During the cold winter months, there is nothing better than to plan the next summer. As I was deciding where to go and what to see, my girlfriend gave me an interesting idea – let´s go see Liquicity Festival in the Netherlands. I have never been close-minded and after seeing last year’s line-up, I knew this wasn’t all just about liquid drum and bass. It was decided and we headed up there not only for the festival but also to visit Amsterdam. After many experiences with CZ/SK open-air parties, I tried to pack half of my belongings into one tiny car. Little did I know that wasn’t necessary at all.
Welcome to the Galaxy of Dreams
For the first time, the festival took place for three days, though it was a little unconventional for me that the third extra day wasn’t Thursday but Sunday. We arrived on Thursday night, with plans to camp in a little forest near the area. Our plans changed as soon as we saw open parking space, thanks to which we were one of the first 100 people in front of the gates on Friday morning. This gave us a chance to see the camping site untouched.
At first sight, I knew this was a special place. You could see sheep and horses peacefully chilling on both sides of the area, which was a beautiful sight however it didn’t do well to the state of the parking space. The capacity of the camping area seemed to me to be for around 10,000 people, which in my opinion cannot be considered to be something big. After entering the festival zone it took us around 10-15 minutes of brisk walking to arrive there.
The biggest highlight for us was the camping shop. One could find there anything from an inflatable cushion, instant coffee or even toothbrush. This was also the place you could go to for anything about the cashless system. A big plus for me were machines for charging credit through credit cards, thanks to them I never waited more than 10 minutes to get more money.
All around the camping shop were locker boxes and also a big Food court, which had its gates open every time I came there during the night. One could always find something that fits their needs 24/7. My only bad experience was with Quesadilla, which according to some people is just microwaved cheese in a tortilla .
50 meters from our tents were daily activities thanks to which you could pass the time during the three already very short days. There was a huge swimming pool with a slide, 4 regularly cleaned hot tubs (for free!), volleyball court, ping-pong, petang.. If you are like me and like to relax during the day before dancing all night you could lay comfortably in a hammock. Basically, everyone found what they needed and wanted in the campsite.
Something that intrigued us was Kartents. These were tents made from recycled cardboard. They withstood even heavy rain on Saturday, during which we were walking in mud up to our ankles. After the festival is over they are not thrown away but given to the homeless. The whole festival was very eco-friendly and not only did you get money back for cups but also plastic bottles.
Since this was the first festival I have traveled to outside of CZ/SK, I expected the prices to be higher. Most of them were understandable but some things just didn’t make sense to me. Let’s say that for food you paid 2-3.5 LIQ (5.7-10€), which I consider to be completely fine, however, a liter of Coca-Cola cost you 3.5 LIQ (10 €) and for one apple we were charged 1 LIQ (2.85€). What also surprised me was the logic behind beer prices. It was better for you to buy 0.33L for 1 LIQ (2.85€) than a 0.5L, which was for 2 LIQ (5.7 €)
What balanced it out though was the fact that one could bring an unlimited amount of food and liquids into the area. The limit for drinks was 4L, but if one didn’t bring a whole lot of beer but instead Coca-Cola or juice, no one had a problem to let you pass even on the third day. The quality of food, services and a huge variety of choices exceeded everything that I have yet seen on festivals.
Services deserve a special chapter on their own. The constant presence of the organization team in the area looking for things to improve speaks for itself. As a further demonstration of their willingness to improve serves this board:
We felt it all throughout the festival. As we found out, people in the Netherlands are extremely nice and willing to help one out by nature. This just reinforced the variety of services available at the festival and also the way organization team handled difficult situations. Here I would like to mention their solution to problems that arose during Saturday’s heavy rain. While on Saturday we had to “fight” the mud up until our ankles, on Sunday morning we had wooden pallets paving the way. The area was taken care of and the muddy ground moved aside. Wooden flooring was on every important passage, except for a few muddy souvenirs one could hardly remember the muddy nightmare from the day before.
Liquicity has been using the cashless system for years now. Since I have experience with it only from Let It Roll, it’s hard to make many comparisons. One of the plus sides is the ability to recycle your card and use it next year again. However, the fact that you use a card to pay defeats one of the main reasons for the cashless system. Since one of the benefits of having this system is walking around without cash, in order to pay you had to carry around a card.
It would be up for a bigger debate if manufacturing every year new chips for bracelets creates more waste than the Liquicity system, in which you can recycle the card each year but also have a higher chance of losing it.
Either way, the system was quick, reliable and easy to manage. None of us had any trouble with getting more money on the card even though it was all in the Netherland language.
