Behind the festival: IQON

With Defqon.1 now firmly established as one of the most eagerly-anticipated dates on the Australian calendar, this April Q-dance will stage another outdoor festival debut: IQON. For the first time ever, the Sydney International Dragway is set to be transformed with Q-dance’s cutting-edge production and stage design. We spoke to the Q-dance masterminds to find out more.

This is the first-ever IQON event. What more can you tell us about the unique concept of this experience?

The name IQON obviously comes from the word ‘icon’, which forms the foundation for this new event. Besides an iconic line-up, featuring 12 of the world’s best hard dance acts, people can expect an iconic stage and show production, all taking place in an iconic setting for a dance festival. All this ‘iconic-ness’ will melt together into a complete new event experience.

As Defqon.1 is a festival with multiple stages, with lots of colour from the recycled deco and sculptures, IQON will have a more ‘sleek and clean’ feel. IQON will be a futuristic showcase of the latest cutting-edge event technology in our production. The concept of a one-stage festival isn’t unique – however, it will be the first time we will be doing it Q-dance style.

For many years we have been hosting ‘iconic’ Q-dance stages at events like Mysteryland and Tomorrowland. Those stages there feel almost like a one-stage festival concept to us. It’s a festival taking place within a festival, as we’ve noticed most people who come and visit our stage at those events don’t really go anywhere else and come just for the Q-dance experience.

The only major one-stage concept we have is Qlimax, which is indoors. We would like IQON to be an ‘outdoor version’ of Qlimax. The biggest difference between a multi-staged event and a single staged event is everyone gets to partake in the same experience.

At a ‘one-stager’, you will see the same shows and hear the same music as everyone else who is there. When visiting a multi-staged event, you and your friends could have completely different stories to tell each other after the event because you attended different stages and had the opportunity to see different acts than your mates.

Can you reveal anything about what we can expect from the production for this event?

Expect the unexpected! We never reveal too much about the production, as we want our visitors to have something to look forward to and dream about. That first glimpse of the stage production and event set-up when you walk through the gates is priceless.

Q-dance is renowned for transforming one-of-a-kind venues. What’s so special about the setting of the Sydney International Dragway that makes it perfect for IQON?

The drag strip (which forms the main dancefloor area) is surrounded by grassy hills on both sides, and has a grandstand on the back edge. This enables us to create the intense-arena feel. A large stage at the other end of the drag strip will transform the venue into a true rave-Colosseum.

Of course when we put on a large-size event like IQON or Defqon.1, we also need the necessary logistics to be in place. As both the Sydney International Dragway and Eastern Creek put on events for more than 30,000 people on a regular basis, the area has proven itself as a more than suitable venue for large-scale events. To ensure an easy access and exit flow we will be using almost 60 shuttle buses that operate from Blacktown Station to and from the event. Your IQON ticket includes free travel on CityRail services, and use of the extra shuttle bus service to and from Blacktown Station on the day of the event.

And finally, the line-up: you’ve got 12 of the world’s leading hard dance acts on one stage. Can you explain how that line-up concept came together?

During the past decade especially, the hard dance scene has brought forth many icons, spread across various genres. At Q-dance our focus is on hardstyle and therefore the majority of the names on the IQON line-up are the biggest icons within the hardstyle scene. There is a mix of new, as well as more established hardstyle heavyweights, Australian and from overseas. Every act plays its own role within the IQON concept, which is part of ‘The Experience Beyond’ we want to create.

Curious about the full line-up? Check out the official trailer below. For more info and tickets, visit Q-dance.com.au/IQON.