Sunday 15th of April is about to be a special day in Flanders, Belgium. Techno For Humanity launches its first outdoor edition with Dubfire, Pan-Pot, Marcel Fengler, Seth Troxler, Amelie Lens and many more on the line-up. There has never been a charity festival of this size within the scene. The artists will play back to back on this ‘Live Aid for house and techno.’ And all of this is happening at the beautiful recreational area De Ster in Sint-Niklaas. This Is Our House interviewed initiator Ugur Akkus about his ambitions.
Techno For Humanity brings a dream to life for Ugur Akkus. Not that he isn’t a busy man already; check out our interview with him about the Flemish house and techno scene. But his heart doesn’t just beat for music, he wants to do more for others and society.
Even though you would think that such ambitions would be standard in a music scene that rose from fraternization and emancipation, the opposite is true. Unfortunately, creating a better world stops at durability and hedonism for most festivals and clubs.
Ugur agrees completely. ‘Backstage there’s a lot of talking about fraternization in our scene. But, when I went and looked for actual initiatives, I was shocked by the amount of charity festivals. It’s confronting how little organizations do something for society. Even though we are blessed, and are lucky to have a job like this.’
‘To me, it makes sense that you try to do something extra for society. In sports for example, they do it a lot. It’s about making a difference for others.’
Techno For Humanity in IKON
The search for a fitting outdoor location took a bit longer than expected, so Techno For Humanity started out as a pilot in IKON, Antwerp. A successful initiative, we wrote at the time, with Ida Engberg as headliner and co-initiator.
De Ster in Sint-Niklaas embodies the dream location for Techno For Humanity. Ugur: ‘I have high demands for such a place: for example, there has to be water and nature. At the same time, you need to be careful with the amount of pressure you put on the fragile location. That’s why we didn’t choose the location of Extrema Outdoor Belgium in Houthalen-Helchteren.’
The talking and trying to find a location – outside of his busy working days – weren’t successful for a long time. Until he asked De Ster. ‘They were actually the last ones I approached, because they said no when I asked them for Extrema Outdoor Belgium, back in the days. But they immediately said yes this time. That was mainly because Techno For Humanity is a charity event.’
The profit from the event goes entirely to charities: Mobile School (education for streetkids), Animal Rights BeNeLux and Last Night A DJ Saved My Life.
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Jonny Lee is the founder of the latter, which helps children in crisis. Even though his foundation is driven by dance (for example Eats Everything collaborated with him), he now speaks of Techno For Humanity as ‘the best example of dj’s who try to make a difference together.’
The profit from Techno For Humanity goes to the ‘Have A Drink on Us’ campaign from Last Night a DJ Saved My Life. ‘The campaign helps us building water wells for villages in India and Africa. With the help of this event, we can change many lives.’
With the help of this event, we can change many lives
It doesn’t stop with this edition of Techno For Humanity, says Ugur. ‘Next year, we are coming back. And, we contacted the ministry of Culture, to see if we could start a new project: a hotel ran by refugees.’
This was inspired by the initiative from Dutch celebrity star Johnny de Mol in Bijlmer Bajes in Amsterdam, the former jail. ‘I was there recently, and I had goosebumps everywhere. Some refugees are already working nice jobs in the catering industry, like at the Hilton Hotel. That’s so much better than letting those people wait for their faith during the long procedures, right?’
TFH goes Ibiza?
There’s also a possibility that Techno For Humanity gets a satellite-edition in Ibiza. Carried by Ida Engberg, who unfortunately can’t be present in Sint-Niklaas.
Ugur: ‘She’s very disappointed, but it just didn’t match with her tour schedule. She’ll definitely join us next year, and right now, we are checking if we can start something in Ibiza. She lives there for 6 months a year, and a lot of artists are performing there in the summer. Of course, the infrastructure of clubs is already there.’
For now, the focus is on the outdoor debut of TFH in Flanders. Famous, international artists are literally performing back-to-back on the 15th of April in Sint-Niklaas. Completely for free. Amelie Lens has her own stage with her concept Exhale by Amelie Lens, like Krankenhaus en Labyrinth Club. The complete line-up is listed down below.
Ugur: ‘Booking the artists was no issue when the location was clear. They love to do this, and some of them have wanted to do this for years, but there were no events which facilitated the opportunity.’ That’s about to change. Ugur’s motto: ‘A day of partying for you, makes a huge difference for others.’
Techno For Humanity
Sunday 15th of april, 11:00-23:00, De Ster Sint-Niklaas.
Exhale by Amelie Lens – Stage
Amelie Lens B2B Pan-Pot
Gary Beck B2B Marcel Fengler
Farrago B2B Parallx
Joyhauser B2B Michael Klein
Krankenhaus – Stage
Seth Troxler B2B Dubfire
Martin Buttrich (official) B2B Eats Everything
Radio Slave (Official) B2B Tijana T
Kapibara B2B Raw District
Kimman B2B Timmerman
Labyrinth Club – Stage
Hernan Cattaneo B2B Nick Warren (6h set)
Danny Howells B2B Darren Emerson B2B Dave Seaman (6h set)
You can buy tickets and read more information here.
(Translation by: Michelle Klaassen)