Rating: 7/10. Cool countryside festival with 4 diverse stages and genres. Music was curated really well with unbelievable lineup. Real German festival with cool crowd and nice communal feeling. The camping area is a sight to behold. Very hard to get to as a foreigner and consequently there were very few.
I found this festival by coincidence, as I saw on Facebook that Frontliner, one of my favorite hardstyle DJs, was playing there. No blogs or rankings about the top German festivals even mentioned Airbeat One, but clicking into their Facebook page I saw that they had a KILLER lineup!
For those that love big room, hardstyle, psytrance, and groovy techno, the lineup was pretty much unreal. Though this was not a big festival by any means, only 27,000 capacity over three days, with four stages, they really put together an impressive lineup for each genre. It cost about 58 euros for the one day pass, but the three day pass was around 120 euros, definitely pretty cheap.My Chilean friend was also in town in Berlin, so we decided to go together to the festival on Thursday only to check it out (we had plans to go to Dominator on Saturday in the Netherlands). I was really glad my Chilean friend came along; I had contemplated going alone to the festival, but realized after doing research that this place is literally in the middle of nowhere, 2 hours away from Berlin driving, in a town called Neustadt-Glewe. There is a train that goes to a town 3km away from the festival site (which is held at an old “flugplatz” or airfield, how cool is that), but German trains are super pricey – a train ride would have cost us 35 euros going there and 75 euros coming back… crazy!
I spent a couple days researching how the hell we can get to this festival and back without breaking the bank. Newstadt-Glewe is about halfway between the highway running from Berlin to Hamburg, so one option was to get a BlablaCar to drop us off there (Blabla car is a wonderful service, by the way, for anyone looking to share a ride between cities in Europe). I actually ended up asking the Airbeat One organizers to post a message on their wall for people to find shared rides to the festivals, and ended up finding a car to go with through that thread. An older Italian guy, about 38 years old, and his friend visiting from London ended up driving us there for free (score!) and befriending us. I’m always impressed by how older people can still party like a rockstar, and it makes me feel encouraged that I have many years ahead of us.
Our first hurdle was that our new friends had a tent in the VIP area, while we only got regular day tickets, and it had a different entrance. The lady who did the control was super mad at us, screaming for us to get out of the car NOW! We ended up having to walk around 15-20 minutes to the other side of the airfield. It was really cool that we did though, because we walked through a really awesome free camping area!
The last and only camping festival I’ve been to was TomorrowWorld, which had a huge camping ground a long expanse of tents. Although the camping ground was not as big at Airbeat One, it was 10x crazier! First of all, you’re allowed to drive your car in.
Second of all, people mounted very elaborate set ups in their campground.
People brought their whole living room to the festival:
…Mounted clubs with strobelights and Funkton One sound systems:
…Danced ontop of cars and platforms:
…Brought their own leisure activities:
It was also cool that you could rent your own shower or toilet for the duration of the festival!
Though the walk to the festival entrance was long, it was fully entertaining. I love the energy of campsites! We were approaching the entrance and security. We had bought a full bottle of vodka, and decided to put them in plastic bottles to sneak in. I told my friend to put it in his back pocket – success! They only searched his backpack and not his back pocket. We were pretty pumped by that and saved soo much money on alcohol.
Airbeat One is actually quite a small festival – only four stages and they’re all next to each other. At first I thought it was kind of strange, wouldn’t the sound leak from one stage to other? They did a good job tenting so it didn’t really happen! And it was really nice to be able to jump from one stage to another in under two minutes… I remember the worst thing about festivals like EDC is the walking.
First stage we saw next to the entrance was the psytrance stage. It was an open air stage, the tunes were dank, and sound system was powerful! I don’t usually listen to psytrance, but I really enjoy it when I do.
Saw a scantily clad man…
And a bunch of psytrance pants – either big flares or like below…
This was the main stage:
More mainstage action:
The mainstage was very commercial, and we actually spent most our time in the hardstyle and techno tents. I don’t remember the stage as being anything spectacular, but I quite enjoyed being in the front row and being blasted by the sound/air of the wall of speakers:
Also was the first time I witnessed real hakken/gabber dancing, albeit in small quantities (I witnessed a lot more in two days, at Dominator). Hardstyle is the ratchet music of Europe:
Techno tent was gorgeous and I really enjoyed the groovy, sexy tunes that were played – unfortunately I don’t recall who the DJ was. It was a fun type of techno and not the type that takes itself too seriously!
Also met the pineapple man: a guy dancing right up the front of the stage with his pineapple. He reminded me of the Toothpaste Man in the US.
There were very few foreigners at the festival, which was a really nice escape because Berlin is full of foreigners! Actually, despite the fact I don’t understand a thing and have to tell people to speak English, I really like how people always automatically talk to me in German here (in Berlin or in the festival), whereas in Barcelona when people see I’m Asian they automatically speak to me in English. More than 95% of the festival goers were Germans, and I really like partying with Germans! They’re super chill and fun to hang out with, plus tall and good looking! 😉
Very few people brought flags (obviously the Germans wouldn’t). We spotted a French and Swedish flag. I somehow adapted a Chilean identity for the night, as my friend brought a Chilean flag with him and I helped him wave it around. Waving a flag around while dancing is really annoying though, I don’t know how people go through festivals holding totems and flags, I feel cumbered enough just from having a sweater tied around my waist…
Because we brought in vodka, we spent very little on drinks there. Just 3.50 on a red bull vodka. I would have liked to spend more money there, but they did not sell natural water. WTF? Yes, they only had FIZZY water, and drinking one made me more thirsty after. I refuse to drink fizzy water!! Because I couldn’t find normal water anywhere, I also didn’t eat any food as it would have made me thirstier, but they had some wursts that looked pretty damn good.
By the way, Germany is big on recycling, so when you go to parties there, and they give you a cup or a glass bottle, you’re expected to bring it back for a 0.50 to 1 euro refund. So, don’t forget to bring back your bottles!
Sun rose at around 4AM here and at around 6AM we ended up chilling at the hammocks next to the psytrance stage.
We met some German youths by the hammocks (really young, like 20 and 18 years old), who told us they live nearby and have been to Airbeat One since it started 3 years ago, and every year it’s been getting bigger and bigger.
I highly recommend Airbeat One Festival – a festival with real character, great lineup, and non-touristic. Getting there is a huge hassle, but if you can find a way to get there, it’s really worth it!! I wholly recommend it.
As of now, Airbeat One is #7 on my list of favorite festivals, ever. Check out my festival power ranking!