The first rays of sunlight are slowly starting to seep through and all of Holland’s cafe terraces are filled to the brim within a second. The Dutch are an opportunistic kind of people when it comes to weather, especially when the weather is actually good. It’s no surprise then that dance music lovers across the country are counting down the days to the first festival they get to visit this season. As the choice has increased yet again this year, it’s getting harder and harder to take a pick.
That’s why we’ve lined up some of the coolest festivals coming up this spring and summer. Whether it’s the divinely selected line-up, a fantastic location or special care for culture and side programming: these are the events making a difference this year.
After three hugely successful club years featuring some true legends from the house and techno scene, this year finally was the time for Toffler to expand onto the festival scene.And from what it looks like we can expect some great things from this Rotterdam-based festival.
A long-standing, prominent name in Amsterdam’s festival scene, WTTF delivers every year by creating a balanced festival experience on ‘t Twiske terrain with lots of different sounds and stages to choose from. Noteworthy artists this year: Green Velvet, Martinez Brothers, Seth Troxler and Len Faki. What’s not to like?
Straf_Werk’s throw at success in the festival scene hasn’t gone unnoticed. After two sold-out editions the event has carved out a spot in the busy market by delivering on the essentials that have made their club events so popular along the years as well. This year will see another big list of headlining acts to look forward to, like Jamie Jones, Hot Since 82, Henrik Schwarz, Julio Bashmore, Noir, Huxley, KiNK and many more.
On the 6th of June, Arnhem-based Free Your Mind Festival is celebrating its 12th edition, placing them among some of the longest-running dance festivals of the Netherlands. The first names that were confirmed include some serious headliners, including Seth Troxler, Jamie Jones, Art Department and Butch.
The organization has stood for “freedom and creativity” along the years, and these aspects are well-represented throughout the festival they say. More info on what exactly this will entail will be revealed in the run-up to the event. The location of Free Your Mind is one of its unique features: at the bank of the Rhine, with the Eusebius Church and the historical John Frost Bridge as a backdrop, the terrain will be transformed into a cozy environment. By popular demand. the stage right under the John Frost Bridge will make its return this year as well.
Translated word for word, Buiten Westen essentially signifies the outgoing, spirited and spontaneous vibe and crowd that want to shrug all their problems off their shoulders and like true hedonists seize the day for every second its got. WesterPark tasks the festival with freedom to chain together various elements of which they’re strongly influenced. It’s much like a fairy tale where each minuscule detail refers back to what the organizers strongly believe in. The wilderness, the open space, their choice of artists or even carnival rides are taken as an opportunity to project their vision. No-brainers this year are Lil Louis, Italojohnson, Culoe De Song, Kerri Chandler and Delano Smith.
Lente Kabinet has become much more than a prelude to its internationally acclaimed big brother Dekmantel. During the one-day festival in May, the organization exerts the same passionate programming, characterized by a selection of unique international headliners and the finest home-grown artists. Biggest favourite this year comes in the form of revered Chilean pioneer Nicolas Jaar.
Vrijland has established itself as one of the coolest festivals in the city due to its care-free approach and philosophy, which apparently has landed perfectly with the ever-more picky Amsterdam festival crowd. With proper care for music, culture and food, Vrijland has proven to be a welcome addition in the spring festival roster.
The hippie vestibule known as Ruigoord will see the return of the free-spirited Georgie’s Wuntergarten, after last year’s debut edition. Next to the exquisite line-up, featuring names as Soul Clap, Gerd Janson, Genius Of Time, Session Victim, Paul Woolford and Rahaan, Georgie has also invited a wide range of volunteers who will take care of the cultural side programming.
The yearly festival opener sets the bar even higher this year with an 80+ line-up consisting of some of the hottest acts in the scene this day, obscure artists that are bound to make a big impact in the near future and Amsterdam favourites as the capable foundation at every stage. This year DGTL Art and Revolution will be playing an even greater role during Easter weekend, showing the organizers efforts to create a long-lasting and rich festival experience.
Dekmantel needs little introduction anymore in 2015. The distinctive high-quality production of one of Holland’s biggest underground festivals started to skyrocket last year after their high placement in RA’s international festival top 10. This led to a huge chunk of the tickets being sold outside of the Netherlands and thereby solidifying Dekmantel’s international aspirations. This year will see another mouthwatering program, ranging from Dekmantel’s recurring favourites like Robert Hood, Marcel Dettmann and Jeff Mills to promising local and international artists.
Pièce de résistance this year is without a doubt the appearance of funk don Roy Ayers. Also, this year the festival will be expanded with an extra opening night in Muziekgebouw Aan ‘t IJ, where you can get into the right spirit, Dekmantel-style, with electronic concerts by Autechre (live) and Manuel Göttsching. If last year was a precursor for 2015, we can only assume that from July 30th to August 2nd Amsterdam will again be the Mecca for lovers of quality dance music.
We’re aware of the fact that there are more events that deserve a spot in this list, but don’t really fit into this list. That’s why we will return with a top 10 focused more on promising newcomers and smaller scale festivals that deserve attention just as much.