A HIGH SCHOOL PARTY IN 1992 EVOLVED INTO THE WORLD'S MOST NOTORIOUS DANCE PARTY
20 YEARS LATER IT DISAPPEARED Ending it was the right thing.
Until I sat there crouched, behind those turntables and I heard that voice say it.
That was an intense moment for me.
It really hit me hard when I realised that this was actually the last Thunderdome.
My world collapsed. I was like: "What the fuck?"
Thunderdome was the beginning of everything for me.
Thunderdome's at the core of the global dance scene.
We were there for 20 years and then we thought: okay, we're done.
It is completely sold out. Why are you pulling the plug?
We devoted 20 years to hardcore music and the music industry in the Netherlands.
We made the decision to pull the plug now Thunderdome is still on top.
The people with the tattoos, the people that bought the CD's they're older now, starting families.
But the feeling will forever live on in the hearts of the people.
Thunderdome came and excelled.
It was like a bubble that exploded in the world.
After 20 years ID&T ended Thunderdome.
But no one knew that The Wizard would get the loudest voice.
My name is Sietse and this is the story of Thunderdome.
I want to thank you all.
Five years after the final party in the RAI you're still going for it. I lobbied for five years with SFX, with my colleagues at ID&T.
And I thought, fuck it.
Thunderdome has to come back. Thunderdome is for you all.
Here we go.
AFTER FIVE YEARS OF SILENCE THUNDERDOME MAKES A COMEBACK
They all made a lot of money, but I never thought of it.
And then I read that they paid 100 million for ID&T and that they were all rich and I started thinking.
Like fuck, why didn't I cash in on that?
Why didn't I think of that? But I just didn't.
I was busy partying.
I did this club with my father.
The Terror Corps in Rotterdam.
Chuckie is a friend of mine.
I did the parties and my dad took care of everything else.
He was the responsible partner. Just like me he wasn't good at school. I even went to special education.
They sent me to a special school and now I'm here.
Officially I'm a metal worker.
And now I organise the best hardcore parties with a great team.
He was my inspiration, my mentor and someone who was always willing to invest to make it even better.
And that's how I got in touch with ID&T.
I remember that I, sometimes whole days or a whole Sunday morning could just listen to music and nothing else. Just lying on my bed.
Just listening to music and nothing else.
A joint, a beer and Ajax. It was a part of our lives.
I was 16, 17. I was with F-Side for four years.
And then one night I was in the bus, going home after a workday and I saw Duncan in the bus. I hadn't seen him for a few years.
And someone talked about illegal house parties behind the station.
Of course we thought it was amazing and we went there.
And that's when it started.
In the eighties it came to the Netherlands and soon there were illegal parties.
Older friends took me took a party. The infamous Multigroove.
I let myself go completely.
When you walked up, you could hear the windows vibrate, it was like a movie.
Unexpected locations, unexpected music, unexpected people.
We liked it even more when others told us they didn't like the music.
They just didn't get it and we thought it was amazing.
Us against the world.
I worked hard and made my own money.
And then you also want some fun.
Together with your friends, just to unwind.
All I thought when I saw those guys walking around and playing music and saw them carrying booze, the only thing I thought, was:
I want the same. That's all I thought.
Then we met Theo, he owned records and he knew how to play them.
He was the only one in our hometown who could.
And he'd already given a party before.
Let's do that again.
There was no party at New Years Eve, so we decided to do it ourselves.
It was a New Years Eve party and it was a huge success.
And, without knowing, we kinda started our business there.
In an unprofessional way, with the New Years Eve party.
Everyone from the village came and we drank all the profits ourselves.
-But that wasn't important. -We just threw a party.
We loved organising it, so the next step was getting a bigger venue.
We suddenly became hardcore. It started with house.
And house suddenly got subdivisions.
There was club, trance and hardcore.
-That was how I remember it. -So we went for it.
One of the first DJ's who was known for hardcore, was Dano.
Because he was on TV, he became like a god.
He became the face of this underground sound.
At one point, I did use the hardest mix of the record.
And as a producer, I liked to see how far I could go.
I worked together with an engineer.
