Around 140,000 fans of EDM retreated to a forest-surrounded stadium in Frankfurt, Germany last weekend (2-4 June) for the latest edition of World Club Dome festival. Offering a star-studded line-up of Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki and Zedd, plus an array of intricately-designed staging areas, the appeal of WCD is obvious. IBTimes UK joined revellers to experience what is hailed as "the world's biggest nightclub".
First stop: The "world's highest club"
Following an early start at Stansted Airport, we are shuttled along to the Diamond Hangar in preparation for boarding World Club Dome's very own private jet.
The hospitality of BigCityBeats, who organise the event, is what sets it apart from other festivals around the world. Unlike their counterparts, World Club Dome are generous enough to host around 100 competition winners aboard their jet. As part of the winner's package, guests are flown out to Frankfurt in style, provided a hotel, travel and, of course, entry to the Commerzbank-Arena where the festival was held.
After stepping onto the A340-liner, guests are greeted with smiles and pleasantries from the warm cabin crew and, after settling into the uber comfortable leather massage chairs, the first party begins. At 32,000 feet, it is certainly the highest "club" most have experienced with DJs Afrojack and Robin Schulz spinning the decks while cruising through the skies.
It is only 11am but the window shutters are pulled, lights are dimmed and guests are transported into a makeshift nightclub. Save for the embarrassing sea legs which come from standing on a plane with turbulence, it feels no different to partying on the ground. After a brief pit-stop picking up some fellow festival-goers in Munich, the jet soon lands in Frankfurt for the main event.
EDM heaven: The "world's biggest club"
One of the biggest draws of WCD is that there is something for everyone. Those used to jamming in the muddy fields typical of festivals can revel in the outside areas while others keen to stay dry or grab a seat can watch the biggest acts inside the stadium on the main stage. Undoubtedly the most attractive area is The Forest where festival-goers can frolic in the large swimming pool – complete with water slides – and allow acts like Miss Kittin and Kink to provide the soundtrack with seriously hypnotic live sets.
Countering the underground sounds are superstar DJs Steve Aoki, Zedd and Martin Garrix, who excel on the stadium's main stage. World Club Dome attracts around 50,000 visitors daily and the sheer volume was noticeable in the roaring reaction to Aoki, who seemed more fitting as a headliner. Lapping up the warm audience reception, Aoki pumped out a blend of his trademark EDM teamed the more edgier trap of his recent releases. Of course, it would not be a Steve Aoki set without the producer hamming up his usual gimmick of throwing around 10 large cakes into the crowd.
It is easy to enjoy a show as an audience member but standing beneath the stage as Zedd reels out hit singles and released confetti gives just a sense of what the most successful DJs enjoy each night. After Zedd seamlessly engages the packed-out stadium in an awe-inspiring sing-along of his Grammy-winning track Clarity, the producer almost proves to be a hard act to follow but Martin Garrix delivers a worthy headline set to close the weekend.
Celebrating the fifth year anniversary of the festival, Bernd Breiter, managing director of BigCityBeats, said: "When, five years ago, we opened our first BigCityBeats World Club Dome in the Commerzbank-Arena, we would never have dreamt it: More than 140,000 club music fans from 60 countries in a 700,000 m2 open-air space, selling out an entire stadium. We would like to say thank you to our BigCityBeats family and the WCD fans. We would like to say thank you to the city of Frankfurt, to which we feel more attached than ever."
The World Club Dome private jet will head to Korea this September for its next installment but, as last weekend proved, the sky is clearly not the limit.