My rating: 8 out of 10. Mad bonus points for an amazing Chilean crowd.
As I neared the end of my stay in Florianópolis, I needed a plan for the 10-day gap between the end of my lease and the opening of the World Cup in Sao Paulo. When I saw that Chile has waived the reciprocal visa fee and that Q-Dance was to be in Santiago during that time, I booked a flight and bought my ticket immediately.
Q-Dance is the biggest promoting group from the Netherlands of the harder styles of dance music. It is a high energy, head-banging, heavy-stomping type of music, not for the soft of heart. My first hardstyle event was the Q-Dance stage in TomorrowWorld Atlanta in 2013, though the attendance at the stage was quite poor, as hardstyle is not popular in the US (though it is starting to be promoted). As far as I knew, hardstyle is big in the Netherlands, Australia, and… Chile. I sensed that hardstyle was big at Chile from the presence of the Q-Dance stage at Mysteryland Chile every year, and the fact that this was the second Sound of Q-Dance (The standalone Q-dance one night event) to be hosted in Santiago. I could not wait to see the scene there for myself.
Now came the trickier part, finding people to go with. While I am doing the whole solo travel thing, I have never gone to a festival or club by myself due to the safety issue and feeling uncomfortable about going to a party alone (mostly the latter). When I had gone to other festivals in Buenos Aires and Brazil, I went with friends, hostel folks, or found people on the Couchsurfing forum. This time, I decided to turn to Couchsurfing again. I posted a message on the forums and also took the extra step to find people with hardstyle listed as their interest. There were only three, and I shot out emails to two of them and hoped for the best.
About a week later, one of the folks actually replied to me! It was a guy called Fernando, and he said he has not missed a single Mysteryland or Q-Dance event in Santiago. Based on his profile, he does not use couchsurfing (at all) and probably has never met anyone through the site, but he still invited me to join him and his friends at Q-Dance. I was really excited by that: Couchsurfing uses the love for travel to connect people; In this case, PLUR and the love for music has made this possible!!
Fernando and his two guy friends picked me up on the day of, and we arrived at the concert venue by car an hour early. There was already a long line outside with people waving the Q-Dance flag, pumping hardstyle music from the back of their cars, drinking in the line, and shouting “chi chi chi le le le, viva CHILE!!” Wow, I was already impressed!! When the gates opened, everyone ran in! After being pushed and shoved (and maybe doing some pushing and shoving myself..)
Thus commences 8 hours of hardstyle. The music shook us to the core, but what I was most impressed with was the Chileans. The venue was packed. They’re crazy about the music, the energy was amazing and I am not sure if I have ever seen another group of people so dedicated to any music. Fernando explained to me that hardstyle was not big in Chile until Mysteryland came, and from then on the following has been growing and growing.
To understand how the people feel about hardstyle, how crazy the event was, and how the DJs feel about the crowd, this aftermovie says it the best. Probably one of the best festival aftermovies I have seen:
At 6am, exhausted but exhilarated, we dragged our feet out of Espacio de Riesco. I was thoroughly impressed. Chile, you were amazing!