The Beauty of Trance – ASOT 850 Utrecht Review

If you could choose one evening of Trance music, where would you go? The answer is undoubtedly A State of Trance Utrecht, the pinnacle of Trance music and the apex of Armin van Buuren‘s ASOT brand. If you’re a massive fan of Trance, this event sits at the top of your bucket list. Catch it all after the jump!

The Venue

ASOT is now a yearly tradition hosted every February in Utrecht. As you can well imagine, February in Holland isn’t the best time to have an outdoor festival so the event is held in doors at the Jaarbeurs. Located less than 500 meters from Utrecht Centraal, the main train station, the venue is absolutely perfect if you want to combine the festival with an extended weekend trip to Amsterdam. Logistically speaking, the organizers of this event did a fantastic job of coordinating additional transportation to and from the venue.

The Jaarbeurs sits on about 25 acres of land, which is quite massive for an indoor facility. A total of 32 thousand people attended ASOT (with another cool 10 million viewers online) yet the venue never felt crammed, a credit to Armin’s team. It’s not easy to pull off a 5-stage indoor event with 40+ artists, but the hosts did it with no major issues.

The Acts

If you take one look at the lineup you will understand why this event is at the top of a Trance fan’s bucket list. Trance has so many different subgenres, whether it be Psy or Progressive, hence why we were treated to five stages. The Psy stage hosted some legendary acts such as Neelix Ace Ventura while the Who’s Afraid of 138 stage was treated to Jorn van Deynhoven Bryan Kearney. Heading over to the Road to 1000 stage we witnessed some of Trance’s upcoming stars, such as Davey Asprey and the young Russian DJ Max Meyer. Lastly, this years’ ASOT edition hosted the inaugural Progressive stage with the likes of Anjunabeats very own Spencer Brown.

These four stages truly showcased the wide variety of talented Trance DJs around the world, but the main focus was always going to be on the Mainstage. Every set on the Mainstage was mesmerizing, something which is attributed to the production. The stage was commanded by a set of circular shaped LED lights suspended directly in front of the DJ, coupled with LED panels suspended in a U-Shape formation enveloping the DJ. To top it all off, the lasers certainly had their way of putting you in a state of trance.

The opening act on the Mainstage was none other than Armin van Buuren, playing a deep, dark warm up set to start off the night. NWYR brought out 9 new songs, and paved the way for an epic 2 hour set from Armin himself. Armin live never ceases to amaze me; his usual 90 minute sets at festivals are great, but giving Armin an additional 30 minutes allows him to showcase his genius abilities. The legend mixed every aspect of Trance into his set, from classics to progressive, to Psy and Big Room. I highly recommend watching the set instead of just listening to the audio, there’s something about seeing Armin’s massive grin (knowing he’s blowing our minds) which gives the utmost satisfaction.


Are you obsessed with Psy yet? Nearly every Mainstage set had Psy mixed in, but we’re not complaining. The Psy genre has gained immense popularity in the last year or two, with the explosion of songs like Great Spirit by Armin & Vini Vici (which happened to be the closing track of Armin’s set).

One trend I’ve noticed at various Trance events is the friendliness of the crowd. The atmosphere from start to finish was consistently peaceful and happy. There’s virtually no pushing and shoving, and everyone has a smile on their face.

Top 5 Sets

  1. Who else would you expect? Armin van Buuren’s 2 hour set takes top prize. The hype surrounding Armin’s set was so big that the mainstage entrance had to be shut nearly one hour before he began playing. Check out the epic end.
  2. Jorn van Deynhoven. For those of you who enjoy an epic, thumping Trance set this is for you.
  3. What a joy it is to have Sander van Doorn go back to his trance roots with his Purple Haze alias. Purple Haze’s ASOT mainstage set was a transcending, dark, beautiful set.
  4. David Gravell‘s set put an epic jolt of energy into the Mainstage crowd. The mix of Big Room Trance & Psy Trance kept the crowd going late into the night.
  5. For our last pick here we go with our favorite Progressive set, Spencer Brown. What an incredible talent this young DJ is.

What’s Next

Next up for the ASOT tour is Ultra Miami on March 25th followed by ASOT Sydney on April 21st. This year’s Utrecht event was the first time the festival was sold out, so make sure to get your tickets for Sydney today.