By 5 AM on Sunday morning, I knew the answer to all these questions was yes; beforehand, I hadn't been so sure. The festivities started on Thursday evening with a concert (and gallery show and merch shop), where members of the crew sat around a table with their laptops and played renditions of some of their best-known songs. It felt more like a listening party than a performance—except when the lighting tech performed an impressive show using the light fixtures themselves—but you could tell from the rapt looks on everyone's faces how much the cross-legged crowd were loving it.
Thursday's strong showing carried into Saturday afternoon. The Arts District venue was already busy when I arrived around sunset. Kettenkarussell, AKA Konstantin and Leafar Legov, were set up on tables in front of a riveted but standstill audience, while the smell of grilled meat wafted through the air from a makeshift taco stand. After Kettenkarussell finished, the equipment moved inside for Edward, who played a long live set under a tapestry of silver ribbons that reflected lasers across the room. It was one of a few DIY decorations, along with a neon LED streak in the ceiling and some flags planted in the centre of the space, that gave the event its homey feel.
I snuck out for dinner towards the end of Edward's set, and when I came back it was basically a different party. The room was dark, packed and thick with fog. DJ Dustin, who played the night's best set, was serving up hard, breaks-y and melodic tunes that ratcheted up the energy at the perfect time. I wasn't sure how promoters Acid Camp and Everything But Ecstasy would pull it off, but with a few changes—especially taking down the lights—the party transitioned seamlessly from afternoon chill-out to full-on warehouse rave.
The night wrapped up with sets from ATEQ, Konstantin and Vril. Konstantin took the reins during peak time—around 2 AM—and his DJ set was more heady, less party-ready and generally rougher round the edges than Dustin's. The night's most memorable moment might have belonged to him, when he mixed in Whigfield's 1995 Eurodance hit "Saturday Night" to grins and grimaces alike. For me, tunes like this show off one of Giegling's most attractive qualities. No matter how seriously they take their craft—art shows, live concerts, carefully packaged €100 releases—there's also a silly side to them that they're unafraid to let loose.
Vril's closing set, which felt like it belonged in a Berlin nightclub, highlighted a different side to Giegling: their love of no-nonsense techno. His was the night's most forceful performance, rounding off a 16-hour endurance test with what felt like just reward for those dancers still going. Looking back at the party, with its diverse lineup and general air of mystique (neither promoter knew any of the set times), I was reminded of reviews I'd read of past Giegling events. While I've never been to any of them, if I had to guess, I'd say that the Weimar collective managed to bring that same welcoming, magical, anything-goes atmosphere all the way to the West Coast.
Photo credit: Brennan Schloo