Last weekend saw The Hague’s largest festival as over two hundred thousand music lovers headed towards the Zuiderpark to enjoy an eclectic mix of performers. Bands ranging from big star names with long careers to those just starting out and hoping to make it to the big time.
Each year the organizers hope for decent weather, this year they got a blistering Saturday, temperatures over 30 degrees. Most people were sensible, but a few were overcome by the hot conditions and required medical treatment. As I am a kid of the 70’s and 80’s I was really looking forward to seeing Nile Rodgers & Chic, a true legend in music and the man behind so many hits by the big stars of today and yesteryear. What an amazing show he put on of electro disco funk, all with the distinctive rhythm of his guitar, the crowd were dancing from start to finish of an amazing set. On the main Jupiler stage following that, it was Tears for Fears who took to entertaining the crowds. The voices not as strong as their 80’s heyday but their hits had everyone singing along, Especially “Shout” and “Everybody wants to rule the World.” The other bands to hit the main stage were top Dutch local band Di-rect, a huge favourite amongst the crowd, then there was Cypress Hill, a world renowned Hip Hop group, in all honesty not my type of music, but they gave a top class set, more popular than I thought they’d be and even I quite liked it. The end of the night saw Brit band Skunk Anansie. Big on the 90’s scene and they had some huge hits, the most notable being the stunning “Weak”. Their shaven headed lead singer, Skin, was a shock to the regime back in the day, which sadly put many off her undoubted talents as a brilliant performer. Although definitely not my music taste, you could not help being impressed by her power, passion and energy. Also she opted for a bit of crowd surfing. On the second GO-TAN stage there were some good performances put on during the breaks on the main stage. Gruppo Sportivo, Navarone and Triggerfinger kept the music fans fully entertained. The one band which caught my eye and ear were My Baby, a kind of rock meet Enya. Strangely haunting vocals with a strong backing. Well worth seeing if you get the chance.
Sunday’s Parkpop is the biggest free music festival in Europe and thankfully the temperature was cooler than Saturday’s furnace like heat. Opening the day was Waylon, well known in Holland and represented them in the Eurovision song contest in 2018 with a hard country and western based song “Outlaw in Em.” With three main stages on the day and a few mini podiums, there was lots to see and do. The atmosphere as always was family friendly, kids running around, parents trying to cool them down. People not only travel from all over the Netherlands to this festival, but many travel from Belgium, France and Germany to soak up the international get together. There are far too many bands to mention here, but the two that stood out for me for different reasons were Frenna & 777band and Jett Rebel, who is a great exhibitionist, picture a slightly calmer Iggy Pop, the crowd loved him. For me, the stand out act of the entire weekend was Walk Off The Earth. They were an internet sensation seven years ago with a cover version of “Somebody that I used to know.” Check it out on YouTube. They were the ultimate in party bands, stunts, fun, drums, it was just excellent. Think you’d find it hard to find people who’d disagree.
Ending the day’s events was bouncy and ever popular Dutch singer Ilse Delange. She has a stunning voice and stage persona. A mix of rocked up, pop country, really catchy stuff. There were a lot more people than normal sticking around around for the final act. The whole weekend was well organised, the atmosphere Gezellig! The event organisers could not have wished for a better outcome. Roll on Parkpop 2020.
Text Neal McClimon, Photos Marcel Trouwborst