This years Teknival in France was a sight to behold with around 35,000 ravers from across Europe taking over a disused military airfield in north east France for 72 hours of non stop music. A self organised event in the spirit of the Britain’s early rave scene, there was no entrance fee and no hired security. Over 50 massive sound systems combining various free party collectives from across Europe (with France and England best represented) were arranged along a mile of air strip and shook the ground for kilometers around with techno, drum and bass and bits and bobs of almost everything else you could imagine. The sound of 99 red balloons being played on saturday afternoon sent me running towards this majestic sound system to skank to my hearts delight.

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The DJs running the decks were ‘amateurs’ but i found the quality of the music consistently brilliant, ridiculously loud and often unforgiving in its harshness (not an asset for all genres, but definitely one for hardcore techno). It has since been confirmed that some ‘big names’ in the techno scene played sets anonymously without pay this year, rumours abound as to who they were, but i think it is in the spirit of Teknival to let it stay a mystery. The music was fucking wicked all-round regardless of how famous the DJs mixing it are.

For a self policed event with 35,000 people there was very little violence or theft. From what i saw far less than you would find with the same numbers out on the lash in town centers in Britain. A compromise with the french government meant that medical and firefighting services were deployed to swiftly help party goers if necessary. A large first aid and chill out tent was also provided by French safer clubbing initiative Techno Plus, and free water, condoms, thermal blankets, and drugs information were provided throughout the festival.

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At night, lasers and flood lights lit up the clouds and fireworks flew into the skies as the crowds stomped and skanked below. People from across the world shared dancefloors and drinks, and talked as well as language barriers allowed. Everybody i met there was lovely and welcoming, very accommodating with my (incredibly) rough french, and the British seemed to have a great reputation with everyone i met. Going alone to such an intense event in foreign lands can be quite overwhelming, but with some savvy and brilliant chance encounters i returned home in one piece, happy and smiling, with my ears ringing and a french vocabulary of about 40 words and expressions.

A true bonanza of bass, new friends and good times. A must on the to-do list of any fans of hard dance music. See you next year!

-Alex t Harris AKA The Auter Mc

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