And my mic went to red and he totally panicked.
"It should always be green."
In a few months this will already be too slow.
You can't dance to it.
Yes, you can. They stand on their heels.
They're like flamingo's.
I also don't understand you can do it all night.
But I'm sure that's because of the coke and speed, the drugs.
This hard sound got into the smaller clubs.
But everyone knew it wouldn't take long to become bigger.
That scene was constantly growing.
After the New Years Eve party, we just wanted more.
Soon we learned that it was impossible to give a party in a small sports centre.
So we called the Jaarbeurs and the RAI.
All the sport centres had turned us down, maar the Jaarbeurs and RAI were in.
Sometimes you just need some luck. We were just lucky.
When we could choose, we chose the Jaarbeurs.
Because the whole house scene was taken over by the soccer audience.
That was something we considered.
In Amsterdam there'd be trouble with people from Rotterdam and Den Haag.
And if they don't come, we won't make enough money.
Utrecht is neutral, the Switzerland of the Netherlands.
And you could reach it by train at night.
So we went for the Jaarbeurs.
Duncan also wanted to give a party like that.
But he wanted it bigger and he came with the Jaarbeurs.
He called it the Final Exam and sold it as a graduation party.
PRESALE We stole a database with all the high schools in the Netherlands to organise this big graduation party.
We have 7500.
That letter was full of mistakes. So teachers crossed out all the mistakes.
"You can't even write a decent letter, let alone take care of our children.
We have a responsibility."
After work we'd get in the car with buckets full of glue
-and we just put it up everywhere. -Hand out flyers at parties.
We covered a whole city and when we were done, we went to the next city.
You had to use mouth-to-mouth, because there was no internet.
The promotion reached the provinces as well.
All my friends in the north were talking about it.
We did make sure everyone knew about it, that's what we wanted.
Everyone wants to be part of that brand and I do believe in that.
There's no one around who can offer the same as I can offer.
We just did Tomorrowland, we're doing Mysteryland and on 28 October we'll go full out.
And we'll make sure that the Jaarbeurs is the best party.
Duncan immediately started yelling.
We were at school and he approached one person.
He talked to him or her and gave them a ticket.
The context is the future of hardcore.
It's crucial we take the context of the future and we use the past in that concept.
It's 25 years of hardcore, you can't cover only five years.
I understand, but I don't think Dano is a good fit.
Please also use young, new talent that nobody knows yet.
So you can show them that the Thunderdome platform is much more than the men that started it.
Show in the main. We'll start with the opening, for about three minutes.
We get requests from Moscow for Thunderdome.
Requests from Italy, Spain. People in Japan are interested.
But should you do it all?
Duncan is no longer the owner.
The Americans took over.
They just want results.
But we just want to organise good things.
That's what it's all about in the end.
This was the shop, Mary Go Wild, the take-over of Thunderdome.
This was the first moment, after 2012.
Everybody said the brand was dead, that we should leave it behind.
But the scene embraced it again.
In the beginning there were 3000 visitors.
We already thought it was very big.
But the amount of visitors in the Jaarbeurs, was something new.
We'd signed the lease, it was done. And then I got a fax from the Jaarbeurs.
Probably not good news. They wanted us to get insured for five million guilders for every event and an excess of 100.000 guilders.
We didn't have an LLC, we were 20, 21 years old.
We paid the rent and we had everything planned, but they just wanted to stop us.
They wanted to do something to make it impossible for us to continue.
Duncan knew Dick Schoenaker because he'd insured his courier business.
So we called him for the insurance.
He told us it couldn't be done, but we simply insisted.
We'd already spent all our money on the lease, artists, lights, and so forth.
So we called the Jaarbeurs two days later.
"We've got the insurance, can we go ahead now?"
"That's not possible." "Yes, turn on your fax machine."
So we sent it to them and it was done.
We hoped for 6000, 7000 people, but it was double that.
And it was a mess.
We had security, they were from the trailer park, they forced their way in.
For ten guilders, you could go outside. But we also had our own guys to make sure they wouldn't steal all the money.
After 30 minutes, the booze was gone and we had so many lights.
