The ID&T wizard, in later years only used for the Thunderdome concept
|Genre||Electronic music, hardcore techno and gabber|
|Years active||1992-2012, 2017, 2019|
|Website||The official Thunderdome website|
Thunderdome is a famous concept in hardcore techno and gabber music that was mainly used for a series of parties and CD-albums. It was organized by the Dutch entertainment company ID&T. The first party was organized in 1992 and the party held in December 2012 was advertised as being the end of Thunderdome. However, after the 2012 event, the party was brought back in 2017 for the 25th anniversary with a 2019 edition announced the following year.
Before the Thunderdome concept was started, ID&T organized a big rave called The Final Exam, that was held on 20 June 1992. This was the first attempt to bring hardcore and gabber to a wide audience and the first event organized by ID&T, who would later go on to organize other big dance music events such as Tomorrowland , Mysteryland , and Sensation White, and Black. Later in 1992, they organized the first Thunderdome party, which was simply titled The Thunder Dome, which was held on 3 October 1992 in Heerenveen.
In 1993, ID&T / Arcade Records also started a Thunderdome compilation CD-series with popular gabber music. ID&T also sold other kinds of merchandise such as T-shirts, bomber-jackets, caps and even an energy drink (Thundertaste). The Thunderdome concept was considered important to the popularization and spreading of gabber music during the 1990s.Though it was the biggest and most popular concept in the scene through most of the 1990s, that title is now being rivaled by other events, such as the ones organized by Masters of Hardcore.
In late 1999 ID&T took a break from the Thunderdome concept and stopped producing the parties and CDs. The break lasted until 2001,when they resumed throwing parties and producing CDs. After the restart, one or two parties each year were held. In 2002, the concept for the party was the ten-year anniversary of Thunderdome. A CD that was recorded live at the party and an anniversary DVD were released, both entitled Thunderdome: a Decade. In 2007, the 3-CD set XV: 15 Years Of Thunderdome was released in celebration of Thunderdome's 15th anniversary.
The December 2012 event was advertised as being the end of Thunderdome.An anniversary compilation album was also released. A press release for this album announced that: "It all comes full circle now. It’s time to let Thunderdome become what it always has been: a legend."
On 3 November 2015, ID&T announced that while the Thunderdome concept was retired, they introduced a new similar event called "Thunderdome Die Hard Day" due to massive demand. The event took place on 5 December 2015.On 3 October 2016, the 24th anniversary of the first edition of Thunderdome, ID&T announced a second Die Hard Day event to take place on 3 December 2016 at the Warehouse Elementenstraat in Amsterdam.
At the Dominator Festival on 16 July 2016, a plane with a banner that read "25 Years of Thunderdome - See You in 2017" was seen flying over the festival grounds.The official Thunderdome Facebook page then uploaded a post that read "See you in 2017," which confirmed rumours about a 25th anniversary edition of Thunderdome. After Die Hard Day II, ID&T announced that the third edition would not happen in 2017 due to their preparations for the 25th anniversary edition of Thunderdome. Instead, Die Hard Day III was held on 27 October 2018, again at the Warehouse Elementenstraat.
On 17 February 2017, ID&T released the trailer for the 25th anniversary of Thunderdome, which took place on 28 October 2017 at Jaarbeurs Utrecht.
On 24 July 2018, a plane flew over the festival grounds at the Dominator Festival again, similar to the 2016 festival, with a banner that read "Thunderdome - See you in 2019."This was then followed up with an official trailer uploaded to Thunderdome's official YouTube channel on 30 January 2019, stating that the 2019 edition would take place at Jaarbeurs Utrecht on 26 October 2019.
On 14 October 2019, during the lead-up to the 2019 edition, Thunderdome released a trailer on their YouTube channel about an upcoming documentary titled Thunderdome Never Dies - The Full Story. The 82-minute documentary, produced in conjunction with Deep Thought Productions and 2CFilm, details the history and impact of Thunderdome, including its origins. The documentary was released in theatres in the Netherlands on 14 November 2019.
The Thunderdome CD-series began in 1993. Originally the CD-albums were released by Arcade Records.According to ID&T and Arcade "more than 1.500.000 Thunderdome albums" had been sold worldwide by 1995. In 2000 no album was released since ID&T took a break from the Thunderdome concept. From 2001 onwards the albums were released by ID&T's own record label, and from 2004 onwards by Universal In 2008 the series was handed over to Dance-Tunes.
The last Thunderdome compilation album was released at the end of 2012.
In 1998 there was an attempt to launch a separate Thunderdome series in the US under the Arcade America label, but only one album was released.
When the first Thunderdome album was re-released in 2010, Ben Martijn (a new member of Party Animals) wrote a favorable review on the FOK! website closing with the words "[the album is] full of history and indispensable in the collection of a real hardcore fan!"
Allmusic gave Thunderdome: The Best of '98 3/5 stars.
Because of the popularity of the Thunderdome concept, some artists have made tributes to it in their songs. These are some examples:
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