BELTEK 2003 to 2017
BelTekers! Welcome home!
It all started in the winter of 2002 way up in the midcoast area of Maine…
…Rick (DJ Psydways) had been hosting a radio show at WERU-FM in Blue Hill Maine for about a year. His show, The Track Lab, was a Saturday-evening/night progressive modern music show that typically wrapped up with a recorded mix of various styles of electronic music popular at the time. A new radio host for the station, Erik (DJ Marquard), was given the overnight spot Saturday nights into Sunday mornings (immediately after Rick’s) and thus they would become the perfect duo for bringing underground electronic music to the Saturday overnight radio waves in Midcoast Maine.
For several months, it was just Rick and Erik. Then gradually the two began to invite their DJ friends out to the station. Folks like Lester (DJ Illogik/Moniker) and Amanda (DJ Alchera) of the Home Planet Team – who had already been doing events in the region since the mid 90’s; Dan (DJ Seratto) and Tom (DJ Manafest/Dubsapiens) of Digital Emissions – another late 90’s Midcoast crew; as well as Kristian (DJ KTF), Brendan (DJ Unity), Jefferson Hobbs, and others from the infamous Lemon House up at UMaine Orono. They’d hang out on Saturday nights and have all-night mixing parties at the station.
Sooner or later a discussion arose regarding organizing an event like the “outlaw parties” that had been happening in Maine at the time. We all agreed that it would be great to find a legal spot out in the country where we could do the same kind of thing, but not risk being shut down. HHmmmmmm… Rick had just such a property…an 18 acre parcel in glorious Belmont, Maine, that would be perfect!!
That summer, on a cool August evening, the first ever BelTek was thrown! It was a tiny little free thing, little more than a party of friends. Maybe 40 or 50 people showed up and with a borrowed sound system, a 10×10 screen tent, a campfire, and a couple ‘a picnic tables, they mixed and partied until sunrise…
By 2007, the event was becoming big enough that it was time to move to the next step. A second night was added, and the scope was enlarged to a full-fledged festival, incorporating a variety of music styles, arts, vendors, and performances. An event that had until then attracted maybe 300 people at most, had grown to near 1500 and was bursting at the seams!
In 2008 Jen (popgirl23) of Mama’s House and the infamous Galanta crew, and Kait (Kait-Ma) were brought on board to help when a few of the original members moved on. They joined Rick, Erik, Dan, Amanda, Tommy, Tommy’s wife Carrie (DJ Calisticality) and now also Tom’s brother Tim (DJ T.Correy) – of Florida’s Dubsapiens, with putting on the BelTek events.
Now the team was ready to up the ante as 2008’s massive influx of heads changed the nature of how we would plan BelTek in the years to come.
BelTek 2009 (aka #MudTek) turned out to be the largest, most attended yet and hosted international acts such as “Superstar DJ” John B from the UK, Grand Wizard Theodore the “Inventor of the Scratch”, New York City’s Drum n Bass pioneers DB & Dara, and the “Bass Queen” herself – Reid Speed from Los Angeles.
With over 2000 in attendance throughout the weekend, and the spectacle of having to hire a full construction crew in the middle of the night to build a new access road right into the field in response to all that mud, Belmont, Maine was finally on the nation’s electronic music scene map and BelTek was now legendary!
Needing to give the land a rest and the neighbors a break, we decided to try an indoor BelTek (aka #IndoorTek) in 2010 at Port City Music Hall in Portland, Maine which was unfortunately less successful than we anticipated. Though we brought in a stellar line-up of favorites like Jen Mas, Venom, Nicky Twist & Dali, B.Rich, and Udachi plus a slew of others, the indoor venue just didnt feel like a proper BelTek…
The next summer we needed to do something for a reunion but we were not ready yet for another big event. Nevertheless we decided on a smaller, invite-only weekend (aka – #SecretTek or “Roots”) in Belmont for 2011. Super chill, super dope. It was a nice reminder of BelTek’s roots and of how much better bass sounds when it’s under the full moon and starry skies of a Maine summer night.
We brought BelTek proper back home to Belmont again in the 2012. Attempting to out-due 2009’s epic-ness, we added a second stage, and welcomed the “Godfather of American Rave” DJ Frankie Bones, along with new-comers Hot Pink Delorian, FS, and JRabbit.
Although BelTek 2012 (aka #HolyShitTek) was a great success from a attendance standpoint, much of the shenanigans that went on caused us again to reconsider how we would go about holding future BelTeks at the Belmont property.
In 2013 BelTek Foundation formed, and took the show on the road. Rick and crew brought a slice of BelTek to the first Great North Festival in Norwidgewock, Maine. By setting up a third-stage area called “The Neighborhood” (aka #FakeTek) we were able keep the spirit of BelTek alive for one more year while we continued to ruminate over the future of the original BelTek Festival…
After much deliberation, we made the tough decision to make 2014 an invite-only event (aka #HomieTek). The rise in popularity of EDM-type festivals around the country had unfortunately attracted some unwanted behaviors, and we felt that if we wanted to continue enjoying a relaxing summer weekend with like-minded folks grooving to those dope electronic beats, this was what we had to do.
2014’s BelTek went off damm near perfect!
Fantastic vibes, loving people, and great music from everyone – and most certainly from our headliners; UK Dubstep producer AMIT, and Bunny of Rabbit In The Moon. It was SUCH a success that we had to do it again!
BelTek 2015 was a wonderful repeat of 2014, but with the bonus of bringing in some fresh blood to the BelTek inner circle. We officially brought in Adam (DJ Split The Adam) after countless years of volunteering for the thankless job of trash detail, as well as Dan (Turd Ferguson, and Frank & Turd fame) and his other half Annie, plus Johnny (DJ Slamminsalmon) & Raychill helping with event ambience & decor.
For music that year we brought in west coast Deep House producer Sunshine Jones from Dubtribe Soundsystem, and “The Godfather of Drum and Bass” DJ Aphrodite from the UK to rock this place down. Best of all was there were absolutely no shenanigans, just happy people grooving out with each other and enjoying a Maine weekend …except for that 15 minute thunder-squal (#StormTek)!
In 2016 we decided to open up admission yet again to the general public.
Our booked headliners were Alex from the DnB duo EZ Rollers from the UK, progressive house dj Quivverfrom Los Angeles, old-school DnB dj Sage from Belfast Northern Ireland, Queensyze from Vancouver, Canada, and our old friend M07s (originally from New Hampshire now living in Los Angeles).
But sadly tragedy struck. Rick’s house burned to the ground during his set on Saturday afternoon! Attendees were forced to watch helplessly as our dear friend’s family home went up in flames (despite some heroic efforts involving garden hoses, fire extinguishers, and 5 gallon buckets run up from the bonfire area!). Thankfully & miraculously no one was hurt. Needless to say the event was cut short and ended before the second night could happen.
What could have simply been a tragic end to things, instead brought out an outpouring of love and support that really brought the extended BelTek family together! Like a phoenix rising from the ashes BelTek 2017 happened. Understandably smaller in size, headliners for that year were long-time New England favorites Osheen, Chuck Caseroc, Pat Fontes, and many of our local friends. This was a beautiful wind-down for a series of events that helped bring the Maine electronic music scene together with lots of smiles, friendships made, and lives forever beautifully changed.