Spielraum King’s Day 2019 Party Review

SPIELRAUM x Herrensauna Gay Techno Party Amsterdam

The below review was written by Peter an avid party goer living in Amsterdam about the Spielraum King’s Day Edition 2019 which took place at Radion on 27th of April 2019. The opinions expressed in this review are his and his alone.

Spielraum has become quite a phenomenon in less than two years of existence. The party provides an open minded and inclusive atmosphere to dance to a raw uptempo kind of techno. The crowd is comparable to the School Weekend and consists mostly of a younger population of queer alternatives, quite a number of who express themselves in a gender fluid way. The fallout shelter-like concrete bunker called Radion, located underneath what may well be the ugliest monstrosity of a building in the West of Amsterdam, provides the ideal atmosphere. 

The quality of the party has started to attract a broader audience than the LGBTQ communities. Spielraum tends to sell out well in advance on regular editions so with many people visiting Amsterdam for the birthday of his royal highness, pre-sale tickets sold at a spectacular rate. Many of the regulars were a bit shell-shocked by this and so were the organisers I have been told. Rumor on the streets mentions suspicions that tickets were picked up in large quantities by other people than the target audience, leading to the decision to sell the final 400 tickets at the door on the evening of the event and to have door bitches to check if people fit with the party.

So there we were, my boyfriend, two friends and me queuing up at seven in the evening, an hour before the start of the party. Upon arrival we found a line of about 100 people in front of us. Fortunately the trio behind us were excellent company because we were in for a long wait. By eight the line behind us extended halfway towards that other brutalist concrete masterpiece: the Slotervaart hospital. By the time it was our turn over 300 tickets had been already sold.

Long lines and the threat of tickets selling out really do not bring out the best in people. Plenty were joining their “friends” at the front of the line at late times. Or just jumping in front of us, like the clearly straight couple in bright purple jackets who next started waving their friends in. I actually got assertive at this point, which is a shocker, and they politely “offered” to let us go first. Since the people behind us were blissfully unaware of what was going on they actually got away with it, which is annoying, but at least I didn’t have to look at them anymore. 

By this time we were in the line for 2.5 hours. People were being let it at a snail’s pace. I was high on mushrooms when I came, got drunk and sobered up from both before making it inside three hours after joining the line. Spielraum tends to be a bit slow in letting people in even on regular editions, but this was extreme and frankly just unacceptable.

There were no lines at the lockers or the token sale (isn’t there a silver lining to everything?) and before we knew it we subjected ourselves to Radion’s warm concrete embrace. The venue consists of a number of medium-sized rooms. The major DJ stages were in two adjoining rooms: one with a lovely angled concrete ceiling and one with a sloped auditorium layout. The latter got excessively hot during the evening, temperatures must have hit 40+ celsius later in the night. The first room has stairs to a lower floor with a smoking lounge plus another room which has a bar and which this time housed a third DJ set. Connected to the bar was a sizeable chill out area with an art installation consisting of semi transparent textile filling the center of the room. It was nice to walk and sit between the folds and space a bit. All in all there was plenty of room to walk around.

As usual at Spielraum people were really going for it at the DJ stages. The party is a bit less chatty than some others because people like to get into the music. In between the dancing they are approachable enough, but if you like to to spend your parties talking people’s ears off then this may not be the place.

At this point I need to bring up another point of criticism relating to first aid. One of my friends was caring for a guy who was probably g-ing out, only to find out that none of the security personnel had any clue at all about what to do or who to refer them to and just left the guy in the care of his friends. It also doesn’t require a medical degree to see the risks of a 40+ degrees auditorium in combination with e. People taking drugs is a fact of life you need to deal with when organising a dance event and security personnel needs to know how to deal with the emergencies this can cause.

Despite the Dante-esque picture drawn by my rant about the ticket line and lack of first aid we really had a great time. These people sure know how to throw a party. If you’re looking for a nice dark atmosphere where you can dance till you drop to nice raw techno this party really is the place to be. I’ve been here several times over the past two years and it’s really cool to see how it grew from the first edition. I hope Spielraum overcomes its growing pains.

Update May 7th: pre-sale tickets for the June edition just sold out in less than 3 minutes.

Party & Venue Information

Party type Queer techno
CityAmsterdam
Type of audience Age range: 18-50, but mostly 25-35 
Type of people: Alternative, younger, some looking a bit gender fluid
Attitude: serious about dancing, somewhat social, not very cruisy
Plenty of women around, I’d say about 20%, no idea about their sexual orientation (my gaydar is sadly limited by self-interest)
Outfits Mostly darkish, some fetish elements left and right, plenty of shirts were taken off, creativity is valued
Music Raw uptempo techno
Performances No
Sex There’s some if you pay close attention but not a lot
Venue Radion, maze-like concrete bunker
Security Security at the door and also inside the venue
Facilities Lockers (paid with 2 euro coin, you don’t get it back)
Payment method: tokens (bought with pin). 
Drinks prices normal
Lounge: yes
Toilets: doable, but more wouldn’t hurt
Smoking room: yes, medium sized one
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