But no one saw, because it was still light out.
That first party was so hectic and when you get into that world with artists and their ego, the RAI and Jaarbeurs with suits and rules, it was one big lesson for us.
We went back on Saturday morning at eight o'clock.
The party ended at seven and we cleaned everything.
We took five brooms and cleaned the entire Jaarbeurs.
Even though we'd been awake for 24 hours.
We wanted to save money, it was expensive. It was like 5000, 6000 guilders.
And that's when Theo left. He was tired, we all were.
-There were five or six of us. -The guys that had been drinking
-were exhausted the next day. -He left that morning.
We told him that he couldn't come back if he left.
And he indeed never came back.
The Wizard was first drawn after an example in a book.
The original is somewhere on a wall in Paris.
A lot is just sampling, that's how it was in those days.
I had some connection with that wizard.
It was on a wall in Paris and that picture was like ten years old.
We never considered rights or anything else.
We never expected it to be this big worldwide.
We wanted to make people connect with something other than the music.
We wanted to create a different world for them.
In the graphic world it's a weird icon to have.
KLM has its crown, Nike the swoosh, ID&T The Wizard.
It was typical for that period.
It was a period when everything was possible.
RACISM, JUST STUPID So when the Final Exam was a success, Irfan and Duncan kept going.
We met some guys from Leeuwarden with a permit for Thialf.
We had the final exam and ID&T, Irfan, Duncan, Theo.
Theo was gone, so that name actually didn't make sense.
So we literally got out the dictionary and started looking for words for a big venue and loud music. And that's how we got Thunderdome.
Dome for the big venue and thunder for the loud music.
Thunderdome, that's what it'll be.
We did know we had to fill the room.
It was an enormous venue, it could hold 30.000 people.
We even lived there, we slept in the house of an old couple.
Every day we had the same mission and took it even further.
We went to every village in Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe.
We really went to every village.
Thunderdome is very unique.
It has a different vibe, it's different from everything else.
We're not father and son there just best friends who are having a great time.
If you just go out, you drink and dance a bit. But everyone goes full out there.
Everyone has fun together, it doesn't matter who you are.
My history with Thunderdome started in '92, with the first one.
We walked in and it was Thunderdome I.
Within five minutes I was hooked.
I came home and went upstairs to wake up my brother.
I wanted him to come the next time.
And we kept going, with a large group.
I hope to be able to keep going as long as it exists.
And now I'm bringing my sons.
There was nothing without Thunderdome.
At the first Thunderdome, I felt like I was passing out.
I started to wave, that's how they called it.
The stadium was close to Leeuwarden, where I lived.
I believed these guys had a dream.
And the crowd and I were part of it.
And there was a squid, with those arms, like on a carnival.
I thought it was ridiculous, but it turned out to be a success.
It was the first time we were all together at a large event like this.
-Did they organise it well? -Yeah, there aren't many problems.
There's a lot of room and we've got forklifts, platforms and a lot of help.
So it's going fine.
One of the sound technicians had been a roadie for Metallica.
He was looking around and wondered what we were doing.
In the rock industry you give an event, which costs you a lot of money.
But you make money by selling CD's and T-shirts.
"Didn't you sign those artists?" "No, they're just friends."
"Put them in the studio and make a CD." "Good idea, let's do that."
That's how we made the first album with Dano, Gizmo, Buzz Fuzz and The Prophet.
Twelve tracks, designed a cover and we wanted to sell it.
It was like a catapult and we'd just see how it went.
-We worked all night. -And became stars.
-We were treated like stars. -Own merchandise, stickers, labels.
It went so fast, we barely realised.
In one year we went to Leeuwarden, Den Haag, Heerenveen and Groningen.
We wanted to stand out, in every way possible.
There were more parties, more tickets and therefore more marketing.
And that's the machine.
I collected the money myself, 50.000 guilders.
-Luckily I was never robbed. -When you're young it's just what you want.
I collected that money for years, maybe even ten years.
We always collected cash money.
Thunderdome became so popular, that even cops who caught us asked us what we were doing and if they heard it was for Thunderdome they wanted a ticket and let us go.
