Last Saturday the Contact Festival 2017 enthused Munich ravers with a phenomenal and mostly technoid line-up. Among others, the organisers invited international and national acts like Rødhåd, Tale Of Us, Recondite, Alex.Do, Adam Beyer & Ida Engberg, Joseph Capriati and Konstantin Sibold but also Moonbootica, Fritz Kalkbrenner and AKA AKA to the historical powerhouse venue. The stage design, light concept and special effects appealed to all senses of the ravers. I am glad I got Patrick a.k.a. Pele and one artist in front of my microphone to share their experiences with us. Within this article and podcast episode I also share some insights and my personal opinion about the electronic music scene in Munich.
A sold-out event with 18,000 enthusiastic visitors speaks for itself: the Contact Festival represents high quality electronic music. But is big always good? I would say no, but the organisers managed to create a special atmosphere where it’s still about the music and the rave-experience. Especially the outstanding stage designs and the state-of-the-art sound and lighting technology has been inspiring the audience since the first one event in 2014.
As the interview with Patrick and Holger was held in German, here is the summary of what we talked about:
Holger: he is very happy with the festival organisation and the whole happening. He even calls them his family. Especially outstanding in his opinion is the decoration, particularly on the smaller techno floors. Answering my question of what is so special about Munich he answered that he really likes the Munich audience. With a wink and laugh he also kind of criticised the intolerant drugs policy here.
Patrick: even after four years of Contact Festival he is still on fire for what he’s doing and says that it’s more wicked than ever before. The initial idea was to close the gap in the winter, as they only used to organised festivals in the summer (e.g. Echelon, Ikarus and Isle of summer) and also bringing their most favourite artists to Munich in a nice location during the colder season when they are not dependent on the weather. Every year was kind of different, this year it got quite technoid, also with stages like Cocoon & Circoloco. Obviously people were happy with the line-up. Answering my last question if Munich is ready for that much techno he answered:
‘Techno needs Munich”
I was so happy when I first read the line-up, as it included more techno acts like in the past. Among others, the top acts were: The Dystopian family with Rødhåd, Alex.Do and Recondite, Afterlife with Tale Of Us, Innervisions with Âme, Drumcode with Adam Beyer, Ida Engberg and Joseph Capriati but also Konstantin Sibold, BUTCH, Kölsch, Reinier Zonneveld, Kollektiv Turmstraße, Pele & Shawnecy, Jan Oberlaender, Lexer and many more. My personal top three sets on this evening were played by Konstantin Sibold, Pele & Shawnecy and Tale Of Us.
I would also like to take this festival as a positive example for the ongoing discussion about the electronic music scene in Munich. So many people say there is no real and authentic electronic music scene in this city and it’s all about the commercialisation of the music. I think it’s time to shout out some positive words for this flourishing scene in Bavaria. As David Muallem already mentioned in our podcast interview in October:
‘Right now a lot is happening in the electronic music scene in Munich and there is no need for the scene and artists to hide as compared to international standards.’
Of course the organisers are professionals and they are regularly hosting and organising festivals like Echelon, Isle of Summer and Ikarus. And yes, it’s also about writing black numbers in the end, but this necessarily does not affect the quality of the scene and the music. In the end: they bring great artists to Bavaria and create a special atmosphere in which we can spend an excellent day and night with fantastic electronic music.
In terms of the subculture; in my opinion the city of Munich missed to save open spaces for cultural and art happenings, so that also smaller acts and organisers can afford organising their events and exhibitions. The current topic of gentrification in Berlin took place in Munich already some years ago. Although the techno scene in Munich was booming from the 90s to the early 2000s, this is also one reason why the scene was decreasing in the past 10-15 years. Now Munich is an important business location, mostly for consulting agencies and insurance companies. At least since the release of Airen Strobo we know that they also want to rave during weekends. And yes at the Contact Festival, it’s not only about techno. Some of the acts, booked for the festival, are more commercial than others. The line-up offers a nice selection of artists out of the diverse electronic music scene. Behind the scene “underground” and “commercial” artists know each other and say ‘hello’, so why shouldn’t guest do the same. And they do. They’re not only co-existing, but spending a great time together. I also have to admit, the booking for the festival this year is as technoid as it never was be before. Patrick and his team tried to catch up with the current development and obviously got rewarded.
Coming back to the subculture and open spaces. There are still some great historical venues and one of them is where the Contact Festival took place: in an energetic environment of an former powerhouse and railway repair workshop, the so called Zenith, Kesselhaus and Kohlebunker. The steel constructions and rough site are a perfect host for an electronic music festival.
Cheers to Patrick & his team! I am so grateful for so many hours of fantastic music, for the great artists they brought to Munich and for calling them my friends.