Your Guide to Festivals around Groningen

Freek Niemeijer 14 June, 2019

Throw your study books into the canal, because summerrrrrr is here! That means an awful lot of free hours and a bunch of big festivals in the North of the Netherlands. So many festivals that you wonder why no fence is being built around Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe, to simply declare this area a party ground for a few months. We’d fully support it!

The North of the Netherlands is full of festivals, and you don’t hear us complain. Older people still like to talk about how the Rolling Stones in 1999 let huge crowds dance in Stadspark, now those times seem to return. Two new festivals with major international names must put Groningen on the map as a festival city again. In short: let’s go crazy! The festivals are in chronological order and only the price of a complete ticket is shown. You can look up all other info yourself, google is your friend.

Oerol Festival
What if there is water all around you and you can’t go anywhere? Party hard! And that is exactly what they do on the island of Terschelling. The island is a beautiful destination anyway, but add a pinch of music, a hint of theatre and a bit of landscape art and BAM, OEROL!
That does mean that Oerol is certainly not an I-rave-in-my-miniscule-hotpants-high-on-x festival. The event is friendly towards young children and old farts. Also in terms of line up. Because yes, you see some solid performances in obscure bars here and there, but it remains a cultural event. Biggest plus: the island as a festival site.

What: culture
When: 14 till 23 June
Where: Terschelling
Price: € 26

Stadspark Live
This year for the first time: Stadspark Live! The one-day event is one of the two brand new spectacles that will take place in Groningen city next summer. Stadspark has a rich history of legendary performances to its name. For example, Mick Jagger and associates shook their hips here decades ago, just like Tina ‘nice hairdo’ Turner.
The bosses at Stadspark Live this year: none other than Sting, Tom Odell, Ronnie Flex, The Specials and the woman with as many hits as children: Anouk. And do you hate humor? Stay at home, dude. The show is presented by comedians Bertje Visscher and Arjen Lubach.

What: music and humour
When: June 22
Where: Stadspark
Price: € 45

MadNes
This three-day party on Ameland is for the well-balanced people. Why, you ask? In addition to ska and other music, the focus during MadNes is mainly on surfing and skating. Sporty types who want to get rid of the calories of the cold beers and greasy fries by riding the waves. From your plate to your board, you could say.
But if you have the balance of a drunk EU chief, MadNes is still an option. After all, watching is also fun. And they offer beginner clinics, so you can learn everything. Moreover, you do not need particularly good motor skills for a few moderate dance steps. Just ask uncle Jack after three beers on my mother’s birthday.

What: music, surf and skate
When: 5 till 7 July
Where: Ameland beach
Price: € 137.50

FestiValderAa
Find a buddy, put on your matching North Face jackets, wear some hiking boots and go! The FestiValderAa is in the middle of the forest, the woods of the province of Drenthe. That’s right, da Dutch jungle. And don’t expect any hard bass, insane techno or ear shattering metal there. No, the FestiValderAa is relaxation everywhere.
What you do find between the leaves: art, culture, easy-listening music and peace. Explore the area while waddling, biking or riding like two idiots on a tandem. Everything is possible, and preferably at a relaxed pace. Tranquilo, tranquilo.

What: art, poetry, culture, music
When: 5 till 7 July
Where: Schipborg
Price: € 27.50

Hongerige Wolf
Ladies and gentlemen, hide your grandmother, Hungry Wolf is coming! No, but seriously, isn’t that a cool name for a festival? It is derived from the village where the event is being held: Hongerige Wolf, which is the Dutch translation of hungry wolf. The festival area: a sheep field. Can you baaaaalieve that?? To make things even more relevant the theatre performances are held in wooden barns.
Don’t expect Tom Jones in a glitter suit here, but rather local theatre performances, art and musical talent. A disappointment? Certainly not. This hidden gem in the polder is a breeding ground for up-and-coming talent.

What: music, art, theatre
When 12 till 14 July
Where: Hongerige Wolf
Price: € 67.50

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Welcome to the Village
Leeuwarden, the capital of Western neighbouring province of Friesland, offers the most environmentally conscious festival in the Netherlands: Welcome to the Village. The name says it all: it really is a village. And what a village it is. Everything breathes sustainability. From organic food and the pursuit of waste-free, to energy-neutral stages and the unwashed armpits of the visitors.
But there’s more. In addition to a host of local and international acts, there are also scientists, artists and other smart geeks around. Everyone with their own show, idea or story, which means there is always something interesting to experience. Pesticide-free cherry on the vegan pie? The terrain is very well decorated and everything takes place in nature park De Groene Ster. That means green star, which is very applicable, because you also seem to get that if you eat organic food for long enough.

