Megarave organisation about the past: “We will never forget our roots”

Nina van Zelst
By Nina van Zelst

Megarave is a well-known name within the scene. After years of legendary events at iconic locations such as the Energiehal, it got a little quiet from the event. In 2018 they returned with The Reunion, and luckily we can already expect a sequel very soon! We are of course very curious about the organisation, the events and the scene from their perspective. 

Let’s start at the beginning: Megarave has been well-known since the 90s, when the music genre hardcore had only just been born. In 1990, Rige organised a houseparty in Rotterdam, where it all started. “Then DJs such as Ruffneck, Paul Elstak, Ronald Molendijk and many others performed. After organising 2 Euroraves at the Maasvlakte, we thought it was a good idea to have all of the DJs frwom the gabber and mellow scene together at a ‘Mega’ Rave.” The event was such a success, the organisation caused huge traffic in 1993 towards the Maasvlakte.

“We were very aware of the fact those drugs could become a problem”

And Megarave was born: everyone who wanted to see a well-known DJ knew where to go. This also represents the uniqueness of Megarave: “Not a lot of organisation made the strict distinction between the soft side of house and the hard side of gabber. Most of the time it was either hard, or mellow. Artists that were just beginning got a stage to spread their vision on music. We brought the ‘house’ out of the clubs outside.”

Many readers won’t have not consciously experienced when hardcore as a music genre came to existence. Magerave takes us back to how things looked like in the past. “At the first big event we could do anything without having to explain a lot to the municipality. The house scene was definitely seen as one big, happy family in the beginning. The use of drugs wasn’t seen as a problem before either. We, however, were very aware of the fact these drugs could cause problems with licenses. So, we made sure we had pill testing stations and information stands.” George also tells there were condoms being passed out, which they got via municipalities.

“When Gerard Cox was hakking in an aussie and selling cocktail nuts, the scene got darker”

Ever since the start of happy hardcore in 1995, everything happened very fast. “Gabber was seen as a commercial interesting product, and when Gerard Cox was hakking in an aussie and selling cocktail nuts, the scene got darker. That’s when the first ‘Lonsdale’ gabbers could be seen, that often expressed themselves extremely right politically. Dutch flags on bomber jackets were forbidden, and you could no longer wear these big boots to parties. You just can’t even imagine it now.

What Megarave predicted became reality: the bigger the events, the harder it was to get licences. According to George, this was because all gabbers were being treated as one person. “Now everything is different, regulated by the municipalities. That’s good for an organisation, but sick events at secret or abandoned locations unfortunately no longer exist.”

“In the 90s DJs such as Paul Elstak, Ruffneck, The Dream Team and Lenny Dee was a driving force”

We are also looking back on the music of the past, and which artists according to George really put hardcore on the – Dutch – map. “In the 90s DJs such as Paul Elstak, Ruffneck, The Dream Team and Lenny Dee were a driving force. There weren’t a lot of live acts, so Neophyte and Rotterdam Terror Corps had a unique position with which they were able to make themselves big in the scene.” 

And if the organisation had to choose on track to describe these early hardcore days… Which one would it be? “‘Mescalinum United – We Have Arrived’. This track from 1989 (!) to us is the basis of hardcore music. Mark Trauner aka Marc Acardipane has given our scene a musical basis.”

“In the Energiehal we could do crazy things because of the unique location and licences, things that you couldn’t imagine now”

Besides Megarave being there from the start, the organisation has been responsible for some of the most iconic hardcore events, among others in the well-known Energiehal. “We always try to make the line-up something different. There also have to be at least 2 live acts and the sound just has to be hard. At the Energiehal, because of the unique location and the licences, we were able to crazy things you couldn’t even imagine now. But in these days we just try to organise a fun, not to expensive party.”

Even though they have organised many legendary events, the organisation remembers their favorite very well: Megarave ’99, NYE at the Energiehal in Rotterdam. “During this event we had built 2 tents. We played classics in the small tent and from techno until terror in the big area. Drokz was absolutely banging for the freaks, Darkraver went mental in the classics and in the main area there were also legendary performances by Neophyte and Rotterdam Terror Corps. Die hard partying!”

Even though the hardcore scene originated in the Netherlands, Megarave didn’t stop here: among others Paris, Oberhausen & LA got to enjoy the Megarave atmosphere. “The foreign scene is always different. It has its pros, because you can showcase a bit of your concept right then and there, but no country has the infrastructure and ‘hardcore’ like the Netherlands does. In other countries you really have to explain what you’re doing.”

“Through the years we have been giving everything and everyone loads of  opportunities, and we will continue to do so”

It definitely was a little quiet around the organisation, which had to do with (not) finding a proper location for Megarave. “We want outdoor events with at least two stages. At the Music Dome people know us very well from the parking of the Peppermill, and together we made plans to slowly pick things up again. Recently, opportunities in Rotterdam came up as well, so you’ll might find us there in 2020.”

By the time Megarave returned in 2018 with ‘The Reunion’, the scene had changed quite a bit looking at the big names and various styles within hardcore music. For ‘The Reunion’, Megarave will not only focus on their roots. “We want to be different, not having a basic line-up. Twillen anders zijn, geen standaard line-up. Through the years we have been giving everything and everyone loads of  opportunities, and we will continue to do so.”

“We have a unique combination of musical styles, in which the old unites with the new”

Nowadays people often say ‘everything was better in the past’, but Megarave does not completely agree. “Everything was different in the past, is what we like to say. The access to music, video and artists via the internet have completely changed the scene, mostly in a positive way: because of streaming services getting access to music is so much easier, and a lot more people visit a festival in order to experience its atmosphere.” According to Megarave the future looks bright: “Hardcore has enough sub genres to continue for the next 20 years.”

The next edition of ‘The Reunion’ is already coming our way very soon: on the 27th of July hardcore and Megarave lovers can unite once again at the Music Dome in Kerkrade. It promises to be unique! “We have a unique combination of musical styles, in which the old unites with the new. A 2 hour lasting terror battle between Drokz and SRB is very unique as well. And, a party at which both RTC and Neophyte and RTC are on the same stage isn’t very common these days either. This all for a reasonable price, and both outdoor and indoor!”

After the break we mentioned before, this is the second year in a row we are able to enjoy ‘The Reunion’. The future of Megarave is looking bright. “We will never forget our roots and try to educate the youth by always having an early/millennium area. We want to organise at least one Megarave event every year!”

Megarave 2019 – The Reunion will take place tomorrow on the 27th of July at the Music Dome in Kerkrade. Tickets are still available via the official website!

Add a comment