Other than stages, the area offered plenty of different activities. For 70 cents one could ride a small ferry, throw themselves into the ball pool, play whack-a-mole or even play Mario Karts or Tekken on Nintendo. If you´re not into games, there was a place you could lie down and watch documentaries about animals or try out something new in the ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) stand. There was something to do for the whole day.
Another thing I´d like to point out are the lines. Actually, they´re not. There weren’t any … ??? Well, you know what I mean. In the camping site and festival area, there were just as many food stands as on LIR, which is around 3-4x bigger. The biggest waiting time for food was in the morning when the festival area wasn’t open yet. That was the case mostly for burgers though. There we waited around 20-25 minutes. Otherwise, it took no more than 5 minutes to get our food.
When we talk about services, we can’t forget about Hygiene. This was the first time in my life when I was content with it. The showers cost 1 LIQ (2.85€) but one had privacy in the cabin with warm water. Problems with water in the showers arose only on the last day. Drinking water was available throughout the whole festival without a single problem. Toilets were also squeaky clean the whole time and not once have I been in need of toilet paper. In the festival area, one could even find deodorant and sweets in the exit of the toilet corner. Details like this could’ve been found all over the festival, that’s how we know it was organized with love.
At the entry to the festival, they focused solely on the backpacks and if you didn’t empty your pockets, they got curious about them as well. The control took however only a few seconds thanks to which no waiting line was created at the entrance. They also surprised me with their approach, always trying to help when possible. For example, our friend lost her phone and one guy from SBS went with her to look for it in a closed section for half an hour because she located it there through Find my iPhone. Most of the guys did their job with a smile and friendly approach which didn’t cause you an irrational fear as it is common in most other festivals.
As you might have already found out from the introductory paragraph, I do enjoy liquid but I am not an extremely big fan. The idea of spending three days in the soft and soothing world of liquid DNB scared my dark soul a little bit. It didn’t have to.
Since there were a lot of restrictions from the city, the musical program took place during the day. It started at around lunch and lasted till midnight on all stages. After a short pause (so your ears could adapt) music continued on one of the stages in low volume until 3:00 and on Silent Disco (more about that lower) until 5:00. It was evident that this solution was carefully designed in a way that tried to accommodate not only the guests or people living near but also unstoppable raver.
Timetable and stages were thought out in an interesting way. There were 5 places where one could come to for music, plus a Ball-pit stage, which I didn’t go to so its mysteries are still hidden from me. There were 3 main stages. Galaxy, where the biggest names performed, Lunar, in which the production turned more into the deep and darker spectrum of DNB and Solar, which was home to dancefloor and liquid. One could also find a Nebula Stage, which didn’t have any official timetable nor released line-up. What made it interesting were things like Edlan jump-up set or Pythius rollers & liquid set. Anytime you came there you could find something bizarrely interesting or a headliner set on a stage for 250 people (there was never a problem with having room to dance though).
A chapter on its own is Silent Disco. I believe this is a reaction to the various sound regulations of the area. It is an unusual concept, which for an outsider may look rather ridiculous. Everyone, including the DJ have headphones on their heads and listen to what is being played. Without the headphones, there is… “quiet”. Except for all the out-of-tune attempts at chorus and humming to the beat. That is exactly what makes the silent disco so interesting.
What made it even more special was Liquicity family. This is exactly where the family-like friendships between the artists were evident. There was not line-up, everyone played when they felt like it and with whom they wanted. The highlight for me was the end of the second day when I enjoyed T & Sugah B2B Pythius B2B Feint at sunrise.
Musically, this festival surprised me by its variety. If you wanted you had no problem to see soft liquids, energetic dancefloor, Neurofunk, Deep or even Jump-up in one day. Intriguing was the fact that several headliners had more than one set time. In the end, I found it actually to be a great thing, since I didn´t have to rush from one stage to another as I knew, that I will get a chance to see everyone even if it is not at that moment.
I was pleasantly surprised by every aspect of music at this festival. It’s not all dedicated to liquid subgenre at all. Anyone who is open-minded in a musical sense can have time of their life. The fact that it was taking place didn’t hurt the festival at all, quite the opposite. Everyone who wanted could charge their batteries during the night and that was also visible on people after three days of party.
Atmosphere, mentality & final words
The feeling this festival gave us is unforgettable. Even though we planned this as a one time adventure, I can now say with full confidence that we will be back next year. It is a festival, in which everyone tries to accommodate your needs and when you need help a stranger will stop by willing to do anything for you. Festival, during which you don’t have to worry about leaving your iPhone in the tent because nobody will steal it from you.
Especially, this festival is a place where you feel comfortable, give yourself into the hands of professionals that do it with a passion. This is a place, which I would go to rather than somewhere, where its all just about getting money from guests (looking your way, summer Rampage).