July 8 – 10: Liquicity will host their biggest event to date. A two-day camping festival, hosted just 40 minutes north of Amsterdam in a brand-new location, it’s yet another milestone for the young Dutch brand who, until four years ago, only existed online. The line-up reflects this strong sense of occasion…
Liquicity co-captain Maduk will joined by the likes of Sub Focus, High Contrast, DJ Marky, Dimension, Alix Perez, Brookes Brothers, Feint, Fox Stevenson, Hybrid Minds, Lenzman, Logistics, LSB, Nymfo, Technimatic, 1991 Mind Vortex, The Vanguard Project, Dan Dakota, Muzzy, Pola & Bryson, Utah Jazz and many more over the weekend, ensuring the full D&B spectrum is represented.
It’s the first festival of its kind for The Netherlands and the first of its kind for Liquicity. Right now, as you read this, Maris, Maduk and their team are working hard on every angle. This will be the first year they’ve taken the production on themselves; every single detail of the event is down to them.
But speaking to Maris and Maduk you get the impression this is exactly how they like it. Complete artistic control, accountability and transparency. It’s how it’s always been since the brand launched online in 2008, it’s what the community of fans around the world respect and it’s been one of the most interesting stories in drum & bass events in the last few years.
From an intimate semi-legal club night in an old hippie church for 350 people in March 2013 to where it is now, the last four years have been a remarkable journey for Liquicity. Here’s how they got here…
Ground zero for Liquicity events. The brand held their first ever party just over four years ago. By the end of the year they’d thought they’d reached the peak of their ambitions…
Maduk: The Liquicity YouTube channel is run by Maris, it was founded by him and still run by him. He launched my artist career as Maduk with uploads and became friends. I had already been playing different styles and genres and was DJ at illegal techno raves run by other friends. I really wanted to get Liquicity to a physical event and at some point they had a free spot in a location called Ruigoord In Amsterdam. It’s an old church, it’s very hippy and really special place. They had a free slot and I thought ‘okay maybe we can try and do Liquicity there’ It was March 2013. Compared to now we knew nothing!
Liquicity’s first ever event
Maris: March 16, 2013. I’ll never forget it. Hybrid Minds, Smooth and Maduk played. It was only 350 people so it was really small and it sold out way in advance. To our surprise people had come from France and Belgium and Germany to party with us. The dedicated YouTube fans were really keen to come. They didn’t care it was a 4 hour drive. That was such a great feeling and gave us confidence to continue.
Two months later… The Liquicity Belgian debut
Maduk: Murdock from Rampage had booked me for one of his shows before so I emailed him and said we’d done a Liquicity party, it had sold out and maybe we could try something in Antwerp. It was totally rookie of Maris and I to get in touch with a profession like Murdock in this way. But it worked. Before we knew it we were doing our first show in Antwerp in The Trix, a venue comparable to Electric Brixton.
Maris: We’ve hosted two shows a year in Antwerp ever since. In spring and autumn. We’re still doing them now and it’s a great relationship. The first two shows were the only ones not to sell out completely.
Maduk: After those shows Nymfo introduced me to someone who ran events at Paradiso, one of Amsterdam’s longest running and respected clubs. He’s been a member of the Liquicity events team ever since.
Maris: I thought it was the highest goal we could ever achieve and to get there in such a short space of time was just incredible. I thought this was where we could be forever. Two events a year in Paradiso as their main drum & bass night would be so sick. We did two shows we thought ‘no, let’s do better…’
More clubs, more locations and the development of Liquicity parties as a world of their own. This was the calm before the 2015 storm when everything kicked off…
Maris: With existing venues, you have to compromise with rules and decoration. And you’re always aware that people have seen the venue so many times already at previous events. So we’ve been driven by finding new locations and taking crowds to places they’ve never seen before. This was the year we established this strategy of constantly challenging ourselves and our crowd.
Maduk: Before we were just very happy to organise events and work with clubs like Paradiso. 2014 we were like ‘no, let’s take people to other places.’ A few months later we went to MC Theater, a club no one has done drum & bass nights in before then ran events in other Amsterdam venues such as WesterUnie and De Marktkantine. Through these events we noticed people stuck with us and trusted us with the production, line-up and location. They knew it was a proper event that’s seriously organised wherever we go. Whenever we go to a new place people trust us. It’s a great thing and helped us do everything we achieved in the next two years….
London (twice), Cologne and their debut festival… 2015 was a whole new level for Liquicity Events.
Maris: London was the first event outside of Amsterdam and Antwerp. The city is such a hub for drum & bass it was daunting. Stepping into a territory where there are so many drum & bass parties was like coming into a wasps nest. There’s so much competition and so many promoters. But we had Village Underground, everyone liked it and it sold out. So we returned to London and decided to go a little bigger and moved to Electric Brixton. It’s still our home now, and we’ll be back early November.
