being attacked by crowd members.