Transmission Sydney 2023

On the 11th of February, just under 20,000 people made their way to the Sydney Showgrounds, for what was promised to be a night of jaw-dropping visuals, world class trance music, and unforgettable memories.

For the first time since 2019, United Music brought their world-renowned, indoor Trance music event “Transmission” to Sydney. With them were international DJs from all over the world, and with their own expertise as pioneers in real-time visual performance, the stage was set. Transmission promised an immersive, unique experience for all. And festival fanatics from all over Australia responded to the call.

The theme for this rendition of the festival was “Spirit of the Warrior”, a motif last seen back in 2018, when the people of Shanghai witnessing a light show with strong influences from Asian culture. The place in Asian-Australian culture that electronic music festivals now hold ensured that the spectacle was one that would resonate with the majority of the audience in attendance.

After a long drive from Melbourne, a restless sleep in a dodgy Airbnb, and an equally gruelling uber ride to the showgrounds, myself and a group of my closest mates readied ourselves for a night to remember.

It’s always a magical feeling walking into a rave. You can hear the sound of the bass from outside the venue, and with every step through the gates, through security, through the crowd, it gets louder. Closer. Excitement builds, and builds, and it culminates in that moment when you first step into the indoor arena, and lay eyes on the stage.
There was a coolness in the air in the arena. Sydney had decided to have one of its hottest ever February days on the day of the rave, yet United were prepared, and did their utmost to keep temperatures low within the arena, a tough task with such a large quantity of people in close proximity to each other.  

Arriving at the venue at 5pm, we unfortunately missed out on Taglo and Xijaro & Pitch. Hearing from those who had arrived early, it was clear that the two opening acts had set the tone right for the rest of the event. United had gone all out, with every set providing a unique experience from the last.

I’ve been to a Transmission event before. Back in September of 2022, I was lucky enough to see them in my home city of Melbourne, at the Flemington racecourse. With zero expectations at the time, I was blown away.

This time, I had a better idea of what I was getting myself into. I’d loved the production in Melbourne, and hadn’t seen better visual jockeying in person since. The bar was high.

And yet, Transmission Sydney blew those expectations out of the water. With every song, with every drop, it was clear the level of detail and planning that went into the selection of the visuals.

Every colour. Every movement of the lasers. Every rotation. Every moment of darkness between beats. Meticulous. Videos cannot begin to capture the beauty of viewing those lasers with your own eyes.

At some music events, proximity to the stage is the most important factor for an audience member. To see their favourite artist in real life, with a clarity that digital screens simply cannot provide. But transmission is different; the experience is almost enhanced the further from the stage you go. An unobstructed view is harder to achieve, sure, but the lasers reach high into the space above, ensuring even those standing at the very back of the 20,000 in attendance were in for a treat.

I suppose it’s what we come to expect from a Transmission event nowadays. Such is the standard that United Music has set over the years, since bringing their show out of Prague and to an international audience. Yet their innovation continues to inspire and excite audiences worldwide, a testament to their desire to keep shifting the paradigm. I had no qualms spending another $160 for an event I’d already been to in the past, because I knew the experience would be different.

Amongst the early sets, a personal standout was Will Atkinson, who brought raw energy through a combination of hardstyle and trance. As one of the lesser-known artists on show, Atkinson proved to be a worthy commander of the Transmission stage, in particular when the familiar, haunting first notes of “Push up” by Creeds made an appearance towards the end of his set.

Jeffrey Sutorius followed, with the Dutch DJ building upon the hype generated by Atkinson’s showmanship. Performing at his first Transmission, the former member of Dash Berlin did not disappoint.

Gareth Emery was next. A mainstay in the trance scene over in the UK, Emery broadened his scope, playing songs from other genres outside of trance. There was time in Emery’s set for Fred Again… to make an appearance, with a track from one of House music’s biggest rising stars crossing over into the realm of trance. Right after, Emery played “LSD” by Will Sparks, another hard techno track outside of the norm for what you would expect at a trance event. Whilst both may have felt a little out of place for some, each song felt like a breath of fresh air for me, and added an unpredictability to Emery’s set. I’ve personally always wanted to hear LSD live, so absolutely no complaints from me.

Soon, however, the main event for many in attendance would occur. For the second last set of the night, Vini Vici took to the stage. After a stellar performance at Transmission Melbourne, the Israeli duo were back in Australia for more. Vini Vici was my personal favourite set from that night, and the act I was looking forward to the most in Sydney. Opening with “Lo Nevosh”, it was clear that they weren’t messing around for round 2. Whilst many of the songs played were similar to their setlist in Melbourne, the different visuals and ordering of the songs made the set feel distinct in its own way. Of course, the highlight was “Great Spirit”, with the 2016 collaboration with Armin Van Buren and Hilight Tribe a fan favourite amongst those in attendance. Vini Vici also played the Coone remix of “Untz Untz”, providing one of the hardest drops of the night, a moment of exhilaration that you truly had to be there to experience.

Overall, as expected, Vini Vici did not disappoint. Many in attendance who I spoke to thought that he had earned a place as the last set following his performance in Melbourne, however, when you have a legend of EDM in Armin van Buuren playing after him, it’s a lot harder to argue their case.

The dutch DJ and record producer is a forefather of trance music. It’s hard to quantify just how impactful AVB has been on the electronic music industry, however its clear that without his weekly radio show “A State of Trance”, many of the current pioneers in the genre may not exist. AVB has been in the business for a long time, and his selection of tracks reflected that. Classics from over the years were played, providing contrast to the earlier, more modern trance sounds from the previous sets, elucidating just how far the genre has come.

A particular emotional beat occurred when “This Is What It Feels Like” played, with blue lights enveloping the arena. All around were sombre smiles, hearty hugs, and euphoric expressions. It’s moments like those, between the rumbling bass, between the piercing lasers, where you look around and just feel appreciative for those around you for the journey. Beauty in the now.

AVB ended strong, bringing Vini Vici back out for the debut of a new song. There was even time to run “Great Spirit” back together, with the crowd’s reaction the second time around almost outmatching the initial reaction in Vini Vici’s set. To close, van Buuren played “Blah blah blah”, with the iconic words of the chorus echoing throughout the walls of the indoor stadium. And whilst he had to end his set slightly early, there was still a sense of fulfilment and finality to the performance, meaning that the final 15 minutes that the audience missed out on did not feel sudden or abrupt at all.

However, whilst for many, Transmission Sydney will evoke nostalgic memories of bliss and joy, tragically for some, this will not be the case. 20,000 people walked into the venue that night. 1 person did not walk out.

It would be imprudent not to acknowledge the tragedy that struck towards the end of the night. For the friends and family of one person, the words Transmission Sydney 2023 will only bring grief, distress, and suffering. A community in mourning.  

Take care of your mates. Take care of anyone you see who might need it at an event like this. Take care of yourself. Because there are more moments of euphoria that all of us deserve to enjoy, that are still yet to come.

Transmission was one of those moments. Here’s to many more.


Written by Josh Lopez – an enthusiast of all things live music, regardless of genre

Whilst he is currently an Engineering student, Josh has a passion for writing and music, originally growing up with influences in Hip-Hop and R&B before falling into the rabbit holes of Hardstyle, Trance and Techno music. Josh is a part of, a university social club which hosts events for young adults where popular DJs like Coone, Anderex and Colin Hennerz have previously played.

  • May 26, 2023
  • Category: News
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