The Great American Gabberfest: Congress of the Kickdrum

Please rise! The Congress of the Kickdrum is now in session!
As this year’s Gabberfest Anthem proudly announced, it was a full-on convention of misfits, dreamers and instigators drawn to a single flashpoint of action: rocking hardcore for 2 days straight under the unforgiving Las Vegas June sun. Temperatures of over 111 degrees bathed this year’s dedicated attendees at what is becoming America’s default meet-up of the harder styles.

We woke up Saturday morning after spending the previous night at EDC. Not only were we tired and sore from dancing all night in the heat, but we were hungry! We elected to start the day off at the Belagio buffet to fuel up and pre-game with their bottomless cocktails! After a solid hour of eating and drinking as much as we could, it was time to head to the fest.Walking up the the Hard Hat Lounge where the event is held, you can hear the warlike assault of the baselines from several blocks away.

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The Hard Data DJ Team

Foreign dignitaries this year were Phoenix, Epidemic and Rohdan from Australia. The HARD DATA was well represented this year as “the official” HARD DATA Team of Lostboy, Mindcontroller and Deadly Buda turned the heat up outside and inside on both stages Saturday.

In addition, American hardcore legend Rob GEE headlined the event, bringing his twenty-plus years of gabber expertise to the table to inspire young and old alike. His set spanned from old classics, like “Army of Hardcore” to his newer material like the recently new and improved version of “Hard Sweetcore.” GEE was an integral part of the very first Gabberfest, and it was great to see him return to give the gabbers a kick drum to live on.

The White Ape overseeing the festivities

Frequent contributors to the magazine rocked the line-up as well, as Flap Jack, M27 and Seppuku each rocked fierce vinyl sets, Vigor rocked rawstyle, CAP devastated the tour bus stage with all his own tracks, Arcid coordinated the Techno Belligerent stage and The White Ape presided over the entirety of the festivities.

But, that’s just the list of usual suspects, a who’s who of hardcore from around the country was there too. Not one bad set the entire weekend. It was thick from beginning to end! Eni, Energy Alleul, Metal Jesus, Inspektor Gadjet, Gabber Twinz, How Hard, Lauren Valentine, Symtek and System Malfunction kept brought the energy to the crowd even in the unforgiving heat.

By Sunday morning it was clear that the heat was taking it’s toll on the crowd’s energy, but with the Hardcore blasting everyone gave it their all and I have spoken with had a blast! (At one point during the event it got so loud the speakers at the inside stage!) It was 100% on this year, nothing can beat the energy you get when you combine hardcore and a crowds of dedicated fans. That being said, important changes could be in the works for next years Gabberfest, and rumors of its move to a different time of year was a “hot” topic of conversation. At over 100 degrees each day, Gabberfest has been more like an endurance test sometimes, than an actual good-time rave. The waterguns, tents, mister and pools help, but eventually one must migrate to the air-conditioning or risk passing out. In addition, the event falls on EDC weekend which seems to prevent some people from coming, as the hotel ticket prices in Vegas can be particularly expensive, and it seems that many Gabberfest attendees do not attend EDC. So, part of the congress this year was openly debating a radical shift in time for the event. What do you think? What would be the best time of year for Gabberfest, and why? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!

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