-What are you expecting? -Excitement.
It will be so intense.
We don't mind, it's fine.
We try to do our best to keep it decent.
We played the music we wanted, because the audience didn't know anything yet.
So they just accepted the music we played.
A lot of people liked it, people between 16 to 20 years old who wanted something else besides the normal clubs.
And that unity was amazing.
And that was what made that brand a metaphor for togetherness, unison especially for men.
Buddies for life.
ASSEMBLY OF THUNDERDOME This is the main stage, with the DJ's that are huge right now.
Here the Heroes of Hardcore.
The Heroes of Hardcore are pretty much the people who were huge during the millennium.
There's the Industrial Sound. I believe it's a pretty nice lounge.
Here are the Thunder Gods. This is a black lounge, 50 meters long.
There we have the terror heroes and there the music style that's hot right now.
That's the upbeat music. And we have a huge chill-out.
We have 80 people working here.
We have five containers filled with clothes.
This is amazing. The Final Exam was the first party in the Jaarbeurs.
Back then, The Wizard was pink. And on three October after that they had the next party by ID&T, which was actually called Thunder Dome.
The Wizard was fluorescent green.
Especially because of that I designed a shirt with fluorescent green.
And this is how it turned out.
It's a part of my life. In '92 I was standing right here and now, 25 years later, I'm back.
And I just think: Fuck, we had 15.000 people back then.
Now there's 40.000 visitors. Back then it was one lounge.
Start from the beginning.
I'm not sure if we still need to edit the voice.
In the studio it's great, you can hear the effects and make it really nice.
But at the venue it will be messy, that's my experience.
Just think about it.
So the opening is at half past 12.
We start with the moment in 2012, when everything ended.
We start with the sound of a flatline.
Excruciatingly long and then it comes to life.
Find out when it becomes too irritating.
Do you want to stop it now or...
Beep, beep, getting faster and then it stops.
An explosion and then "Thunderdome is back" or something like that and then the music starts.
And fireworks and everything.
In '93, the CD's with the Dreamteam became legendary.
But others wanted to capitalize on that success.
The hardest you'll ever hear.
More than 70 minutes hardcore.
Eighteen tracks from hell.
Arcade wanted our name.
It was a commercial company that produced albums.
They had a meeting every week to decide what they would do.
And they wanted to do our party, so they wanted to produce Thunderdome.
Mental Theo, Theo Nabuurs, worked for Arcade.
He was A&R manager and needed something new.
But Buzz Fuzz was also mixing a house party CD in Arcade's building.
I just happened to be there in that massive building.
They had a meeting and I heard them. "So, we agree?
It's going to be Thunderdome?"
I heard them say it, and suddenly I didn't need to pee anymore.
I ran outside to find a phone booth, like it was back then.
I called Irfan immediately. "Irfan, lock down the name Thunderdome.
Now." "But that'll cost 2500 guilders."
"Lock it down before the weekend." "How?"
"I don't know, do it."
"What? You're kidding."
I put all wheels in motion to protect our brand, called our lawyer.
And then we could tell them it was our name.
He entered the room and sat down.
He reeked of booze. "We discussed it.
We can get you 25 cents per CD if you give away your rights.
Because you have the rights, but I mean, we're Arcade.
We'll sell 100.000 CD's, you'll get 25 cents.
So that's 25 grand per CD, just in the Netherlands.
And all you have to do, is give us the rights."
We were like "what the fuck?" We shook his hand and left.
We immediately called our lawyer, because we wanted to teach them a lesson.
The loudest for a small price.
Arcade was working on Thunderdome III, and before Christmas they wanted to launch Thunderdome IV. But through friends we came in contact with a German distributor who knew us.
And he hated Arcade with all its might.
He made a Thunderdome CD and it works differently in Germany.
If two brands look a like, one of the parties goes to a judge and the judge stops production until it's clear who has the rights.
After that you can continue. So Arcade couldn't produce the album.
It wasn't even an hour later and the phone rang.
That's all I heard.
"Are you fucking out of your mind?"
He just went completely mad, shouting and cursing.
