Revierpark Wischlingen

On Sunday, May 19, a picturesque slice of Dortmund’s tree-lined, usually quiet Revierpark Wischlingen transformed into a noisy celebration. A crowd of ravers descended from the city’s neighbouring towns of the North Rhine-Westphalia region – Köln, Düsseldorf, Bonn, Wuppertal, Essen and beyond – to dance in the summer season at the curtain-raising electronic music day festival PollerWiesen.

PollerWiesen threw its first party 31 years ago in 1993, beginning as a free rave in Köln. The collective threw underground raves in the area for a decade, until 2003 when an agreement was made with the authorities to run fully legit, licensed parties. It has since developed into a slickly-produced event, and the day festival is one of the most circled dates in the German region’s calendar. But that underground spirit remains today, and it reverberated around Wischlingen’s forest canopy, clearings and lakes.

The line-up was forward thinking and meaningfully focused, featuring a slate of international DJs and local talent, drawn largely (but not exclusively) from the house, techno and trance spectrum. They played across five stages, which ranged from the intimate and Hidden to the expansive Main Stage, and the soundsystems and production across them were difficult to fault.

Despite a doomed weather forecast that projected rain from start to finish, the wet weather mostly held off, save for an hour or so in the mid-afternoon, and the crowd made the most of it. Festival-goers were engaged, friendly and definitely there to dance, splitting at close to make their ways to afterparties at the nearby Junkyard and Tresor.West (the sibling venue to the historic Berlin techno club). Altogether it was a great showcase of the North Rhine-Westphalian dance music scene’s energy, which can often be overlooked for Germany’s more storied party regions of Berlin and Frankfurt.

But with the German summer now well and truly here, we revisit five of our favourite performances from the party.

Gerd Janson B2B Narciss

Taking to the main stage at lunchtime, as much of the crowd was flowing through the security barriers, two veterans of Europe’s dance music underground took to the Main Stage and got the festival moving. It was an eyebrow-raising pairing, given Gerd’s traditional association with disco sounds and Narciss’s faster-tempoed techno and trance cuts. But the Running Back label boss and the Timişoara, Romania native found ample middle ground – largely residing in synth laden electronics and sunny, euphoric afternoon grooves that included a raucous spin of the recent Caribou release Honey.

DJ Sweet6teen

As the heavens opened in the afternoon, many ran for cover under the trees. Others though, went for the hills, and those at the Hilltop Stage were treated to classy respite from Köln local DJ Sweet6teen. To a rainbow coloured crowd of bopping ponchos, she dusted off 90s house and tech vinyl while a member of the production team desperately held the rain cover up to avoid water hitting the decks. A handful of classic cuts came out during the 90 minute set, including a hand-raiser that featured the opening acapella of The Shangri-Las’s Give Him A Great Big Kiss layered over an organ house groove.

FJAAK

Having released their third, expansive, 23 track long album FJAAK THE SYSTEM just days before, the Berlin-based duo brought their signature brand of ravey techno to the Main Stage in the late afternoon, as the sun began peek back out over the festival. Over the course of two hours, the pair served up peak-time four-to-the-floor heat filled with melodies and soul. They progressively picked up the pace before rounding out their set by dropping a rapid, percussive rendition of Octave One’s 2002 Detroit techno classic Blackwater to a much obliging crowd as their penultimate track.

Mama Snake

Set close to the site entrance on the edge of Revierpark Wishchlingen’s lake is the festival’s most aesthetic stage – The Beach. Packed from the first set of the day to the close, the highlight came from Copenhagen’s Mama Snake, who brought hazy, fast-paced deepness to the waterfront for the penultimate set of the day. Their set was a heads down and fist pumping journey through techno and psy, filled with plenty of strange sonics, all delivered while donning a Palestine football jersey.

Nene H

As night time fell across the park, the production quality of the festival fully came to life as the light shows were given their time to shine and soundsystems were maxed for one final blast. Closing out the intimate Hidden stage, tucked among the trees in the festival’s deepest corner and featuring a crisp four-point system, was Turkish underground hero Nene H. She brought the darker energies to the close, with pumping, ravey four-to-the-floor techno with a sprinkle of ghetto-house and electro – the set keeping the energy strong before dancers scattered to the afterhours.