I made a last minute decision to attend a festival in Amsterdam. The Netherlands is home to so many world-class DJ’s so I thought it would only be appropriate to check out what their festival scene is like. I have to say it’s a lot different from those in America.
The festival was in the Amsterdam Bos, or in english, the “Amsterdam Forest.” It is one of the national forests of the Netherlands and it is beautiful. I rented a bike to get the festival and biked 17km (~10 miles) from my campsite to the festival site. I had to bike almost all across the forest, which was nice! I saw a lot of trees, a kiddie pool, lots of dogs, soccer games, and loads of other bikers. I talked to some people who said they walked 4-6km within the forest to get to the festival. Not a lot of transportation options.
For a one day festival, they did very well! The stages were pretty cool looking, definitely representing the “day at the park” theme. The sound bleed was bad in some areas of the park, but if you were at a particular stage is wasn’t bad at all. The festival ended at 23:00, but the sun only goes down around 22:00. I didn’t stay for the end of the festival, but I would imagine it didn’t really get dark. Most festivals in America that I’ve been to are at least 1/3 of the time in the dark.
This was the park that was most different from an American festival. Not in a bad way, just different. The crowd was definitely much older, with most people looking to be in their 30s and 40s, maybe even 50s. Sure most of them were drinking, but I definitely saw a few older folk look a little out of whack, like alcohol was not the only thing they were consuming. Since the crowd was older, the whole “fight for the front” thing was practically non-existent. Fedde Le Grande was headlining and I stood at the front for a while grooving and there were only 5-10 people on their rail and the front section was only about 80% full. The crowd in general wasn’t hardcore and more-so chill and just wanted to groove.
It was good, but made for finding people my age a little more difficult. I hung out with couple of girls my age for a while, but soon I got the feeling they didn’t want me around any longer… so I went off on my own. I sat on a beanbag and introduced myself to the guy next to me. Him and his friends were a little off their rocker, but still friendly and fun. They invited to see Franky Rizardo, a dutch DJ who is working his way up. His mix was great!
The festival cost me 55 Euro for one day, or around $62 USD. Not bad for one day. The cost AT the festival though… a little confusing. Instead of paying cash or card, you buy credits. Each credit costs 2.86 euro, so for 10 euro you get 3.5 credits. Soft drinks cost 1 credit, you get .25 L. Beer (Heineken) costs 1 credit for .20L. More for the nicer alcohol and nicer beer.
.20 L ~ 6.75 fl oz
.25 L ~ 8.5 fl oZ
12 fl oz ~ .35 L
16 fl oz ~ .50 L
2.86 Euro is $3.16. About $6 for a serving of alcohol. A little on the steep side for a smaller festival like this, but with the credit system it’s hard to figure out how much you’re actually spending.
Food was anywhere from 2.5 credits to 5 credits depending on what you got. Fairly reasonable.
The biggest rip off though, was a 4 in popsicle for one credit. I was expecting one of those large rocket popsicles, but this was less than half the size. Europeans like their serving portions smaller, I guess I’m still not used to that.
I’m happy I went. It was a good day, a fun bike ride, and great music! I went into a photo booth thing and invited the girl I was talking to in line to take photos with me. Good times.