It was André de Raaf, director of Arcade.
Eventually we made a deal we could fill up half of the CD.
So we got half of the profits and could promote parties.
That's when Thunderdome exploded, the parties as well as the CD's.
You had to be at this party.
It was not just for the people who were young back then but also for the many who would follow.
Fucking adrenalin, man. I can feel it everywhere in my body.
This will be the best night ever.
To the max together.
Peter, can you hear me?
Are your ready?
Guys, show number eight will start in three, two, one.
You're the hardest in the whole world.
I was working at the Jaarbeurs.
And at the same time my dad fell ill.
So on the one hand I had the fame and everyone loved me.
But I was also really sad.
Saying goodbye seemed like the hardest thing to do.
You were the father of the hardcore generation in the nineties.
Thank you for everything.
We picked it together, "First Rebirth".
By Jones & Stephenson.
I don't know. I held his hand and felt his heartbeat.
And he just slipped away.
I love you.
It's just so bizarre.
But it was his own choice.
Otherwise he might have died eight weeks later with a tube down his throat and not knowing what happened. This was his choice.
Toil and sweat, dance until you literally can't move anymore.
This weekend the biggest house party ever took place on the Maasvlakte.
Thousands of youngsters went crazy for three days on the beat of house music.
Possibly with the help of XTC.
Brian Bout and Sander Groet approached us because the first Mysteryland failed.
I was still in school at that time.
I still had to do my exams.
But my live revolved around partying. So to me it was amazing that I got in contact with them and they wanted to work together.
That's when we did the Maasvlakte. And that was a tough one.
It was the first time we did an event that failed.
We missed so much or took it for granted or just accepted it, because we were just ahead of times with our vision.
The festival was three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
We had a camping, but there was absolutely nothing.
We had to build a water line, showers. We built a village from scratch.
It cost us a lot of money.
We went totally broke there.
We had a loss of 800.000 guilders.
There were not enough visitors, we'd spent too much money.
It went wrong and we had to decide how to deal with that.
I was just so driven to organise something, to make something great and I didn't think about the risks or the money.
It caused a lot of tension and stress in the company.
There were also outside forces and it led to so much friction that Duncan and I split up.
It was a big moment for me to say that we both wanted something different.
And then we went our separate ways.
I've known Irfan my whole life, since I was six years old.
I still went to the parties, they were my friends.
Professionally it was an intense break-up, but I never took it personally.
It became clear that Duncan didn't want to go on with Irfan.
And I didn't want to work with Brian anymore.
They just had another mindset.
And then Sander became my partner.
I was a part of ID&T, I had no salary, I just worked there every day.
I just wanted to stay put until I'd paid back my debts.
I wanted to organise parties and unite people ideally at places where it have never happened before.
But we kept selling CD's, 50.000 in the Netherlands, we were number one.
-We sold about 4,5 million CD's. -And that's what saved us.
We could pay a part of the money we owed, because of the CD's.
We could ask suppliers to give us some more time.
But we did pay it all back.
From this moment on, it went really fast.
You could see Thunderdome everywhere.
The money kept coming in.
Collection boxes, drinks, school diaries.
Suddenly everybody saw Thunderdome. And the CD-booklets were mental.
Twenty-eight pages with T-shirts and caps. And it sold like crazy.
We had ten girls answering the phone the day after the release.
You made like 20 to 30.000 guilders per track.
I was at the ATM and said: "Do you see what I see?"
I had 250.000 guilders in my account.
-I bought a car. -We thought it was normal.
We made 20, 30, 100.000 guilders every three to six months.
It was amazing.
When Irfan left, Thunderdome went to the clubs.
This was my moment as MC, The Mouth of Madness.
Okay, dear viewers, a hardcore welcome at the ID&T Report.
It was the best viewed show for months.
-Hardcore. -I'm in the house.
-People loved seeing themselves. -We went all over Europe.
This is MC Drokz. We were like cowboys in the nineties.
-Everyone did what he wanted. -It was not that serious.
Do you want to marry me?
We just had fun.
It went from illegal raves into the youth culture.
It was my family and I was proud of it.
