It may be summer of the wasps, but that didn’t stop anyone from dancing their little hearts out at Baka Gaijin x Telekom Electronic Beats Open Air party. Punching the air as wasps tried to make suicide dives into our beers, we walked into the open air’s breathtaking venue. Completely surrounded by huge coal mining, industrial buildings, the party was nestled amongst the majestic architecture. Zeche Zollverein is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Essen where only a couple legendary parties are thrown here per year. In a recent article with Electronic Beats, the writer perfectly describes Saturday’s setting:
Kokerei Zollverein’s Mischanlage—the indoor space and former coal processing point—is one of the complex’s most unique spaces. With multiple floors of concrete atriums and long, dark corridors, it can be illuminated to appear as large or small as necessary. During the mine’s operation, it was a center of work life for the mining community. Today, aside from the occasional party, it hosts a yearlong exhibition on the mining heritage of the surrounding area called, ‚The Age of Coal.‘
Baka Gaijin graced us with three big name, UK DJs on Saturday: Shanti Celeste, Ben UFO and Objekt. Not having seen any of these DJs before, it was safe to say that I was super excited for the party. The warm sun was out to play, people were jumping into the refreshing pool, and everyone was ready to dance until the late hours of the night.
The day was off to a perfect start because of Shanti Celeste’s afternoon set. Switching from garage and funk infused tracks to more contemporary releases from her own Peach Discs label, such as the stellar ‘And So Do Eye’ by Videopath, she was showcasing her eclectic taste throughout the day. During the first half of her set, the songs she was mixing made the atmosphere perfect for hanging out by the pool, drinking pints of beer with your mates and grooving in front of the stage under the shade. Toward the end of the set, the crowd became more dense as she whipped out loads of bangers that had you glued to the dance floor. At one point, I started talking to an American guy repping a Discwoman hat that came just for Shanti. It’s safe to say she didn’t disappoint him or the audience as sounds of electro, house, soul and disco kept us hooked until the very end of her set.
Photo: Shanti Celeste by Henri Vogt / Baka Gaijin
Photo: Crowd during Shanti Celeste’s set by Henri Vogt / Baka Gaijin
My eyes were either shut with my mind wandering into space or locked onto Ben’s weightless gestures above the mixers. I wouldn’t call the feelings his set gave me an escape from reality because I enjoyed focusing on his craft and his awareness he had throughout his set. It was more that feeling you get when you hear an amazing song for the first time, and when you hear it again you get goosebumps thinking about the first time its beauty hit your ear drums. That’s what Ben UFO’s set was for me. I have only heard great things about his DJing but never experienced one of his sets live. Each song he mixed felt like the first time, and I couldn’t help but close my eyes and smile as it became more difficult to leave the dance floor.
Photo: Ben UFO by Henri Vogt / Baka Gaijin
Photo: Crowd during Ben UFO’s set by Henri Vogt / Baka Gaijin
Objekt put together a perfectly defined set, channeling legends such as Drexciya and Pete Lazonby to create a trance heavy experience that didn’t let up for the remainder of the evening. It fit perfectly with the industrial setting of Zeche Zollverein when he dropped EBM (electronic body music/post-industrial techno) tracks that flashed in tune with the creative lighting.
Photo: Objekt by Henri Vogt / Baka Gaijin
Thank you Henri Vogt for the dreamy photos and Baka Gaijin for throwing a legendary party at such a unique location. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Zeche Zollverein’s next party because it will be one you won’t want to miss.