Written by Rebecca Hollman
Photos by Memorandum Media // Jason Myers
Another successful Seismic Dance Event for the books. This past weekend, Seismic took over Austin, Texas by storm. With three hard-hitting days of techno and house, three full stages, and perfect weather; this weekend was one to be beat. Seismic is known for bringing world-class techno artists to their events and this year was no different. Nina Kraviz, Pan-Pot, ANNA, HI-LO, Ida Engberg, Amelie Lens, and Reinier Zonneveld were just some of the techno names on the lineup this past weekend. Austin might not be known for its techno scene, but Seismic brings in some of the hottest techno artists in the world – many artists who rarely tour in the U.S. at all. It’s truly a techno snobs dream.
The new venue location – The Concourse Project – is a new permanent EDM venue in Austin that features two outside stages, one indoor stage, and connects to a latin club (Mala Santa) that became the indoor after party venue for the festival. The Frequency Stage was the “chill vibes” stage and was all yellow. It featured a large cloth dome over the stage, as well as cut-out wood paneling that looked like waves across the front of the DJ booth. Bedouin, Bonobo, AC Slater, Mason Maynard, Dom Dolla, Patrick Topping, Eli Brown, and more graced the Frequency Stage over the weekend. The Tsunami Stage was the full on house stage and was all blue. This stage was a pretty standard outside open-air stage with some LED paneling and a heck ton of blue lasers. Claptone, Will Clarke, Eats Everything, Black Coffee, Solardo, Michael Bibi, and more took over the Tsunami Stage.
Last but certainly not least, the Volcano Stage was the mind-blowing techno stage and was all red. The Volcano Stage was the one indoor stage all weekend and it had LED strips that lined the length of the ceiling, as well as lights on all sides and walls of the stage. The amount of lasers at this stage was absurd – one of the best light displays at a stage that I have seen in awhile. Top this off with an incredible sound system, a VIP balcony viewing deck, clean indoor bathrooms connected to the stage, and an absolutely mental techno lineup the likes the U.S. rarely sees; and you might just get sucked into this stage for the entire weekend like I did. Amelie Lens, Stephan Bodzin, Pautrice Bäumel, Ben Böhmer, Luttrell, Öona Dahl, Yotto, ANNA, Nina Kraviz, Ida Engberg, PAN-POT, Reinier Zonneveld, HI-LO and more took over the Volcano Stage by storm.
I loved every single artist on this lineup and there were frequent times where I couldn’t decide what to stage to go to because I liked all 3 artists that were playing on all 3 stages. However, the Volcano Stage kept drawing me back in. The warmth inside the building, the banging aggressive techno, and lights that would make your eyes melt were hard to resist. I love the fact that women DJs closed out the Volcano Stage all 3 nights as headliners. Friday, Amelie Lens closed out the techno stage (Ida Engberg was right before her), ANNA closed out Saturday, and Nina Kraviz closed out Sunday. It’s amazing to see that the best artists in techno right now are all women. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some non-techno sets at the Volcano Stage that were still absolutely stellar – Yotto, Luttrell, and Ben Böhmer. Ben Böhmer’s set stood out the most to me over the entire weekend, as he took us on an intimate journey. He plays all his tracks live and responds to the vibe of the crowd. You could see how emotional and involved he was up there playing and it radiated out into the crowd. The joke of the day was that Ben Böhmer gave us all a two hour-long orgasm.
Besides the three stages, Seismic had (1) a food truck area with fire tamales, a sweet truck with hot cocoa (on those cold nights) and the sweetest old lady, and plenty of vegan and vegetarian options (2) amazing merch and a few other merch tents and vendors (3) a section of LED swings and seesaws for people to play on and (4) VIP sections that offered raised platform viewing at the Tsunami Stage, an upstairs balcony viewing at the Volcano Stage, and a VIP chill area with its own bar, indoor bathrooms, and seating. Overall, it was a small, intimate crowd with an absolutely fire lineup (the likes of which you don’t usually get in the U.S.) and stages with sound and light quality to compete with the best of festivals. Seismic Dance Event is one of my favorite festivals in the U.S. because it is genre-specific and because it is so intimate, with an absolutely divine crowd.