Thunderdome is hard to describe, it's not a zombie.
It's bold, it's a nightmare, but never blood and terror.
The first CD's are like the flyers.
They're pictures of fantasy artists from the seventies.
Then ID&T had to decide how to move forward.
Maybe Victor can do it.
I loved Chuckie and the clown.
-My dad came up with the names. -A mummy is fine.
A snake is perfect. Very clear, a head with the eyes in the middle.
Very primary and iconic.
They're all images that fit in the range and the problem is how to continue.
There is an end to it.
But I didn't realise that back then.
During the weekend I was the boring office guy and in the weekend it was party time.
PARTY PHOTOGRAPHER I was the only one who took photos, because no one brought a camera along.
Nobody else did it.
First I got requests for photos from events that had already happened.
And then they asked me to go to parties for them.
I thought it was amazing.
Those photos were amazing for the magazine.
-He was the first party photographer. -The TV show every Friday.
And Saturday another party. I don't drink coffee so you need something else to stay awake. To stay focused and deliver quality.
I usually worked on it every night at home.
Then I'd just finish before the weekend and it started all over again.
I wanted to do it, so I just went and did my thing.
We had plenty of stories. The artists could tell everyone what they did.
Otherwise you'd only see him on the stage and he wasn't interviewed anywhere else.
So it was an important way to talk to our audience.
I have a letter from Freddy. Freddy is 22 years old and from Gelderop.
He likes hardcore and has a short, black crew cut.
And Freddy is a party virgin.
To me hardcore is a way to forget everything, recharge your battery and then you can listen to all the bullshit again. It's our culture.
We want to stamp. The Dutch just want to stamp.
The impact as a culture was enormous in the Netherlands.
You could recognize people who liked it.
How badly could you shock your mum? A bald head and that loud music.
All day long.
In the nineties, there was a time when one in three teenagers was a hardcore fan.
I think we went to every club possible. The Peppermill, Lloret de Mar, everywhere.
New York, Australia and in Switzerland.
We went to dinner three times a day. We had a great time.
We created a need and responded to a need.
For so many people, Thunderdome was their first big party.
But we were never proud of it and I just don't get it.
Don't mind the typos.
What I see in the market, with DJ's and fans is that most of them want a new event.
And people are interested in the permit for the Jaarbeurs.
That's maybe why we're here, maybe we'll do it.
I don't like to be the centre of attention.
-It's part of the job, man. -It's part of the fame.
I thought the event was amazing, one of the best I ever visited.
And I also experienced the old Thunderdome.
I think there's a certain vibe now, so it's good to do it this year.
We don't know what it's like in five years and people want it now.
It would be pretty special to do it again.
The pitfall is that it relies too much on the legacy.
I think it could also be cool not to go that big every year.
But make it very exclusive a few years, to keep the hype alive and then come back like last year once every two, three or five years.
And maybe even bigger than last year, maybe get 50.000 visitors this time.
-That doesn't sound so good. -Because of your accent from Rotterdam.
-You do have to change the content. -2020 would be a nice year to do it again.
-But we shouldn't waste time. -And we should go big.
-Keep going or quit. -Ninety percent.
-It's still alive. -Hold on a minute.
-You can make a statement. -Go big, intense, with all we've got.
But will it have the same impact as it did with 25 years?
Hardcore is not in the past, it is still growing.
It used to be a feeling of us against the world.
Now it has a positive family vibe and you really feel that.
You feel so amazing when you're playing there and when you're in the car you realise there's also a life that's not as amazing as that feeling as a DJ.
It's just incredible.
Hardcore is no longer stigmatized.
The derivative of velocity is the derivative of the derivative function.
If I could play at Thunderdome, it'd be one of the biggest signs of appreciation.
At the end of the nineties, Thunderdome lost its hold.
Cracks started to show in the family I'd chosen.
Especially when the masses started interfering.
Hardcore fans are aggressive, racist, wear priceless tracksuits use drugs and should be avoided.
They say they're not aggressive and don't want to be perceived like that.
We're being judged on our appearance, but that's no more than appearances.
We were blinded by the size and the commercialism.
