European festivals. They come in all shapes of sizes. Sure you have probably heard of Glastonbury and Tomorrowland, the mothers of all European festivals but there are so many others deserving of your festival punting ways. Think outside the box and put your tickets on these festivals for a fun time and er, good music of course!
Pukkelpop Hasselt, Belgium
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, this right of passage for Belgies alike and three-day festival affair offers a bunch of alternative music genres to get your fists pumping, hips thrusting or head bopping to. This years’ headlining acts included James Blake, Major Lazer, Linkin Park, Alt-J – a rainbow of acts and something for everyone!
Located just over an hour outside Brussels via train on an open field, Pukkelpop offered all the goods – well organized in terms of getting there from the town of Hasselt, Food World including quality food options aplenty including the Belgie staple frites, an impressive count of eight top notch stages and a luxe camping ground. The crowd is top notch too and the atmosphere is full of positive vibes.
The VIP area – now let’s focus on that one! The best VIP section I have lapped up out of all my festival attendance CV. Did we just step into Bali? Wooden floorboards, lush green trees, a lazy corner consisting of hammocks, lounge areas including black leather couches on podiums and a mix of bar stools and eating areas. Oh plus the holy grail at the end, the bar that serves the Belgium water – beer!
The verdict? Try and get your hands on a VIP ticket, it is well worth it. But if you can’t, the festival is on top of its game, you will not be disappointed. Plus, who wouldn’t want to dance with a bunch of Belgies?
Taubertal Festival Tauber Valley, Germany
Could the setting be any thing more than the stuff made from fairy tale dreams? Located in a valley with a stream flowing on by, this boutique festival may be low on stages but it packs a punch with creating a cosy festival atmosphere. The line up is a bit mixed matched but most importantly there is something for everyone over its’ two day run. This is where I fell head over heels in love with the German treasures and hip hop, reggae superstars SEEED. This energetic bunch were the headlining act of Day Two and despite the rain, they were energetic, trumpets were blaring and they got the crowd moving.
I attended this festival last year and did the whole camping shebang! Interesting enough, to up your camping experience to VIP status, you can purchase a pass to go to nicer toilets and showers, otherwise known as a shit and shower pass. I took the liberty of purchasing this pass as it was funny to see some cheap ass punter spray toilet freshener every time she went to the toilet! Food outlets are the stuff of dreams and festival food is not only cheap but lip smacking full of goodness! My personal favourite is freshly baked brot stuffed with cheese and mushrooms and topped off with cream and chives. Fatty goodness but oh so damn tasty! And what is brot you may ask? Let me German-fy you, it’s bread!
It took roughly 40 minutes from the camping ground to the festival itself. This mission walk was entertained by doing a detour to the make shift supermarket set up on site of the camping grounds, just to stock up on alcohol pre entering the festival which was permitted to take in. As the festival was in a valley, people got creative in how to get to the festival faster than the slog of a walk by donning Mario Kart outfits and riding to the festival via kids kart and then locking it up.
Overall, German festivals are different from what I have experienced previously from attending festivals in Chile and Australia. It was common to see people walk around with juice boxes filled with, well not the stuff made of vitamin c rather than pre mixed drinks. Or vendors walking around the festival selling cigarettes. Things are pretty liberal here.
Lollapalooza Berlin, Germany
Lollapalooza, that’s in Europe now? Yep it sure is and it is well worth the plane ticket over! All a boarding flight to fun times! Except we are not going to take off and never will however we can take off on having a fun time at Lollapalooza which was hosted at the former Berlin Tempelhof Airport.
Forget the wellies as there is no grass patches or muddy areas in sight since effectively, you are busting moves on an airfield strip. Spread over a weekend, there are four main stages not including the Kidzapalooza stage which is strictly for the cool youngsters, that you can soak up the beats. Inaugural headliners included Muse, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and the triumph return of indie kings’ The Libertines. Also in the mix included the crazed performance by German favourites Diechkind which was pretty much like having an alive toy box on stage and SEEED.
Enriched in the Lollapalooza philosophy is the importance of sustainability, social issues and the arts and this is ever so present in the many vendors promoting various issues and showcasing the fun and bizarre art work from local and international artists with the feature art piece being in the centre of the festival grounds, a massive cube of art. Why, there was even a plane on show!
This festival was sold out this year and will only get bigger and better so forget about joining the mile high club, this is where the action and excitement is at – ground level!
Published as ‘Festival Punting in Europe with The Roaming Flamingo‘