What: pop, rock, electronic
When: 18 till 21 July
Where: De Groene Ster, Leeuwarden
Price: € 105.23

Vogelpop
Vogelpop (bird pop) might sound like the excrement of one of our feathered friends, but it really is awesome. Because although they don’t have the coolest bands, the most beautiful stage or the most amazing location, the atmosphere seems to be ridiculously nice.
Hip hop from the U.S. of fucking A, rock from Germany: there is something for everyone here. And you can always smoke a doink, which will guarantee you a great time in the fields of Ansen.

What: pop, rock, hip-hop
When: July 26 & 27
Where: Ansen
Price: € 25

Into the Grave
You never buy Ariel Color detergent, even when it’s for sale? Then the chance is big that you will love Into The Grave. The metal festival is mainly populated by pale, long-haired creatures and the language they speak sounds like growling and grunting. And even more fitting: the campsite is next to the cemetery. Great, if you are into that kind of stuff…
But seriously, this is an amazing metal party. Although the visitors often look dangerous, the atmosphere is pleasant. Even in the pit with bands like Meshuggah and Anthrax, friendships for life will be born. Beer, beards and loud metal. Good luck with that!

What: a lot of metal
When: 9 till 11 August
Where: Leeuwarden city center
Price: € 58.50

Paradigm
Do you always wear sunglasses even when the sun is not shining? Off to Paradigm Festival then! From behind your dark glasses you will experience the wonderful world of techno, house and other electronic sounds. The best names, the hippest DJs and all that in the back garden of Groningen: the Suikerunie area.
There, more bottles of H₂O are sold over the counter on 9, 10 and 11 August than after an average marathon. But that makes perfect sense, because three days of raving is just as impressive as running 42 kilometres, right?

What: electronic
When: 9 til 11 August
Where: Suikerunie area
Price: € 67.50

Noorderzon
Noorderzon is perhaps the best known festival in the list. Ten days of encountering old  acquaintances and drunk conversations on the holiest piece of green in the city: the Noorderplantsoen. With plenty of music, food, art and culture. It’s actually a sort of neighbourhood party that got way out of hand.
Because when the hip tunes bounce over the pond, and the coloured lights adorn the trees, people stagger towards the park. Hipsters with earrings made of peacock feathers. But also bad boys with joints between their lips and cheap beers in a plastic bag. The festival is really for everyone.
One look at the programme will make it clear: theatre, music and art will cost you some bucks, but there is plenty to do for absolutely free. And also nice: you are just five minutes walking from the city centre, so every night when the music stops, you can do an afterparty.

What: music, theatre, art
When: 15 to 25 August
Where: Noorderplantsoen
Price: sometimes free, sometimes not

Psy-Fi
Psy-trance doesn’t give you a hard-on? That does not necessarily have to be a reason to skip Psy-Fi. Because although they play a ridiculous amount of repetitive electronic psy tunes here, this is also an orgasmic experience for your eyes. Oh yes, oh yes, OHW YAAAH!Nature park De Groene Ster will be transformed into a colourful dream world for this occasion. A spectacle of awesome stages, weird art objects, and weirdly dressed,  spiritual hippies from all over Europe. Basically a mushroom trip without the mushrooms. Or with our fungi friends, of course.

What: dreaming while you are awake
When: August 28 till September 1
Where: De Groene Ster, Leeuwarden
Price: € 105.11

Hullabaloo Festival
Sounds like a chewing gum brand from the nineties, doesn’t it? Hullabaloo is a brand new festival, right in the heart of Groningen’s big city park Stadspark. And this first edition is supposed to really rock the city. With big acts, awesome decoration and a quirky village feeling. ‘Actually a kind of intimate version of Sziget’, according to the organization.
There will be four stages with pop, electronic, hip hop and crossover. If it’s really going to rock the city? Probably not, because most of the artists fall into the categories dance, hiphop and pop.  Robin Schultz, Craig David and Lost Frequencies will make you wanna dance, the rest of acts will be a great introduction to Dutch popular music.

What: pop, electronic, hip hop
When: 29 to 31 August
Where: Stadspark
Price: €68,50