By E.R. Pulgar
Think of the biggest rave you can imagine and double it; even this isn’t enough to grasp the scope of Time Warp, techno’s most important festival on the European circuit. Usually held overseas in Mannheim and around Germany, the heart of Europe’s deep house scene, this unreal festival has finally come to our side of the pond, and the debut was explosive. Despite having to relocate to the 39th Street Pier in Brooklyn after failing to secure permits for the festival’s original location in the Bronx’s Kingsbridge Armory, the night went off without a hitch.
The festival was held within a large warehouse meant to imitate the full-floor stage that the original European incarnation of the festival is typically held in. The locale proved effective, stretching over two expansive dance floors which hosted around 9,500 techno fans eager to get their rave on. One of these comprised “The Cave,” with decorations revolving around the theme and speakers that boomed every beat to the far ends of the wide corridor. This was the larger floor, where big-ticket performers like Sven Väth and No Regular Play performed. The latter impressed the crowd with a unique performance that incorporated a live trumpet, castanets, and Spanish guitar that reverberated through the room in a ghostly marriage between the traditional and the modern.
The alternate to the mammoth main floor, appropriately titled “Floor Two,” housed more intimate sets that were no less intense, such as tINI and DJ Tennis. Despite being smaller, it also boasted more space, and became a sort of progressive house breathing room for fans exhausted from the exorbitance Floor Two’s sister stage on the other side of the warehouse.
Techno superstar Richie Hawtin was a particular standout playing to an unrelenting audience and even standing atop his booth to tease them. The usually composed Hawtin accidentally pushed a monitor on a fan, although thankfully nobody was injured.
The variety of music was impressive, as were the contrasts from stage to stage, with a middle ground that included a bar and a coat check for fans. You could walk between stages with relative ease, and the vibe completely changed. It was like two completely different festivals, with the relaxed deep house of Floor Two contrasting the relentless beats of The Cave.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams made an unexpected appearance during New York native’s The Martinez Brothers’ set. He went on to praise the festival, saying that “[it was] great for Brooklyn.” He then invited the festival back to the Borough for another installation to uproarious applause. Techno fans can only hope the masterminds behind Time Warp accept the invitation and continue to bring a taste of Europe’s legendary scene to the states.
E.R. Pulgar is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org