An In-Depth Chat with Bernd Breiter of Big City Beats WORLD CLUB DOME
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If you Google WORLD CLUB DOME, you'll see the words "Big City Beats WORLD CLUB DOME is the biggest club in the world". Bold claim, right? But if you read our in-depth chat with Big City Beats WORLD CLUB DOME, CEO, Bernd Breiter, you'll see exactly how they are just that - the biggest club in the world.
What is your name and what is the name of your festival?
My name is Bernd Breiter, I'm CEO of Big City Beats, and the name of the biggest club in the world is called Big City Beats, World Club Dome.
Stijn De Grauwe
When did the festival start and what inspired it?
I mean, I had this idea around eight years ago, because we were doing a lot of festivals. But I mean, if you understand that the weather in Germany is not so nice as maybe in Spain, so we had a lot of rain.
So my idea was to create something, which is not somewhere in a field, which is not a normal Festival at a lake or so on. I wanted to use this urbanic feeling from the city, I wanted to use hotel rooms instead of only tents, and this weatherproof situation so and I traveled seven years long and saw the stadium of Frankfurt and always thought to myself, there will be a time where I want to create the biggest club of the world out of this stadium.
Then the idea came when we had this situation, that cocoon club closed and we were really magical and Big City Beats went to the club, it was magic. And when it was closed, it was like, okay, what can we do now? And I said, okay, seven years, I was waiting, I want to do it now, and then it was the start of the Big City Beats World Club Dome.
When and where does it happen?
Every year. The flagship event is every year, the first weekend of June, and it's in the now called Deutsche Bank Park, which is the world-famous soccer stadium of the world-famous soccer team of Eintracht, Frankfurt.
Tell us about the site and how it influences the festival?
So, I mean, the biggest difference, if you compare it to other events is that we are really in the city. But the area that we use is 750,000 square meters big and it has not only the stadium, but it also has four big soccer fields outside which we use as normal open-air areas, we also have a forest inside this whole area. And I mean, one of the main biggest advantages is the pool area. So this means that we can use the whole pool area of the stadium
We turn it from a normal pool area into a Nebojsa area, where Solomon, Paul Kalkbrenner, Sven Vath, everybody was performing there. It's such a big area that we have over 22 stages, which is the main area is in the stadium, which we call the club. But if it's 50,000 people, and outside, we have another space for another huge amount of people and we build there now, a lot of big super stages out there. But at the same time, we build some small stages so you don't have to miss the club feeling, so that you can walk into small clubs, or in really big outside areas, or you can jump into the pool and dance to the vibes of Solomun or Sven Vath.
Then you can go into the forest and in the forest, we build tents, and in these tents, we have air conditioners built-in. So this means during summertime, and it's really hot. You go even if it's lunchtime, yeah, so you go into a dark tent, which is temperate, yeah, means you have the feeling to go in the club. But if you go outside, you only walk two minutes, and then you can jump into the pool into the sun, and then you can walk only five minutes, and you stay in front of the big Sunday stage where we present all kinds of Hardstyle areas, you know - this is like the magical feeling.
This is on the huge area where we have the connection with public transportation where we have the connection to the hotels and everything, so this real open-air feeling, a club feeling. We are rainproof because we can fill all the people into the stadium, we have the biggest convertible roof in the world which means within 10 minutes, you can close the roof.
Then I mean, we had a situation two years ago, when there was a big thunderstorm coming over and we had to locate them into a minefield and we had a big party in there. Yeah. So these are all the advantages I see with World Club Dome.
This is some basic stuff, this is the flagship in Frankfurt, but we have another World Club Dome in Seoul, Korea established, and we have a World Club Dome in Malta. Now we have different other locations in the world where we do bigger or not so big World Club Domes, but we always provide the vibe of a World Club Dome. The World Club Dome is not only like the biggest club in the world full of 80,000 people - a World Club Dome can be on top of a mountain where there's only 120 people, but it's really unique. Or it can be a club with only one person. Now there is the ISS, on the highest of the International Space Station, and we built a club on the ISS with a DJ as an astronaut, or an astronaut as a DJ. So I mean, the idea of the World Club Dome is to combine or to merge the world of club music under one dome.
Stijn De Grauwe
What kind of musical artists play at your festival?
