I'd like to be a parking attendant at the Flanders Expo Arena in Ghent next weekend. The exhibition centre and home of the international Flanders Technology Fair has an interesting winter calendar to say the least, and annually each November for one night only, this year in between the Countryside Lifestyle Fair starting on the 3rd and the Dream Marriage and Wedding Exhibition Weekend on the 17th, 35 000+ techno fanatics pour in for the long running I Love Techno Festival.
Besides imagining confused and stressed brides-to-be accidentally wandering into the middle of a Dave Clarke set looking for tips on how to achieve the perfect veil, whilst mumbling curses continuously under breath at their future husband for having deliberately got the dates mixed up, I've been picturing the sort of stands that would feature at an actual exhibition homage to techno as a music form. A catwalk show of DJs in the latest headphone fashions? A relentless 36 hour master-class in Ableton? Held in dingy reconstructions of studio bedrooms complete with hanging pot smoke? Possibly not so very entertaining.
Thankfully, I Love Techno on the 10th November, isn't an exhibition, merely a rave disguised as one. From humble beginnings at the Vooruit nightclub in 1995, they've been invading The Flanders Expo Centre for the last 10 years (no pun intended). Featuring 7 five thousand capacity rooms, including one Switch Video Room that will show video and music from the ones that are too packed to get into (always a bugbear of festivals) the event runs from 7pm til 6am.They've been hit rather badly by one of their headline acts, Underworld - suddenly canceling due to a 'serious illness' being suffered by the band's Rick Smith but are currently looking for a replacement act, and judging by their track record are not going to have any problem pulling something out of the bag in time. Other highlights of the night include live sets from Mathew Johnson and Gui Borato, Trentemoller and Miss Kitten & The Hacker and on a less strictly techno tip, The Klaxons, Simian Mobile Disco and Justice Tickets are only 30€ and whilst Belgium might not be the tourism hot spot that you'd like to spend your weekends exploring, the train connections are fantastic, and if you get there early, you might be lucky enough to catch the Country LifeStyle Fair.