Daniel van den Broeke
My rave history in Rotterdam
As a young boy growing up in Holland in the 1990s, I was thrilled to be alive during the rise of electronic dance music. I was particularly drawn to the fast-paced, frenetic energy of gabber music, and loved attending raves and parties where I could lose myself completely in the banging beats and pulsing lights. At the age of 14, I began to play on technics turntables and produce beats on a Commodore Amiga. And when I was 16, I had the opportunity to visit the Energiehal, a legendary venue in Rotterdam known for hosting some of the biggest and wildest gabber parties in the country. It was an unforgettable experience for me as I danced and jumped along with thousands of other ravers, all united in their love of the music and the scene.
In 1997, I went to my first illegal rave and immediately fell in love with the free-spirited atmosphere of these parties. I became more and more involved in the scene, and together with friends, we started our own sound system, MorBIT that later joined the TDK crew. We were organising free parties all over the Netherlands. In this time, I also became a father at 21 and this made me grow up very quickly. But at the same time, I learned how to cherish my love for rave, which may be why I have conserved my passion for it so well.
In the early 2000's I started a collective called The Wild Dancers Union that was stirring up dance floors. We were invited to many raves as guests of honour and were enjoying our best times at the party as we made the dance floor explode. After 5 years we went to Berlin for a month to organise parties there and then we split up. While I was growing older, my passion for electronic dance music never waned. I continued to attend raves and parties and shared my love of music as a dj with others through my mixes and sets. And being an event organiser at the legendary club BAR, I was able to blend rave culture with theatre and other art forms.
This grew into starting a venue called The Performance Bar, which became a place for fresh talent and a crowd that was looking for something different and wild. The night always ended in an outrageous dance party. I started to call myself a raver for life, always staying true to the music and the culture that had captivated me as a teenager in the nineties. To me, the rave scene is more than just a passing fad or trend - it was and is a way of life that will always hold a special place in my heart.
Nowadays, I am still on the lookout for the best parties and festivals to perform and enjoy. I have also become a kind of rave storyteller, sharing my experiences and knowledge through various projects. For example, I have a Gabber Monologue that takes you back to my time at the Energiehal, and I have created a tour around Rotterdam that offers a deep dive into my personal rave history and the broader culture. And then there is the Horizontal Rave that puts the whole world into another perspective. You can find out more about my rave inspired projects here: https://www.shapesinspace.net/rave-lab