Everybody from the club music scene! We started years ago to implement the other part of club music, not only electronic club music, but Hip Hop, R&B, and so on. So we had during the last year's, Jason Derulo, Black Eyed Peas - these kind of bands. We have had German super rap stars like Capital Bra, Sido, and so on. So, I mean, as I told you in the question before, the World Club Dome is the merging or a merger of all kinds of club music.
So club music for me is not only electronic dance music, it is as well Hip Hop, R&B, and so on - music you can dance on. So, this was my passion - what I really wanted to integrate was to build all kinds of club music styles. So of course, I mean, if you're, if you're only mentioned some names now for the techno area, you can call everybody, everybody played there, you know. From the main stage, it's David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Dmitry From Vegas, Like Mike, it's Martin Garrix, it's everybody from this stuff. So if you walk over the area, of a World Club Dome, you will always see the best artists from each genre in the whole world of club music.
Who was the first act you ever booked?
Oh, the first act I ever booked? I guess it was my resident DJ, his name is Marco Petronia. He was a resident DJ of my radio show called Big City Beats when I started this 15 years ago, and yeah, it was a 200 Deutsche Mark booking I guess. I don't know, so this was the first booking. I've done.
If you mean, the first big booking...that was David Guetta because we have this idea that we can do a festival - it was called Summer Daydream.
David was since, I guess 11 years exclusively on our radio station called Big City Beats with his radio set in Germany. We had a strong relation, or we have a strong relation to him, and I asked him, I guess it was 11 years ago, 12 years ago, if he would be fine, to do a festival like even in Germany. And he said, yeah, why not? So we talked about everything and so on. And then 2010 we started with the first Sommertag in a pool and was a big success, and this was like, for me, it was like, the first own festival we established and it was yeah, it was crazy. It was emotional, it was really cool.
What’s the most memorable set or sets for you?
I mean, if I look into the past, it was definitely Avicii in 2015 At the World Club Dome because now we know what happened. And I mean, if you feel now his music, you understand a lot more than during his lifetime, which is for me kind of magic - so this guy was really unique and magic.
I really loved the set from Paul Kalkbrenner during World Club Dome Pool Sessions. So normally I have some appointments during my own event, but I couldn't go and get off the stage. You know, I was so hypnotized by his set, so I missed all these appointments and was listening to him yeah, since the fireworks started, and so, I mean.
The most unique set that I will never forget was a 20-minute set, and this was a set from Luca Parmitano, the ISS commander, and he played in my club on the ISS of my club. It's one of the flag of the World Club Dome, he performed in this World Club Dome, a 20-minute set, and, and this was really, it was unique, it was out of this world, I mean really out of this world. I will never forget that.
What is unique about your festival? What sets it apart?
I mean, it's not a question of now telling what is so different or, which is unique, or so on. I mean, I would invite everybody to come to the World Club Dome to feel it, to see it. So I get the feeling it's really special the World Club Dome 'cos we have the stadium, we have this atmosphere like, like in the modern Colosseum. Yeah, and the vibrations are really unique.
Stijn De Grauwe
What are some of the challenges you've faced in organizing your festival?
So I mean, it's not the question of challenges. There are so many pieces of a big puzzle, and then every piece of the puzzle has it's own challenges in it. You mean, it is like combining all this stuff, like you know what, that becomes one unique. How do you say, in English, all in one structure?
So people who come to the World Club Dome don't see what we've done, what difficulties we have, what challenges we, we manage, and so on. I mean, we sell joy, we sell good vibes, and so on - and behind is a lot of work to do it.
I mean, my wife is responsible for the last World Club Dome, the whole organization with a big, big team and so on. And it's like, yeah, combining all these things together to become one big feeling. I mean, this is the biggest challenge, when we have to create this one big feeling that you don't see all these little things around, which you have to organize, we have one feeling and this is World Club Dome. This is the biggest challenge, of bringing this to people.
Anything else you want to tell us about?
I mean, yes, of course. I mean, we're living now in really strange times and nothing is like it was.
I mean, for my personal opinion, I really want to go out I really want to have culture I really want to celebrate with people, I really want to dance, I really want to have good vibes and so on. I know we're sitting here and we think about how the future will be done. If you don't have now a guideline if you're if you don't know what, when is this over, when can we start again with normal business, with normal life, with normal living. This is what I want to tell people - to trust in yourself, trust in the future, and let's stay together, don't start to blame your neighbour, don't start to blame different opinions or so on. So I mean, for you, humanity is one of the bigger things that a human being has and please let us use this to move forward to leave all these shitty times now behind us and to start again with a normal life.