interview by SAMO ŠAJN

Mer Hajbarati is the co-founder and owner of Verknipt festival, a renowned music event known for its vibrant atmosphere and stellar lineups. With a passion for curating unforgettable experiences, Mer has helped Verknipt become a cornerstone of the global techno music scene.

Mer, as the co-founder and owner of Verknipt, what inspired the creation of this festival?

Our journey didn’t start quite as we are now, but the inspiration has remained constant: to provide the ultimate party experience as envisioned by Verknipt. About four years ago, we observed the growing popularity of hard techno and felt compelled to act. With a shared passion for the genre, we took a bold leap and shifted our focus. Yet, our fundamental inspiration remains unchanged from our earliest days: to craft a welcoming environment where diverse individuals can unite, revel in an extraordinary party, and freely express themselves. That core ethos will always guide us.

Verknipt has evolved over a decade into a global powerhouse. Can you walk us through this exhilarating journey?

It’s surreal to reflect on our decade-long journey, witnessing the remarkable progress and our current capabilities. As mentioned earlier, our beginnings were different. Initially rooted in house and techno, we made a strategic pivot towards hard techno four years ago, driven by our unwavering belief in its potential. Despite previous success, we recognized the resonance of hard techno and doubled down on it. The results have been astounding; exponential growth, expanding across borders, and fostering a tight-knit Verknipt community. It’s gratifying to see our attendees form connections both offline and online, transforming Verknipt into a global family bonded by a shared love for (hard) techno.

With a presence in over 20 events across 11 countries and multiple continents, Verknipt is a major player in the global hard techno market. What’s next on the horizon?

Believe me when I say, we’re just scratching the surface. We have ambitious plans, including expanding to new countries and exploring more experiential offerings. This summer, we’re launching the inaugural Verknipt Holiday Festival in Croatia, promising five days of boat parties, beach clubs, and sunshine. We’re also venturing into South America, with upcoming events in Chile and Colombia, tapping into their immense potential. And mark your calendars for our biggest show yet at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam this summer, set to be the largest hard techno rave in history with an estimated 40,000 attendees. The future is brimming with possibilities!

Do you have a standout event or one you’re particularly proud of?

It’s like choosing a favorite child, isn’t it? While every event holds a special place, some stand out more vividly. The Verknipt ArenA show on July 20th is bound to be unforgettable. It’s not just about that single night; it’s a culmination of years of hard work and dedication that the Verknipt brand represents. It’s tough to pinpoint a single favorite, but what’s truly fulfilling is traveling the world with my colleagues, sharing our passion, and connecting with an ever-expanding audience. I’m immensely grateful for where we are today.