It was massive, we're talking about hundreds of thousands of teenagers.
I think we did everything we could do.
We embraced everything that was thrown at us and seemed interesting.
This was the era in which ID&T became a real company.
People worked there, we had those dolls and the covers.
We became a record label.
We didn't think about whether decisions could affect other things.
It removed itself more and more from what it was about, giving a good party.
At the end of the nineties there was an overkill.
Liking hardcore suddenly became a hype, a trend.
Suddenly everyone liked to jump around on hardcore, but we didn't anymore.
-You hated it. -You were completely against it.
-I hate happy hardcore. -All the tracks our parents listened to were adjusted, put a beat under it and you've got happy hardcore.
-We did hardcore for kids. -The parents brought their kids but we shouldn't have done that.
People say house is drugs, but it has nothing to do with each other.
It's just one-sided.
A very large group is destroyed because of this.
Go to the clubs, most of the hardcore fans don't do drugs.
The bald heads an tracksuits looked aggressive, but we were all friends.
Twenty thousand people and nothing really happened.
But that suddenly changed.
It just became grim and suddenly we saw the army boots.
And suddenly fights broke out.
In Leeuwarden we protected ourselves with steal pipes.
And I struggled with it. It was a difficult time for me.
It just became trouble and that's not how that music scene started.
We just wanted unison and wanted everyone to have fun and that stopped.
Everyone wanted me to take a picture.
And suddenly they all put their hands up.
It had nothing to do with the party.
It made it extremely difficult for me, because they all started doing that.
It was too bad and not fair to the normal hardcore fans.
But luckily Gabber Piet solved it for us.
Gabber Piet became famous and turned it into a joke.
This was the end of the scene.
You couldn't wear your tracksuit and bald head with pride anymore.
Thunderdome slowly died.
The brotherhood, the "us" feeling was gone.
Because the hardcore scene died, I just quit.
I was done with it and a lot had happened between us.
-I was the traitor because I stopped. -Hardcore is in here.
For me it meant I wasn't part of the Dreamteam anymore.
It had nothing to do with the Dreamteam itself.
Thunder Magazine ended, I'd given up one of my jobs.
And my wife left me in that period.
But you didn't want that. And I did.
You wanted to continue as Dreamteam and I didn't let that happen.
For me that period is a bit blurry.
I don't think I was really present.
At one point it just became more and more and more.
As long as you didn't have to go home or sleep and had a distraction.
You weren't there or too late. And when you were there, you hid under your desk totally high.
Work all night, take a shower and keep going.
I was done and wanted something else.
We all did other things and it was the right thing.
But then it changed and it wasn't right anymore.
Then I had a burn out and a depression and ended up in counselling groups.
I had a distorted idea about everything.
I couldn't do it anymore.
We seemed beaten.
This couldn't be the end.
2018, ROESELARE, BELGIUM Thunderdome is my passion.
It comforts me during hard times.
It has a piece of my heart.
It was like an addiction, a fun way to escape reality.
Much better than your usual addictions.
It's not just an idea or a CD.
It's a feeling. If you've been at a party, you know what it's about.
I haven't felt like that at many parties.
It's a special feeling and experience.
SAYING GOODBYE IS HARD TO DO YOU NEVER LEARN HOW AND NEVER GET IT Hardcore means everything to me.
I didn't belong anywhere, until I was 17, 18 years old.
I was smart, had glasses and braces.
I had good and bad friends, trying to find a place where I belonged.
I was bullied a lot.
The day I became a real hardcore fan and started going to parties, I didn't care about the rest anymore.
I did my own thing. All I needed was the atmosphere, the people and the music.
Even when I was homeless, music kept me going.
It makes me happy, makes me forget things I wish weren't there.
Thunderdome is what motivates me.
The unison is bigger at Thunderdome than at every other concert in the world.
Hardcore slowly died and at the moment that happened I came back and had my own company.
I managed Thunderdome.
A new generation of DJ's emerged who had learned from their predecessors.
DJ Promo, Anarchist, Catscan, Nosferatu and Demian.
All artists who took over and had a mission.
