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Hardwell, Robbert and his Carnival at Ushuaïa

I was given precisely 6 minutes with superstar Hardwell before he gave the go-ahead for his Ibiza residency.

If you are a proper clubber you will know how good it feels when a party finds the right home to develop and show all its weapons. Hardwell's Carnival couldn't find a better place than the beautiful Ushuaïa Hotel to fill the stage with colour, fire and smiles at his very first performance of the summer.

They often say that sequels are never any good but Hardwell begged to differ last night, starting his second round on the island with a lesson in massive performance, changing the party's concept and offering a new experience to his fans. "I Am Hardwell is my world tour so people expected me to bring my world tour to Ibiza but we wanted to create almost a fantasy world, where people just forget about the normal world and let their minds set free. So we changed the name to Hardwell's Carnival, with a more colourful team and feelings of happiness.”

And the whole place couldn't feel happier. Performers walking on stilts welcomed the masses of masked guests who couldn't wait for the captain to take the stage. The Dutch duo W&W were doing a warm up in the booth with their unique trance sounds, also going for future house beats that prepared the energetic dancefloor during another beautiful Ibiza sunset.

While the kings of trance kept going with the set it was the time for me to meet Robbert, the 27-year old guy who wears the Hardwell mask to spread his music all over the world. Only 6 minutes in a room with a smiley guy who was excited and nervous to jump to the stage and give the go-ahead for his second Ibiza residency. "Ibiza is possibly one of my most favourite spots to play at and I think it is a really educated island and a good place to have your residency."

Last night was the turn for W&W, Dannic and Kill the Buzz to be part of the Carnival family, and the line-up will still be high quality all throughout the summer. "I can't tell you any surprises we have this year otherwise there wouldn't be any surprise!” he laughs, but we can be sure he'll not only bring the big names, but also put the weight of Hardwell's Carnival behing new talent he has introduced, such as the fresh and exciting padawan, Joey Dale: "he is making great tracks right now and really stands out for me."

When Hardwell (and his electric stage presence) made his initial entrance, the crowd went wild with the first beats of his temazo (that's what we Spanish call a T.U.N.E.), Eclipse. Colorful LED-lights, fire and images came from the screen behind him to fully welcome him to his new summer house. Fantastic tracks for the party-goers like Keep Movin by DJ Bam Bam, Secrets by Tiesto or Blow by Filatov and emotional ones for the nostalgic sing-a-long audience like A Sky Full Of Stars by Coldplay which came on precisely as a plane flew very low over our heads – dramatic.

"When I'm producing all I can think about is the crowd. I try to imagine how the crowd would react to the certain things when I put them in my tracks," he told me a few minutes before whizzing to the stage. Well done Hardwell! The crowd reacted by applauding him between every single mix.

In my brief interview with Hardwell I didn't see a superstar but a passionate artist who so deeply loves music. He later confessed his all-time favorite track was The Prodigy, Smack My Bitch. We discussed what he´d do if he had the chance to be a normal 27 year old man, and he said he´d spend time with his friends and go to underground sunset parties at the beach – with lots of beautiful women (we all giggled).

"I think Robbert is a little bit more laid back than Hardwell," he described thoughtfully to me and then, to my surprise, taught me a great lesson: "One of the most important things in life is always to share these beautiful moments with your friends and the worst part of my job is that is really hard to have a social life."

Ushuaïa hosts Hardwell's Carnival every Tuesday, offering a massive circus party around the pool. Don't forget your mask and your comfy shoes to shake your body at the superstar DJ's beats.

"For all those Ibiza Virgins who are coming this summer, have you any recommendations, captain?" I squeezed in one last question that I think we can all agree on. "Definitely go on a boat ride and go to Formentera. I love Formentera. The food is amazing and the place is just beautiful. That's definitely what I would recommend."

View this feature in the weekly Spotlight Magazine, Issue 026.


WORDS | Natalia Gutiérrez PHOTOGRAPHY | Ushuaïa

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