So much of what we perceive cannot be expressed
That’s why music exists
To communicate all the abstract and intangible things we experience
We become exposed to a spiritual communion
Those moments when we feel connected
That’s what we live for
~ Toneshifterz ft. Zuri Akoko : What we live for
With The Qontinent Festival 2018 (Indestructible) taking place this weekend, my social media feeds have been bombarded with posts, photos and videos that remind me that we were there a year ago – yes a year ago! It has taken me a year to get to the point where I can formulate words about our crazy three-day experience in Belgium! Hardstyle music is a lifestyle and as such a trip to one of the Q-Dance festivals have been in the making for a long time. Therefore, we were happy to realize that The Qontinent coincided nicely with our travel dates. As South African’s we didn’t quite realize the enormity of these European festivals and the festivals we are used just cannot compare. The Qontinent Festival 2017 (Decade of Dedication) was a huge celebration of 10 successful years and we were lucky enough to be there!
The Qontinent takes place in Wachtebeke in Belgium and is about an hour’s drive from Ghent where we were staying. On Friday we spent the morning exploring Ghent before making our way to Ghent Train Station to catch our bus. The moment we stepped off the tram at the station we knew we were in the right place. Queues had been formed, Hardstyle was blaring and there was an energy of excitement in the air. After a wait, we hopped on a bus with a huge crowd of people (bags and all) and we were off into the Belgian countryside.
Entering the Qontinent
Getting to a booth to pick up our wristbands was quite easy – getting into the festival grounds was not. Nothing could prepare us for the number of people we encountered at the entrance. There were not actual queues but just a mass of bodies slowly inching their way forwards every few minutes as we were herded through the check gates by officials who were checking bags for drinks (there was a limit that each person may take into the grounds and no glass bottle are allowed). Nothing could dim our enthusiasm though and we powered through with barely contained excitement. Finally, we made it through those gates and we were in The Qontinent!
Accommodation in a Festipi
Luckily we arrived quite early as the festival officially started in the afternoon which gave us time to find our accommodation and get settled. As we were traveling through Europe for three weeks we opted not to lug a tent and all the extras around. Instead, we booked a Festipi which gets set up for you and has mattresses and pillows included. All we had to bring with was sleeping bags and camping chairs. We got to the Festipi camp and were shown to our awesome and colorful Festipi – home for the next few days. If you are traveling from another continent I would definitely recommend making use of this service or one of the other accommodation options. It was so convenient and a super fun experience staying in the Festipi Village which was like a little community and resulted in us meeting some interesting people during the stay.
The Campsite & Other Information
No money is used at The Qontinent except to buy tokens which have a monetary value and can be used to buy anything and in particular food and drinks. These tokens are also used to buy merchandise and to use the hot showers set up at the campsite. The campsite is huge and makes up the outer area of the island that is The Qontinent – the actual island on the other side of the water is where the stages are. The campsite has numerous vendors to buy food and drinks as well as toilets, and shower areas. You are not allowed to take food or drinks into the actual event area and there are even more food stalls and bars located in between the stages. Take your own drinks and snacks with to enjoy in the campsite though as it can be quite pricey.
There were six amazing stages in total but only three were open on Friday (the pre-party) which meant there was an element of mystery on the first night as to what the rest of the stages had in store. There were three outdoor stages and three indoor stages, each playing a specific sub-genre of Hardstyle music. The stages were so well designed and each was unique and appropriate to the style of music. The main stage was huge and encircled by speakers which means it created a feeling of being surrounded by music. Two smaller outdoor stages also had the same effect. Two large tents were set up for an indoor effect as well as a smaller bunker type dance floor with crazy visuals. All the stages were set up with wooden dance floors to prevent a muddy mess and people slipping while dancing.
The thing about these types of festivals is that it is not just a music festival; it’s a feeling, a movement, a lifestyle. A life-changing experience of epic proportions that results in a feeling of wholeness and interconnectedness – because music unites. The music was amazing and it was awesome to be able to see many of our favorite DJ’s play live sets. We danced constantly and were so tired by Sunday but kept going. Sets were scheduled from 12:00 to 00:00 each day but the music continued playing throughout the campsite for most of the night anyway. Each day we were treated to fantastic sets and shows by some of the best DJ’s in the genre. So much was happening that we could not even get a chance to dance to all the sets we wanted to and although we missed some DJ’s, it was still so worth it.
On the Sunday night as the Endshow was taking place and the fireworks show began to the sounds of Miss K8 our hearts were full of happiness and appreciation for this legendary festival – The Qontinent!
Have you been to a European Music Festival?
Defqon1 next year?