Buzz Fuzz and Ruffneck were my examples.
But only at the moment when you happen to find a new kind of sound which has a huge impact, you become the one to watch.
I went to a slow beat, dark, industrial.
Heavy kicks, slow, ponderous.
And like a tsunami my records were played all over the world.
With this new generation, the organisation changed as well.
Irfan started working with Gerard.
After the slump in the nineties, we had to re-invent ourselves.
We had to give a vibe of newness, we had to be innovative.
We had a lot of competition and this is what hardcore fans wanted.
Louder, progressive, industrial. It was right for Thunderdome and for us.
-Musically speaking it was so interesting. -Where did all those people come from?
Thunderdome is the younger generation rebelling against an older generation.
Thunderdome was underground, rebellious, against society.
And Gerard knew how to bring Thunderdome into the current rebellious era.
We wanted to show the bluntness of people in relation to Thunderdome where it was all about the party. And we probably went too far.
We released the trailer around four p.m.
-That night it was on the news. -I was immediately called by the city.
Of course I understood what they meant.
It was pretty intense.
We sold out five weeks before the event, which was pretty special since hardcore wasn't that well-known anymore.
In 2007, the whole scene came together again.
Early industrial, mainstream. It was a real gathering again.
I want to ask everyone in the room to place your hand on your neighbour's shoulder, if you know him or not.
Don't be the tough guy now, just let it go.
Not for me, but for 3 Steps Ahead.
3 Steps Ahead has great music, but also makes it a real brotherhood.
His shirt with Ajax and Feyenoord was really special.
With that flashback it just made it a real brotherhood again.
It's like an extension of your own image.
So you make sure that the people who bought a ticket go home with that feeling.
It may not have been that crowded, but the party was amazing.
Then you score points and can build your brand.
It kept on going, with different influences.
There were a lot of people who took it seriously, not just with Thunderdome.
You had Masters of Hardcore, Pandemonium.
You have Q-Dance with some hardcore, Dominator started.
In my opinion, Masters deserved a lot of respect because they kept on going in that market.
And Thunderdome had become a part of a big portfolio at ID&T.
People didn't work on it full time.
Things did happen, but no one worked on it every day, all day.
With all due respect, but I think that's when it went wrong.
It was no longer a priority, everyone knew ID&T would be sold to FSX.
Thunderdome was like the odd one out.
I recently went through a lot.
There would be a party, then it wouldn't happen.
Every year I want to tour to some festivals.
And I always kept fighting to keep it alive for those people.
At the big parties you can prove yourself as an artist.
It was the biggest night party ever in the Jaarbeurs.
And we looked at it with fresh eyes and now we have a new framework to see how we can make it even better.
Thunderdome had a huge influence on the popularization of hardcore.
That's why Thunderdome has a piece of my heart.
But we do need time to organise something that can really make a lasting impression.
I watched the continuation of Thunderdome from a distance.
It never came back to the old level.
Nights without directions were a failure.
And the audience had already chosen.
And since ID&T had been sold to America, Thunderdome stopped.
After 20 years of Thunderdome we said:
-This is the end. -Let's go out with a bang.
Because we were ruining the legacy.
And we partied with that in mind. And it was just epic.
It defined my entire life.
Disappointments, sadness. People dying, getting ill.
Fights, robberies, being pressured.
I was betrayed, people who were close to me stole tens of thousands of guilders.
I wouldn't be here without Thunderdome.
I learned to think big, we had so much energy.
Without Thunderdome, we wouldn't have had such an impact on those big parties.
The Netherlands was miles ahead. And we definitely had to pay our dues.
You don't go to Thunderdome to score a chick.
It's about what happens on the dance floor, people in unison.
It's a raw, pure energy without any bullshit.
That makes Thunderdome special.
-A motherfucking huge Thunderdome. -Francois has all those people around him.
And that's the flipside.
He is the one who already has it, he's always had it.
Even before he worked for ID&T.
He's much more the man of Thunderdome than Duncan and me together.
He kept the flame burning.
Is the future unsure for Thunderdome?
If you ask me it isn't, because it's all up to you.
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