The European festival circuit is saturated with choice, but 7001’s elusive bunker location generated a lot of mystery when it was announced. The idea of a techno festival in such a derelict, historical location ignited fan’s imaginations. The organizers had a lot to prove after generating so much online buzz.
Taking a first look at the campsite, it was mostly ordinary. Empty buildings, once used as barracks, surrounded by beautiful countryside. Seeing the main stage, however, was another story. The main stage was overpowering. Two huge, rusted steel doors with speakers stacked on either side. Beyond the thick steel doors was a long, dark tunnel illuminated by LED strip lights and lasers, leading to rooms that once, 30 years ago, would have protected Ministry officials in the event of looming disaster. Lumito Berlin set up the lights for the whole festival.
“There cannot be enough said for having a big stage, big artists and long sets, and still being able to walk around and recognise the same faces over the weekend. People did what they wanted and dressed how they wanted”
Each DJ on the lineup did a 3 hour long set. It was this long tunnel 7001’s clientele were staring down for the long hours dancing in front of the main stage. The marathon sets can be seen two ways. Firstly, you get consistency and the pleasure of seeing world-class artists Freddy K and Nur Jaber do sets that would normally be reserved for long-play bookings at clubs. On the other hand, cycling through DJs an hour at a time keeps things fresh and interesting. The length of the sets created a much more trance like crowd, and a techno endurance contest from midday to 10 in the morning.
The clientele of 7001 were, if anything, committed. 7001 kept to its promise of selling limited tickets. There cannot be enough said for having a big stage, big artists and long sets, and still being able to walk around and recognise the same faces over the weekend. People did what they wanted and dressed how they wanted. Photos were restricted on site to encourage privacy. Beyond all of the internet buzz, the small crowd and limited facilities at 7001 meant there was no pretense. This didn’t feel at any point like a cash-grab with a gimmick to sell tickets. The festival was designed with people in mind who straightforwardly wanted to stay up all night with the music.
“It is an experience that any die-hard techno head needs, especially if they are looking to soak in techno from a place of authenticity.”
On the final night of the festival, many people packed up and departed. The remaining fans partied until the last moment of Francois X’s finishing set. Eventually the lights came on, and the mood died down. Of course the party cannot go on forever, however a lot of people ready to dance and no music is never a good feeling. 7001 had an ambient garden open on Saturday where people could listen to some Aphex Twin and take down time from the pounding techno further into the forest. This is something every festival should take note of, and keep going for as long as they can.
The rawness of the Freudenberg bunker location is something only temporary, unfortunately. In the coming years, the barracks will be transformed into some kind of technology campus for business. In the end, history does give sway to uniformity and capitalist mundanity. However fleeting, I’m glad that so many people were able to be at 7001 and make the most of Germany’s affinity to techno in such a distinct place from a distinct time. Hopefully for us all, 7001 will continue organising and create the same atmosphere next time, with or without such a location. It is an experience that any die-hard techno head needs, especially if they are looking to soak in techno from a place of authenticity.
All photo credit: Duncographic