25-year-old Dutch DJ Hardwell was crowned the new No.1 DJ in the world at a massive DJ Mag party at the RAI Centre in Amsterdam on Saturday 19th October. Hardwell, real name Robbert van de Corput, knocked fellow Dutchman — and five-times winner — Armin Van Buuren off the top spot to become the youngest winner in the Top 100 DJs poll in its 20-year history.
“It's a dream come true,” Hardwell told DJ Mag backstage. “As a little kid I said that one day I wanted to become the No.1 DJ, and I think if you go for something you always have to aim as high as you can get, and to be No.1 in DJ Mag is the biggest achievement you can get — it's like the Olympic Games for DJs. It's awesome, I'm seriously speechless.”
Three times winner of the Top 100, Tiesto (2002-4) — another Dutchman — was voted the DJ Legend of the last 20 years in an award run in partnership with KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines. He was presented his award by Hardwell, his protege who hails from the same town, Breda, in the south of Holland. “It's a great honour and a great achievement, for me it's nice to get the recognition after all these years of hard work from the readers of DJ Mag and from people around the world,” Tiesto told DJ Mag.
Armin, meanwhile, graciously presented Hardwell with his award onstage, saying “In 2006 I presented this award to a German (Paul van Dyk), in 2011 I presented it to a Frenchman (David Guetta), so I'm overjoyed this year to be presenting it to a Dutchman.” The crowd, predictably, went wild.
In the colossal aircraft hangar-sized hall, Armin was introduced by guest host Giorgio Moroder, the disco legend who crafted hits like 'I Feel Love' and 'Love To Love You Baby' with Donna Summer in the '70s, and has recently worked with Daft Punk — and has now become a DJ himself at the age of 73. “I think I did that pretty well,” Giorgio told DJ Mag immediately afterwards. “Maybe I could have another career as an announcer!”
The Top 100 DJs party was the centrepiece of the Amsterdam Music Festival (AMF) in the huge RAI venue on the outskirts of the city, marking the closing of the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). 17,000 party people filled the gigantic hall to witness DJ sets from Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Dyro — another young Dutch DJ, voted Highest New Entry in the poll — Alesso and W&W, plus, of course, Armin and Hardwell themselves. In the other two large arenas, DJs like Steve Angello and Fedde Le Grand completed the festival line-up.
The countdown started at 10pm, and soon both DJ Mag and #Top100DJs were trending worldwide on Twitter as dance fans all over the globe reacted to their favoured DJs' positions, and tweeted excitement about the upcoming results.
When the countdown paused at No.2 in the RAI centre, Hardwell and Armin's names flashed alternately on the giant LED screen before Hardwell was revealed as the No.1. Fireworks and confetti cannons exploded, and in an emotional moment down the front Hardwell's ultra-supportive mum and dad were spotted weeping cheers of joy.
Hardwell, along with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, then flew by private jet to London to play the other Top 100 DJs party the same night at Electric Brixton. The crowd - having been suitably entertained by the countdown on the big screens and party starting sets from Quentin Mosimann and Bob Sinclar went predictably mental for Hardwell again!
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.