Thursday, February 28, 2019

Payment Systems

During both events I attended last weekend in the Netherlands, I encountered something that I don't recall encountering before: Payment Systems aka Tokens. At both the OceanDiva event ship and at the A State of Trance 900 event, one could not spend cash to buy food and drinks; one had to first purchase tokens which could then be used to buy food and drinks.
Of course the tokens were non-refundable so you had to guestimate how many to purchase. A beer or soft drink cost 1 token, a mixed drink was 3 tokens. Since each token cost €3, prices were comparable to what you would pay at a festival in the United States.
The only time I had encountered something similar was at Pleasure Island in May, 2009 when they held a private DJ event inside club Motion. You had to pre-purchase tickets for the type of drink you wanted and then redeem the tickets with the bartenders. Bartenders didn't have to touch cash so it eliminates theft but from the perspective of the customer, it's not really user-friendly. Especially when the tokens or tickets are non-refundable.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

This Weekend In Techno Town

It's a Breaks weekend in Orlando and it begins at Peek Downtown with an Old Skool vs Nu School event featuring DJ Losman (USA). Should be a good one!  Breaks.
If you liked the recent Edge event at Ace Cafe, you'll love this event Saturday night at Bar B featuring many of the same DJ's such as Si-Dog (USA), Rob-E (USA) and D-Xtreme (USA)! And it's headlined by Deekline (GB) so it's going to be amazing!  Breaks.
If House is more to your liking, check out DJ Ciszak (BR) playing out on the patio at Elixir Bar. House / Tech House.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Trip Report: London, England

On Monday I took a "daytrip" from Amsterdam over to London and back. Easyjet had somewhat lower fares to London-Gatwick and London-Stansted but both airports are far out of town and the train fares are expensive. By flying into London-Heathrow, I was able to travel into central London via the Underground/Tube. So I flew British Airways.
On approach at Heathrow, flying over Windsor Castle.
There are three separate Underground stations for Terminal 5, Terminal 4 and Terminals 1,2,3.
The Terminal 5 station is right in the basement of the airport and offers Piccadilly Line services directly into the heart of London.
And when I came up out of the ground at Piccadilly Circus, it was a wow moment!
Nearby Regent Street heading north towards Oxford Circus.
Of course had to visit Hamley's Toys!
Lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe!
A visit to the main branch of Topshop/Topman.
Stopping at the Marble Arch.
Soon it was time to return to Amsterdam. You can fly nonstop from Orlando International Airport to London on British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Thomas Cook Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle or from Orlando Sanford International Airport on TUI Airways. All services are to Gatwick though so if you want to land at Heathrow you'd have to connect somewhere else first.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Trip Report: Haarlem, Netherlands

Sunday was a hotel transfer day for me, switching from my official A State of Trance hotel over to a different hotel adjacent Schiphol Airport. So with a few hours to kill, I elected a day trip via train over to the city of Haarlem.

It's only a 20-minute train ride from Amsterdam.

Like Amsterdam, it is full of canals.

Famous for its Grote Kerk or "Great Church".

It dominates the central square.

A beautiful February day around 55F°.

 When you're in the Netherlands or Belgium, a cone of fresh Frites are mandatory!

Soon it was time to return back to Schiphol!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Concert Report: A State Of Trance 900

Well the entire reason for coming to Utrecht in the Netherlands was to take part in episode 900 of Armin van Buuren's weekly radio show, A State of Trance.

Part of the main stage lineup would include Above & Beyond (GB), Ben Gold & Omnia together as Future Code (GB) and Cosmic Gate (D). 
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More greatness such as Marlo (AUS), Vini Vici (USA) and of course AvB himself!
There was a special 9PM show just for VIP guests.
And then it all began!
Two nights in a row seeing Armin van Buuren (NL).
He would perform a 1-hour "warm-up" set just for us!

 He was pretending to be playing the set entirely off vinyl.

DJ Estiva (NL) would begin the actual show for everyone at 10PM.

First time seeing him live!

 This is the main ballroom at Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. Originally in the second row, I made the mistake of going to get some food and another drink and there was no returning!

A State of Trance had studios right in the arena.

With Armin himself broadcasting live around the world!

But unable to get a good spot again and having seen Armin not only earlier last night but also Friday night at his surprise party, I caved early. Instead of waiting for my 5AM bus back to the hotel, I took a train back to Amsterdam!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Concert Report: ASOT Pre-Party (Amsterdam)

All they told me is that I was invited to the A State of Trance pre-party that would be taking place on a boat somewhere in Amsterdam.
And then at the designated time a bus took me from my hotel to the party ship Ocean Diva docked somewhere in Amsterdam Noord.
The ship was set-up dance club style with a DJ booth and dance floor on the lowest deck.
Went downstairs and found DJ Ruben de Ronde (NL) already blasting out Vocal Trance!
First time seeing Ruben since Echostage in Washington DC back in 2016 here.
999 friends and myself from the official ASOT hotel were surprised with this quality pre-party lineup which was not advertised in advance!
We had no idea what was to come!
After a one hour set, DJ duo Super8 & Tab (FIN) would take over!
First time ever seeing them perform.
They were lively and engaging with the crowd.
The private party was jammed!
And everyone invited was excited to be here!
And then at 12:30AM, everyone had their cameras out!
And our ASOT headliner came in!
Armin van Buuren (NL).
Everyone went crazy!
And he would play a set of old Classics as well as newer songs.
Packed to the rafters!
You can never have too much Armin!
The fun continues tonight with the actual Episode 900 celebration of his weekly radio show A State of Trance which in the United States is heard on Sirius/XM.
The event takes place at the Jaarbeurs Arena in Utrecht, about one half hour from Amsterdam.
The Blog will be there!
After 90 minutes, it was over and he departed as quickly as he had arrived!
Taking over the controls, DJ Mark Sixma (NL).
He would play a set of popular hits from the past. But as 3AM approached, I had had enough and I still had the bus ride back to my hotel to contemplate.
A good time was had by all!