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We went to the first nightclub in space and this is what happened

World Club Dome outdoes itself once again with yet another unique experience, turning clubbers into astronauts (sort of) on the ‘Vomit Comet’. We made our dear Ben Hindle take an ECG heart scan and shipped him off to learn just what it’s like to rave in zero gravity....

German dance music empire BigCityBeats is no stranger to unique experiences. Its flagship World Club Dome packs out a whole football stadium and the surrounding fields every year in Frankfurt, while the winter edition — held in Gelsenkirchen — has repeatedly set the record for biggest solo DJ show in Germany. On top of that WCD offers parties on private jets, trains and in the airport, and last year saw the launch of World Club Cruise too. But CEO Bernd Breiter is not one to rest on his laurels, and after watching a report on astronaut training one Sunday morning he came up with perhaps the most insane clubbing experience ever conceived.

Nicknamed the ‘vomit comet’ after early passengers had a habit of... well, you can probably guess what... the A300 ZERO-G Airbus is a hollowed out plane operated by French company Novespace used to prepare astronauts for space and conduct experiments under the effect of zero gravity without actually leaving the atmosphere. The aircraft flies in a parabolic curve (never thought you’d read that in DJ Mag, eh?), which consists of a rapid ascent and descent with a brief period at the top where a state of weightlessness occurs and everything inside floats around. Bernd’s idea? Turn the plane into a club and fill it full of floating ravers. Why? “Cos we’re crazy,” he says to DJ Mag with a glint in his eye. We always did love a bit of crazy...

DJ Mag joins a host of competition winners from around the world (there’s even one guy who’s flown over from Australia) in Frankfurt, along with superstar EDM-ers W&W and Steve Aoki — the latter of whom is a known futurist. “I heard that you have no control of your bladder and your butthole,” laughs Steve when we catch him pre-flight to chat about his expectations. “Besides that... We’re setting a world record. I love the idea of being the first to try something or the first to do something.” Steve sees the wider benefit of such a unique event too, bringing extra publicity to the electronic music scene. “For me it’s all about making it fun!”

The plane itself looks incredible. Fully padded to protect from the obvious injuries that could occur while floating around, BigCityBeats’ lighting technician has kitted it out with twisting spotlights and coloured strips, making it genuinely look like some futuristic club — no easy feat! Up in the sky, Aoki and W&W strap into the DJ booth and promptly crack on with the EDM and trap bangers. After a short period of dancing it’s time for the zero g... DJ Mag joins everyone in lying flat on the floor — in the ascent and descent periods before and after the weightlessness, passengers experience something called ‘hyper-gravity’. As sci-fi as it sounds, during this time, we’ll weigh twice as much as normal, and actually experience more g-force than astronauts on a proper space shuttle launch. Moving during this time upsets the balancing fluid in the human ear, resulting in dizziness, which in turn results in the ‘Vomit Comet’.

Now, DJ Mag was warned before the trip that it’s impossible to describe the feeling of weightlessness, but gosh darn it, we’re gonna have to try. Somewhat like swimming, but with no resistance whatsoever (the natural reaction is to try to swim, meaning arms and legs end up flailing around wildly), it is one perhaps the strangest, most freeing experiences DJ Mag has ever gone through. As we lift off from the floor and drift casually towards the ceiling, where, if we so choose, it’s possible to flip around and sit upside down, it’s impossible not to immediately start grinning from ear to ear.

Due to personal preference, usually this writer couldn’t imagine much worse than being stuck in a tin can, 35,000 feet in the air, listening to aggressive EDM — but it it means he gets to fly like a spaceman, he’d listen to EDM every day. BigCityBeats has yet again created an experience like no other, raising the bar and keeping ravers on their toes (or should we say completely off them) in the process. Where to go from here is anyone’s guess... the bottom of the sea perhaps, or actual space? Whatever happens, we’re sure BigCityBeats will once again make the impossible possible, all in the name of dance music.

Ben Hindle is DJ Mag’s Deputy Editor and co-founder of DJ Mag Bunker. Follow him on Twitter here.

All photos by Niclas Ruehl

This piece originally appeared in our April 2018 magazine fronted by the mighty Dax J. Check out ten reasons why you should grab a copy while you still can!