Lifestyle & Culture

Willeke van Doorn: Celebrate the Dutch summer with these music festivals

Enjoy some music with your feet in the sand at Concert at SEA, get lost in the crowds at Lowlands, dance the night away at Mysteryland or celebrate diversity at Milkshake Festival.

These are the Dutch music festivals that will make this summer (or next!) one to remember!

Did you know the Netherlands has about 800 festivals each year? Amusement parks, cities, beaches and small towns turn into festivals almost every weekend over the summer.

With rock, pop, hip hop, jazz, dance and hardstyle/EDM festivals, there is truly something for everyone.

Check out our Dispatches list of music festivals you should check out this summer!

JUNE


Down the Rabbit Hole
Where: De Groene Heuvels, Beuningen
When: 23 – 25 June

Down the Rabbit Hole is one of Holland’s newest festivals and is taking place for the fourth time this year. It is organized by the same people who put together Lowlands, one of our country’s biggest festivals, and the festival’s ‘little brother’ is just as much fun!

This year, headliners include Massive Attack, Oscar and the Wolf and Bazart.

Festival Mundial
When: 24 – 25 June
Where: Spoorzone, Tilburg

Festival Mundial is a fun music and arts festival that is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. After 20 years at the Leijpark the festival recently moved to the up-and-coming area Spoorzone, right next to Tilburg’s central train station.

Festival Mundial is two days of talented young musicians, fun street artists, and great food.

You can see the full lineup here.

Defqon 1 Festival
Where: Walibi, Biddinghuizen
When: 23 – 26 June

Theme park Walibi Holland is the venue of several music festivals this summer, starting with Defqon.1 this weekend. Defqon.1. is a hardcore and hardstyle music festival that takes place for the 15th time this year.

Concert at SEA
Where: Brouwersdam, Renesse
When: 30 June – 1 July

Concert at SEA has been a great success since its first edition in 2006. Back then it was just a one-day festival, organized by the Dutch band BlØf. More than ten years later, the festival has grown into a weekend-long event with thousands of visitors, which usually sells out months in advance.

As the name suggests, this festival takes places right next to the beach which makes for a magical backdrop. While the sun sets behind the sea, you dance and sing along to the Netherlands’ best bands and artists. Concert at SEA is a really fun family-friendly festival that makes the long drive to Zeeland in the south of the Netherlands more than worth it.

On the bill this year are Chef’Special (which has a million hits in the Netherlands including “Try Again,”) UB40, Anouk, Walking on Cars, Kensington and a band with one of the greatest names ever:  The Dirty Daddies. You can see the full lineup here.

WOO HAH!
When: 30 Juni – 1 july
Where: Tilburg

Slightly surprisingly, one of the Netherlands’ biggest hip-hop festivals of the year does not take place in one of our big cities but in Tilburg. The usually quite calm student town turns into Holland’s hip-hop capital in June’s last weekend when WOO HAH! hits the town.

On the bill are NAS, Gucci Mane, and Travis Scott. You can see the full list here.

JULY

North Sea Jazz
When: 7 – 9 July
Where: Ahoy, Rotterdam

North Sea Jazz is the country’s biggest jazz festival and has a long history dating back to 1976.

Both renowned artists and young talents take the stage at this festival in Ahoy Rotterdam. However, it is not just jazz artists performing at North Sea Jazz.

The lineup features blues, soul, funk, hip-hop and pop music as well. This year, Mary J. Blige, Chick Corea, Bela Fleck, De La Soul and some of the biggest names in jazz are playing, and there are a LOT of acts! The website is pretty good, though it has this interactive thing going on, with each band/performer getting a profile.

De Zwarte Cross
When: 13 – 16 July
Where: Lichtenvoorde

Zwarte Cross is unique as it is not just a music festival, but a motocross event as well. Go figure.

Most of all it is one of this summer’s biggest events.

Last year more than 220,000 people visited the rock festival and this year won’t be any different.

There are still a few tickets available, so be quick if you want to be there!

You can see all the acts here, and info on camping here.

Valkhof Festival
Where: Valkhof Park
When: 15 – 21 July

Valkhof Festival is a yearly event which takes places simultaneously with the Vierdaagsefeesten in Nijmegen. If you are new to the Netherlands, the Vierdaagse is a four-day walking event in which participants walk 30, 40, or 50 kilometers a day throughout the city of Nijmegen and the surrounding areas.

Pretty much the whole city turns into one big party for a week and it is a great event to check out, even if you don’t fancy walking so many miles yourself.

Valkhof Festival is a week-long music festival which takes place in Valkhof Park the same week. The lineup features 120 international and Dutch pop artists.

Oh, and it’s free!

Milkshake Festival
When: 29 – 30 July
Where: Amsterdam

Milkshake is a festival ‘for boys who love girls who love girls who love boys who love boys…’ as the festival posts on their own website.

The festival, which takes places in Amsterdam’s Westerpark, is a joint initiative by AIR and Paradiso, two big nightclubs in Amsterdam. Milkshake is a festival which celebrates diversity and takes place on the same weekend as the Amsterdam Pride.

The lineup includes Less Drama and More Techno from Paris. Again, one of the great names in entertainment. Here’s the entire lineup.

AUGUST

Solar Weekend Festival
Where: 3 – 6 August
When: Roermond

Solar is a four-day festival that takes place in Roermond in the south of the Netherlands. (This is also a great place to go shopping!)  The lineup is a colorful mix of different genres.

What can you expect?

Hundreds of artists, from DJ Summery James to the popular bands Chef’Special and Jett Rebel, and several Dutch and international rappers and hip-hop acts.

Waterpop
When: 11 – 12 August
Where: Hofpark Wateringen

Waterpop is a free, family-friendly music festival in Wateringen, a small town just south of The Hague.

The festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and has grown over those decades from a tiny festival with about 500 attendees to a well-known event that attracts about 25,000 music-lovers every year.

You can see all the acts here.

Lowlands
When: 18 – 20 August
Where: Walibi, Biddinghuizen

One of the Netherland’s most popular festivals takes places in theme park Walibi Holland in the third week of August.

The weekend-long music festival has a great lineup of both national and international arts. Mumford & Sons, ALT-J, Chef’Special (yes, one more time) and Iggy Pop are some of the many acts taking the stage over the weekend.

Mysteryland
When: 26 – 27 August
Where: Haarlemmermeer

Mysterland describes itself as ‘the mother of electronic music festivals’ and has been a part of Dutch festival summers since 1993.

Only a couple of years ago the festival changed from a one-day event to an all-weekend festival.

You can stay on the camping grounds and enjoy the electronic music together with new friends from all over the world in the last weekend of August.

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