At the turn of the millennium, hardcore was beginning to reach its commercial peak. Having soundtracked the 90s European rave scene, the genre needed to reinvent itself, and artists such as Luna and The Prophet started experimenting during sets, turning down the BPM and also introducing something called a "reverse bass", which is essentially created by flipping round the kick drum beat.
Despite this new sound taking on many of the traits of hardcore, its new direction was christened hardstyle due to its nuanced characteristics, and has gone onto become one of the most prominent sub-genres of EDM since its Dutch inception.
To celebrate the scene's continued growth, we have a run down of the top festivals for hardstyle on the current circuit, all of which are guaranteed to have your hearts racing and fists pumping in no time.
#10 Insane Festival
Festival lineup: I Hate Models, Boston 168, Regal, SP23
Embracing all aspects of electronic music, Insane's all-out 12 hour indoor/outdoor rave ramps up its hardstyle credentials with a stage dedicated to the genre.
When & where: 10-11 August 2019, Apt, France
#9 Imagination Festival
Festival lineup (2018): Maduk, Evil Activities, Gunz For Hire, Zatox, The Prototypes, Emperor, Macky Gee, The Upbeats
In a country that has become a hotbed for drum & bass, there is naturally no shortage of that genre on this Czech festival's lineup.
However Imagination also dedicates a stage to harder styles, with some of the scene's biggest names ensuring high BPMs across the board.
When & where: November 2019, Prague, Czech Republic
#8 Ground Zero
Festival lineup (2018): Partyraiser, The Destroyer, The Sickest Squad, Thrasher
Pounding through a night-long journey to each and every corner of hardstyle, Ground Zero will be making a stop at hardcore, early hardcore, freestyle, raw hardstyle and all the industrial genre twists in between.
Set inside a dense forest beside the enchanting Bussloo Lake, Ground Zero's seven stages and pulsating pyros will leave you emerging a different person.
When & where: 31 August 2019, Bussloo, Netherlands
Festival lineup (2018): Wildstylez, The Sickest Squad, Partyraiser, Tha Playah, Art of Fighters, Ran-D, Frontliner, F. Noize
Toxicator is very clear in its musical focus; strictly hardcore, hardstyle and hardtechno. Each genre has it's own dedicated stage in Mannheim's famous Mainmarkethalle, and all three stages are packed from start to finish with the scene's leading lights.
When & where: December 2019, Mannheim, Germany
#6 Hard Island
Festival lineup (2018): Angerfist, Warface, Miss K8, Coone, Zatox, Art of Fighters, Code Black, Da Tweekaz
While hardstyle normally brings to mind northern or central Europe, Hard Island takes the sounds to altogether warmer climbs; in the glorious Croatian sunshine of Novalja's famous Zrće Beach.
Since launching in 2015, the festival has inhabited the resort's iconic clubs for a week in summer, welcoming an impressive array of hardstyle talent.
When & where: July 2019, Novalja, Croatia
#5 Syndicate Festival
Festival lineup (2018): Angerfist, Radical Redemption, Miss K8, Destructive Tendencies, Partyraiser, Tha Playah, Dr. Peacock, N-Vitral
Germany's self-appointed 'Ambassadors in Harder Styles' have been bringing the biggest of beats to Dortmund for over a decade.
Four spectacularly eye-catching stages and more than 50 acts make the 11-hour party a true hardstyle hotspot.
When & where: October 2019, Dortmund, Germany
Festival lineup (2018): Warface, Wildstylez, Radical Redemption, Noisecontrollers, Coone, Atmozfears, Evil Activities, Fequencerz
The offspring of mega hardstyle promoters Q-dance, Germany's Q-Base has been running since 2004 and has now achieved legendary status.
Taking place on an air-base, the festival runs through the day and night with 10+ stages exploring every possible angle and variation of hardstyle music.
When & where: September 2019, Weeze, Germany
Festival lineup (2018): Coone, Dr. Peacock, Wildstylez, Phuture Noize, Bass Modulators, Sub Zero Project, Villain, Sound Rush
The original hardstyle event, Qlimax was the reason Q-dance took on the genre as their brand.
After a run of successful nights back in the early 2000s, the Dutch promoters just knew what they had was going to be huge, and it was true.
Since then, Qlimax has continued to be at the scene's forefront, and is now officially the biggest indoor hardstyle event in the world.
When & where: November 2019, Arnhem, Netherlands
#2 Decibel Outdoor Festival
Festival lineup (2018): Brennan Heart, Miss K8, Headhunterz, Da Tweekaz, Noisecontrollers, Atmozfears, Wildstylez, Angerfist
A genuine contender for the crown, Decibel is increasingly convincing hardstyle fans acorss the globe that it could be the best there is. Year on year the festival offers almost unparalleled lineups, production and atmosphere, all in the nation of the genre's birth.
When & where: 16-18 August 2018; Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands
Festival lineup (2018): Headhunterz, Radical Redemption, Angerfist, Miss K8, Destructive Tendencies, Atmozfears, Noisecontrollers, Wildstylez
Rounding things off: the most famous, well-loved and still the ultimate.
Over a decade of earth-shattering beats and sky-splitting visual effects, Defqon.1 has risen up as the biggest and greatest harder styles gathering on the planet.
The fire has spread to Santiago de Chile and Sydney, though Q-dance's spirit and atmosphere will never find another home quite like the Netherlands.
When & where: 28-30 June 2019, Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
Already got those fists pumping? Why not check out Festicket's full range of hardstyle festivals.