Maduk: This was the first ever full drum & bass festival in The Netherlands. This was our dream; to have the country’s first all-day outdoor drum & bass festival. We felt ready for it because of the support we’d had in the club events. The best thing is that my friends who helped us on our first show in Ruigoord also did the production for this festival and the one in 2016. Three years later, the guys who lifted us and set us up were working with us again, organising permits with the government and building stages. It was a nice full circle.
Two Winterfestivals, one summer festival, the debut Liquicity Family Day and ventures in Slovakia and Czech Republic….
Maris: We did two Winterfestivals in 2016 because of the way the weekends were around the New Year’s Eve weekend. One was for 2015, the other for 2016. We did them because our previous Amsterdam club nights had sold out so quickly but a lot of people were disappointed and there was a black market of illegal ticket sellers. We felt bad to disappoint so many people, so therefore we decided to organise the winterfestival and make it even a crazier production on a new location.
Maduk: It’s in an incredible venue called Mediahaven which is a film studio by day and can only be used for events a couple of times a year. This is what we love; finding venues that our fans have never been to before and making unique experiences. The only other party in this venue is a techno event which has a very different crowd to us. It’s worked really well and Winterfestivals are now party of our annual event calendar.
Liquicity Festival 2016
Maduk: Liquicity Festival 2015 was incredible but 2016 was even better. We were much tighter as an organisation. Logistics wise, stage wise, even weather wise – everything was better. Where 2015 was 8.5, 2016 was a straight in my opinion. Small things get improved such as placing of bars and staff and stages. Knowing when to roster staff on at certain times, knowing when people will arrive. It’s about making sure everyone has a smooth experience and doesn’t have to queue. This is always the most fun about the second show at the same location; you can improve all the small flaws the second time and make the experience even better and more efficient for your crowd.
Liquicity Family Day
Maris: It was quite funny; a lot of people misunderstood this and asked about the age restrictions to come and whether young families were coming with kids. The age was still 18. It was a small outdoor event for the Liquicity family. Because it really feels like Liquicity is a family and we wanted to have a separate party with that theme. Again it was a relatively new location. We were the first and only drum & bass party at Thuishaven and it’s a really cool location with a sandy terrain and both indoor and outdoor stages.
Maduk: It was for the faithful artists and crowd. It was very intimate setting and we had a great response from the crowd. It sold out, it was a venue no one had been to before and we’ll probably do it again this September. Since previous small events sold out so quickly, we’ve now decided to email our most frequent visitors with a personal ticket code so they have a fair chance to secure a ticket before it sold out, too.
Back to the future. This summer Liquicity Festival returns in XL weekend form with camping and a deeply dug line-up that represents the full Liquicity spectrum and features names that have never before appeared on European bills. It’s also the first event that’s 100% built up from the ground in-house.
Maduk: I can safely say the amount of work we have with this festival is double the amount of work with all the previous events combined. We knew we had to make it a two day event because people come from as far as America and South Africa to our events so we wanted to give them something really worth travelling for. We’re also doing the production completely; every fire extinguisher, every sign is all down to us. It’s also a new festival site so we have a complete blank canvas. We can stay there for a longer term so we can really settle in and make a home and make constructions to use there every year. It’s great; we can craft it into the best festival we can do.
Maris: I’m very happy with the line-up, too. It’s a healthy balance of some of the most exciting big names and the future of drum & bass. It’s great; all the artists who’ve played with us have been so supportive. They love the crowd and know they can really play the set they want to play. This is important in the liquid world because on some line-ups liquid DJs feel they have to play a little harder to have an impact. At Liquicity they can play whatever they like and the crowd will go bananas for it. We’ve also got some artists who have never played in Europe before like Dan Dakota and Flite.
We can have even more time to enjoy the music, too. We’re programmed from 12 to 12 in the day and have also had a silent disco approved until 3am which is where the afterparty will be held and all of us going back to back to a crowd wearing headphones. I think it will be incredible. There’ll also be an outdoor cinema where you can chill in the night and we’re working on bonfires, games and activities. It’s the little details that make the festival a unique experience, and it’s what our fans deserve. We always try to listen to them and I think Liquicity is known for a very direct communication.
Maduk: We walk around the venue or site during all the shows and talk to people about their ideas and thoughts. Liquicity is about them, not about us! Also something really cool is that no matter where we go, the atmosphere is the same. You can truly feel the Liquicity vibe in the crowd in every city. A lot of times we get messages from visitors who say “I have been to this venue so many times, but last night it felt as I was in a different country” That’s such an fulfilling feeling, it sums up why we do things this way…
See how they do it and get fulfilled at Liquicity Festival 2017 with Sub Focus, High Contrast, DJ Marky, Dimension, Maduk, Alix Perez, Brookes Brothers, Feint, Fox Stevenson, Hybrid Minds, Lenzman, Logistics, LSB, Nymfo, Technimatic, 1991 Mind Vortex, The Vanguard Project, Dan Dakota, Muzzy, Pola & Bryson, Utah Jazz and many more…