Highlight of the year…

The events and circumstances of this weekend are the trigger to write this blogpost about festivals. Obviously there were the sad events in Belgium at Pukkelpop, a lot of my friends are currently at the Lowlands festival in the Netherlands and yesterday I volunteered at the Magneetfestival in Amsterdam.

The Magneetfestival is a new type of festival, for me at least. It’s loosely based on the Burning Man festival  and focuses a lot on crowd sourcing. Artists can submit an idea in any art form, the audience can vote and the ideas with the most votes gets to actually be a part of the festival line up. There are huge art installations, dj’s who created their own space, poets who recite their work etc. The festival aims to be completely environmentally friendly and thrives on the work of volunteers. It had a bit of a hippy feel to it yesterday, but I had a great time and met some very friendly people.

I’m not much of a festival visitor anymore really (especially not festivals that last longer than a day), but they used to be the highlight of my year. I think I was about 14 years old when I first went to the Dynamo Open Air festival, a massive  metal/hard rock/punk/hardcore festival that was held annually near where my parents live. It was always a bit of a family reunion, as usually my uncle and aunt, some cousins, my father,  my sister and my brother would be there. The festival unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore, but I went there for a good few years in a row and always had a blast!

The other festival I visited a lot of times is Lowlands. First for pleasure, later for a mix of business and pleasure when I started working in the music business. I think that I’ve attended Lowlands over 10 times and again, I always had a great time. Although those early years were the best, when it wasn’t that busy yet. Other festivals I’ve visited over the years include the Roskilde festival in Denmark, Pukkelpop in Belgium, Oxegen in Ireland and Rock Werchter in Belgium (and dozens of other, mostly smaller festivals).

It’s hard to comprehend that five kids, for whom the Pukkelpop festival was probably the highlight of their year, will never come back from that festival. People go to a festival to have an amazing time, to dance, to party, to socialize,  they don’t go to a festival to die. May they rest in peace.