How an abandoned coal mine in Germany became a techno club

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A former-coal mine in Germany’s industrial heartland— North-Rhine Westphalia— will become a techno club this weekend. Again. 

On Saturday 18th August Telekom Electronic Beats and promoters Baka Gaijin are teaming up to throw a massive party featuring Objekt, Shanti Celeste and Ben UFO at Essen’s Zollverein complex, a mammoth UNESCO-protected site that took four years to build and was decommissioned in 1986. 

We first reported on these plans back in March, shortly after news broke of another industrial monolith— Landschaftspark in nearby Duisborg— being used for a similar session, which we reviewed in this month’s UK edition of DJ Mag. 

Since 2001 the Zollverein location has been considered a heritage site with preservation the top priority, and it currently contains museums, a swimming pool, jogging course and a number of social spaces. 

The sprawling development is split into two, the mine of Zeche Zollverein and Kokerei Zollverein, which was the coking plant. The latter has a large indoor area spread over multiple levels, Mischanlage. Currently only a portion of the floor space is used for any purpose, although those involved in the local scene believe it has much more potential. 

“Both venues, in my opinion, don’t need big headliners because the venue is the headliner,” Baka Gaijin’s Alexis Fallias told Telekom Electronic Beats. “After I picked Ryan Elliot up from the airport, when he saw the venue, he said it reminded him of his hometown in Detroit.” 

Some organisations remain skeptical about using the location for parties, despite enthusiasm from the native electronic music community which has a shortage of dedicated dance music venues. 

“I think you can throw a maximum of three or four parties a year there,” said Fallias. “It’s a heritage site and they want to protect it.”

Read more about the inspiring ideas and major obstacles relating to the site over on Telekom Electronic Beats