In an event that was born out of the underground techno scene of the world leading Dutch brand, NYC gets a special glimpse inside the sacred AWAKENINGS experience courtesy of ID&T North America and SFX Entertainment.
Leading into the frigid New York City Valentine Weekend, you would’ve thought the sub-zero temperatures would be reasons of concern for AWAKENINGS attendees. In what could’ve been one of the coldest weekends of the season, it had no effect on the turnout of the event. Upon entering the venue, you were instantly warmed up by energy and heat of the festival as AWAKENINGS was kicking into full gear for its debut performance. Fans were still lining up as late as the 2:00am mark.
Upon entering the historical Hammerstein Ballroom, you already knew it wasn’t the typical nightlife escapades. A great selection on ID&T North America and SFX Entertainment’s end, the venue served as the ideal spot to host such a prominent event. The venue had grandiose pillars and walls, with a sheer touch of grit and grunge, a perfect combination to the sophisticated yet raw atmosphere the AWAKENINGS name brings. With so much space available you had one of the best open air acoustics layouts in the city. Beyond the dance floor and stage, the production team used up other valuable pieces of Hammerstein. The basement was dedicated to a bright and relatively quiet area for the coat check and bathrooms.
In the main ballroom of Hammerstein you had not only a massive main GA dancefloor, but another level above stocked with a bar and seating. And if you didn’t want to stop there, the third level balcony was also open to fans, providing arguably the best view in the venue. You could join the masses in the crowd on the main floor, jump up to the second to enjoy some rail time, or venture to the secluded top balcony for a show and extra added space; Hammerstein provided the perfect setting for however you were feeling at the moment. ID&T North America and SFX Entertainment did a great job of making ample use of the entire venue.
First up on the decks was Julia Govor B2B Kamran Sagadehi. This would be America’s first ever exposure to the AWAKENINGS brand as a whole, no pressure or anything. The duo of Govor and Sagadehi were the perfect equation to fill such an act. They had the crowd piling in early on and swaying back and forth to their techno waves. Gently putting the pressure on the early crowd, Govor B2B Sagadehi curated some culling basslines. You could see Julia Govor on stage bobbing around enjoying the honors of first AWAKENINGS set. If first impressions tell you anything Govor and Sagadehi said, “welcome get ready for an unforgettable night.”
By the time Pan-Pot had taken to the stage the venue was filling with capacity and loosened up. The German duo of Tassilo Ippenberger and Thomas Benedix were the only “solo” act of the night, but the two creative minds put on a diverse set nonetheless. By this time of the night the main floor was nearly packed full and moving heavily, and the second balcony had little to no room left on the rail for a front row view. As the night progressed Pan-Pot would throw in subtle build ups, to let loose cool head turning drops. To close out their set the duo waved goodbye to the crowd, and the praise from the fans could’ve easily trumped the massive speaker system brought by ID&T North America and SFX Entertainment.
The party kicked into early morning hours when Nicole Moudaber B2B with Victor Calderone came on and possibly put on the most fun set of the night. A local hero, Victor Calderone was just another reason why the AWAKENINGS event in NYC seemed to be just the perfect setting for its debut. Throughout the whole set you had two modes from Ms. Moudaber, she was either donning a gleaming smile or pursing her lips through the grimier moments of her performance.
The backdrop of the DJ booth was a massive screen that bounced from real time black and white cuts of the producers above the decks, and the face melting visuals AWAKENINGS and ID&T North America and SFX Entertainment had promised us. The unique perspective offered an intimate view of the performers as they enjoyed their night. You not only could feel the music and enjoyment they themselves were having, but also got a direct look into the heavy mixing that goes into a live set. The duo of Victor Calderone and Nicole Moudaber were thoroughly enjoying themselves aboard the massive screen structure in the background. Between the crowd and pumping bass; you could literally feel the concrete floor wobbling from the massive dance party. Towards the back right side, a legitimate dancing circle developed and serious shufflers broke out their moves. One of the many unscripted sites you’d see at the unique AWAKENINGS show.
The headlining event of the night, Adam Beyer B2B Ida Engberg, finally took to the stage to wrap up the night. The proclaimed King and Queen of Techno hit the stage and they already got a roaring ovation before they had even spun their first track. In a rare fusion of chemistry top natch live mixing skills, this act was what AWAKENINGS and ID&T North America and SFX Entertainment had steadily been building towards for countless months. Just as the Techno Royalty was settling in early on in the set, there was an unplanned pause as some sort of power or software issue had turned off the deck. In a slight moment of silence, the whole placed erupted in a synchronized chant of “woahh uh oh oh oh uh oh oh ohhhh,” from the famous melody of White Stripe’s “Seven Nation Army,” another enjoyable surprise taken place at the AWAKENINGS debut.
The production team at AWAKENINGS quickly fixed glitch and once again got party started. Beyer and Engberg had started off the set spinning together before Beyer took a quick absence. Ida Engberg was given full controls of the booth for a brief moment, letting the starlet shine all on her own. The duo then resumed their glimmering teamwork, as anyone could see the chemistry working between the two. Towards the end of the set the two finished with a sweet embrace and a late Valentine’s Day kiss. Adam Beyer took it upon himself to finish up the last portion of the set as other performers came up on stage to congratulate Beyer and give one last farewell to NYC crowd.
In the waning moments of the closing set of AWAKENINGS NYC the crowd was still dense; people simply did not want to go home. With a little bit of extra room another impromptu dance circle commenced this time flaring old school break dance moves that were just as impressive as the tunes being played by Adam Beyer. Going into the event the bar was set high for the AWAKENINGS debut in America. You had no idea what to expect, and wondered how large Dutch founder Rocco Veenboer could possibly take this foreign festival of AWAKENINGS. Him and the ID&T North America and SFX Entertainment team went above and beyond with this spectacle, from the artist selection, to the top of the line production, to the perfect venue; AWAKENINGS blew all expectations out of the water.
The AWAKENINGS festival doesn’t stop in America, as its stateside embrace will hopefully not be its last. Go to their site and check out the multitude of festivals planned for this upcoming summer and be a part of the European side of things HERE.
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