Review: Test-event #BackToLive

Covid-19 is dominating the news for over a year now. One of the very first arrangements that the Dutch government took in order to contain the spread of the virus was to declare all festivals and events as forbidden. Obviously totally understandable considering the fact that a lot of research hadn’t been done yet. Despite that, it was a very tough blow, for the entertainment industry, for all the freelancers out there, for us as a musical platform, and most importantly all these music-lovers who didn’t have their usual way of getting loose, partying with friends, hugging each other without any 1,5m distance.

Needless to say, we’re super pleased that the Dutch government is currently executing test-events in order to figure out what is possible in the (near) future. When we noticed the #BackToLive initiative by Fieldlab Events, supported by the government, in cooperation with prestigious event-organizations ID&T and MOJO concerts, we obviously wanted to get involved. Full disclosure: every single person at the event had to undergo a negative PCR-test and will be doing another test a couple of days after the event as well, they arranged 6 different ”bubbles” at which the rules were all different, but nearly everybody had to wear a mouth-mask and so did we in the special ”press-bubble”.

Upon entering the Ziggo Dome, a venue we’ve visited countless times I felt super excited about the fact that I was able to witness live-music again after almost 1 year of silence. Despite the fact that I was wearing a mouth-mask the doorman saw that I was smiling from ear-to-ear. The press-bubble was located on the 2nd floor of the Ziggo Dome which gave me a great overview of the venue and the stage. There was a collective vibe of excitement going on and once the very first DJ kicked off the event I knew there was gonna be an awesome atmosphere throughout the event. When Lady Bee took over and dropped the first few techno-flavored house beats I noticed that every single person in the audience was vibing to her sound.

Considering it was ‘only’ a 4-hour event the stage was honestly quite impressive with huge LED-screens, many moving-heads, lasers, fire, CO2, and pyro, it was a full-blown festival-experience and didn’t feel like a scientific experiment.

Photos by
Ferdy Damman Photography

I’ve got to mention the special opening track by Lucas & Steve who took a video-snippet of a press-conference and created a cool house-edit that got everybody jumping up and down. As you might know Lucas & Steve dropped their album last year and their set proved that they haven’t forgotten at all how to entertain a crowd. Sam Feldt made me drift away to a hot summer day and crave cocktails and nice BBQ. It wasn’t just sweet and summer tunes though, there were some certified club bangers in his set.

When Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano started their closing I suddenly realized how old-fashioned this experience had been. As they say: ‘time flies when you’re having fun!’ They premiered their brand-new track ‘Lie To Me’ and the crowd responded rather well to it. If you’ve experienced a set by Sunnery & Ryan before, especially a closing set, you know they just give their all, which is so infectious for any crowd.

When I walked out of the Ziggo Dome I asked some visitors: ‘Did you enjoy this experience?’ Their answer: ‘It was amazing but wayyy too short! Now we gotta go back to real-life, but it was awesome to not think about the C-word (Corona) for 4 hours. I truly hope that more of these events will happen soon!’ I can only hope the same to be honest, I’m grateful for the experience I’ve had at #BackToLive and hope to be back at the Ziggo Dome very soon!