Contact Festival Munich 2018 Review

The Contact festival is Munich’s biggest electronic music happening during the winter Months — let’s review it!

Link to the Event: Resident Advisor

Location:

Event Location

The place itself was easy to reach since it is only approx. 15 min outside the city center. The night busses drove quite frequently and at least for me I had no problem with coming and leaving the festival.

The area and buildings are boring. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s just the usual industrial flair. No graffiti’s, no decorations and no charm to it. The buildings are separated which will be important later, since you need to go outside if you want to change the floor. But they aren’t very far apart. The max. Amount of time it took to go from one building to the next was 3 minutes.

Contact closed down at 5 a.m. which is quite early in my opinion. But Munich itself is also tricky with after hours. Usually most clubs close down by 8 a.m. And there has been an official after hour inside the Mixed Munich Art Club. The thing is on facebook it was announced between 12 p.m. and 8 a.m. So mostly while the festival was happening itself. If you stay till the end of the festival its 5 o’clock. You get your stuff out of the locker and drive to MMA club with public transportation. I guess that you would be there between 5:30 and 6 a.m. which leaves you with 2 hours till the club closes down. I don’t know if that was a joke and maybe they stayed open for longer but I hardly think so. I think they did a contract with MMA club to side host an artist for cheap and use it as Contact Marketing. A real after hour should provide shuttles to the club and run at least till 11 or 12 a.m. so it is worth it for the people to go there. That MMA Contact After Hour looked like a Marketing move. However in 2017 that was different when it was hosted at Rote Sonne and went from 5:30 a.m. till 11 a.m. as stated on facebook, maybe it is time to go back there.

Sound-system:

The most used brand was DB Audio in the Mainstage and the Cocoon stage.

9 x DB Audio Line Array Elements per Side (Mainstage aka Orbit)

The Atlas stage featured an L-acoustics sound system which had clear highs and mids and especially in the front it sounded quite good. The Hydra stage was as far as I recall also equipped with L-acoustics. But I didn’t spend enough time there to talk much about the system. My first impression was that it was just average. For the Mainstage, as you would expect for 2-point sound- in the front it was great. DB Audio builds great speakers no questions. But the further you got to the back the more disappointing it was. A lack of bass! Both of sub bass which was nearly not existent but also the middle-low frequency range was weak. I just wish for a more homogeneous sound across the room. This also allows an even distribution of people since they are not “fighting” for the best sound.

L-acoustics at Atlas Stage

The cocoon stage for my hearing sounded the best. I can’t exactly say why since it was also running a DB Audio Line Array like the main stage. But maybe the space was easier to fill with sound since it was bit smaller or they had more elements in the system. My impression was also that this stage had the highest volume level which probably helped with making it sound better.

My overall impression of the sound was negative. The festival is quite famous in Munich and already going for a couple of years. The tickets aren’t cheap and I expected more. Every stage being a 2-point system surprised me, especially in the main room. For a festival this size I give it a bad rating of 3.5/10 being well under average.

Lights and atmosphere:

Mainstage aka Orbit — everybody is just focused on the front

Same goes for the projections. Some have been very generic and some just didn’t fit in the room. E.g. the Atlas stage had white/gray walls which made the room by itself look very bright. Constant projections only emphasized it and that’s just ugly. More darkness, more fog and only occasional explosions of light would have fitted much more in that room.

In the dark it looks cool, but as soon as it gets bright the stage loses its charm

The best stage was again the Space stage. Since it was the only one with some 3 dimensional approaches. The triangles hanging from the ceiling and being illuminated have been interesting.

Space Stage — frontal and side view

Also the Hydra stage with the big fans was something different. But most times the halls felt empty and without a real concept behind them. Just some cool names but no meaning.

Hydra Stage

Organization:

The peak time was around 1–2 a.m. and Boris Brechja was playing in the Mainroom. It was completely overcrowded and I decided to changes the rooms. But all the other stages except for the Atlas one have also been overcrowded. Wanting to enter them you would have to wait outside in the line (without heating). So seeing the DJ you actually wanted to see was nearly impossible. In simple words Contact is a completely overcrowded experience. Sure it can happen that one stage is closed for entry, but 3 out of 4 just shows that the organizers sold to many tickets. It was around 0 degrees during that night. Waiting outside in line in a T-shirt or even a sweater with no heating provided is a risk for your health.

To be fair some blankets have been handed out, but I am not sure if that was done by the promoter or by the medical staff and if there have been enough available. Still I think some patio heaters should have been placed at the entrances of a stage and in the smoking areas!

The rest was good. There have been enough clean toilets and the security was mostly friendly and respectful. There were a lot of undercover cops (maybe they caused the festival being overcrowded :D ) but that’s not the fault of the organizers.

Another important point are places to sit down and take break. Since the sound was so weak you could sit down in the back of the stage and comfortably talk. Sometimes there have been banks or stands but the floor was also an option to sit down since the stages have been well heated.

Residents:

Pricing:

The entrance price is a different story. Yes, there are Blind Tickets and Early Bird ones. But I don’t look at those since they are usually sold out quickly and I don’t plan party’s month in advance. Cool if you do but for now I will consider the final price of whopping 61,66€ (including fees). For a one day festival with 15 hours of music that’s a lot. But with similar festivals like Timewarp (80€) Connect — by Timewarp & Awakenings (60€) and SEMF (65€) it seems normally priced. To be fair I myself am not a big fan of one day “festivals” since I don’t consider them a good value for money. Sure there are multiple stages but you can only attend one at a time (especially here). And often it becomes just a showoff lineup with small time slots.

That’s also the best way I would describe contact. The lineup looks great. A lot of big names you think you can see during one evening. But remember, you are paying 60€ for only one day. And seeing the festival already end at 5 a.m. isn’t a good value in my eyes. With most of the stages simply being overcrowded or not accessible during peak time those seemingly usual 60€ in reality offer bad value. You are clearly paying for the lineup here and aren’t able to “access the product you purchased”, in other businesses we would call that a scam.

Conclusion:

Still I try being objective here is my rating in points:

- 2.5 for well under average sound quality

- 1.5 for boring and uninspired lighting and decoration

- 0.25 for the lack of lookers

- 3.5 for the inaccessibility of stages and no heating outside

- 1 for the ticket price which wasn’t delivered due to an overcrowded venue

Contact festival scoring an awful 1.75 out of 10 points. I can’t recommend this festival!

My state of mind:

Freibier für alle, der Letzte zahlt!