Hyperreality Review

The year is 2029, we are sitting in front of the prestigious cultural centre owned since some years by the Hyperreality Festival Foundation and we think back to the year 2019, when the first independent issue of the festival was held in the Austrian outback of the Vienna forest Wienerwald, up in a rural holiday inn called Sophienalpe. How we assembled at the final stop of the Vienna metro with a horde of 20-somethings, energized rave kids eager to mount the shuttle, with plastic bags full of beverage for the 20 minute bus ride. Their loud voices showed how important the occasion was for them, they sang Robbie Williams songs to steam off and cheered while the bus took the narrow turns up the Austrian mountain roads. Others, solo rave heads, sat in the front of the bus on their own, focussed and calm. 20 minutes through the dark later we had arrived at the location, a traditional Austrian building, donning a big banner to announce the rave. We entered through the beer garden, the broad doors were left open that night, there were no neighbours that could have been bothered by the music. So while staying on the middle of the larger dancefloor, you always had the view of big old trees and cozy golden light coming from the outside from your right. On your left started the arrangement of rooms of the old holiday destination in all its peaceful and morbid charm, it was completely overwhelmed by the arrival of the ravers that hung out in the rustical gastro infrastructure. The red hallway cutting through it had an undeniable Stanley Kubrick feel. Here the guests were strolling up and down between the snack counter, the bar, and the two dancefloors: One in the pool house, inviting the dancers down into the pool, submerged in playful and hard experimental sounds, and one in the main house where the Robbi Williams kids were loosing it to Nina Kravitz. Even one of the older clubbers was shouting Ninaaa during the intro. Her set was for them, to us it felt like an ironic and entertaining warming up of the oversized sound system, a set and setting we couldn’t get behind in the beginning. After that everything felt just in place on that floor, the sound aesthetics (PTU, Katia b2b Nizar) filling the oversized charm of that massive bass boxes in that strange mountain den. The departure after that mountaineering rave communeering was a long and slow coming down. The bus shedule had been mixed up, many people missed two shuttle busses with us, swarming around the forest house, hanging out in the green nature and the morning mist.¹ Some hours later the extreme right wing politician Strache, member of the coalition government, stepped down in the wake of an undercover video documenting his economic locker room talk during a trip to Ibiza years before. Thousands were marching towards the cancelor’s building shouting Kurz’s (the cancelor’s) name and “come out”, in a humorous chorus: Kurz komm raus / Komm kurz raus. That evening the cancelor chose to ask for re-elections, trying to use the scandal of his right wing extremist partners as his own way out as a reliable force. The mood in the city was victorious nevertheless, the extreme right for once had had to pay for their endless provocations and corruption. Also at the second night of the Hyperreality festival the surreal political events were celebrated and free shots were served. That night the artsy counterculture that this government coalition despises so much had a cherfull yet dark pool party, curated by the PAN label. Starting at midnight, Helm again seemed more like a spectacular warming up, diving in the blue fog, distanced and conceptually soundly and unsurprising, a bit like Nina Kravitz the day before. But then maybe we were also distracted by the cultural activists in the back of the pool loudly chatting over and through the whole set. Excitement to meet everyone as expected up here in the pool in the forest! While the vanguard pool party was that type of warm social event, again the rave sound system blasted us all in shape afterwards for the hot tub experience of the main floor, the usual ornament of rave to the freaky sound of this excellently curated festival. Years later we will remember how the festival in its first autonomous instance of many more and bigger to follow moved to the countryside, for a feelgood and safe hangout with a solid queer vibe counterbalancing the young male wasted beer ravers and the few grown even more filled older male beer ravers in the audience. It was authentic in the sense that it was simple and good, it was promising in the mood and carefulness of the organisers and the rave community. It was comfortably freaky and loud and strangely idyllic and cosy. No coincidence that it took place the same weekend as the collapse of the government, this weekend down in the city and up in the mountains will be surely remembered as the one where the 2010s in Austria ended. Gudenus, Strache: Glock, Glock? All I wanna do is bang bang bang bang!

hyperreality sophienalphe

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