Last weekend welcomed The Hague’s largest music festival as thousands of 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.
Saturday night had a great line up of artists from the 80’s and 90’s. On the HIFI Klubben stage were two great tribute acts, first up were Kiss Forever, who performed brilliantly as the glam kings of metal, Kiss, huge tongue included. Then it was Boss UK that took to the stage, bringing the gritty voice of one of the best Bruce Springsteen tribute bands in the World, both were a credit to the original artists.
Next came Martijn Fischer, a singer well known for his appearances on stage and film for his portrayal of the late, great André Hazes. Real Dutch music that ‘Hazes’ fans were happy to sing along with loudly. Jason Donovan was next to perform, the former Neighbours actor and heartthrob-turned-musician put on a good show, performing his hits including the much-loved ‘Too Many Broken Hearts.’
Last on the HIFI Klubben stage came brothers Koen en Kris Wauters, better known as Clouseau. They’ve been together over 30 years. The Belgian singers had many hits in the 90’s era. Great sound and very likeable duo.
On the main Jupiler stage the bigger starts performed. First up were Time Bandits, a last minute replacement for Gruppo Sportiv. Hot chocolate came on stage to a very warm welcome -a band known for their ballads and the amazing soothing voice of Erroll Brown. Brown passed away aged 71, his place now taken by Greg Bannis, who still managed to make the songs his own.
Former Spice Girl Melanie C (Sporty Spice) was next onstage to perform, her gritty voice got the fans bouncing. She had a real stage presence that the fans lapped up. Following a 90’s icon, perhaps the Queen of 80’s pop made her appearance, Kim Wilde and her wonderful band. Still sounding great and with a great back catalogue of hits the crowd loved her. Kim’s extended encore of ‘Kids in America’ was out of this world, a must see act if you get the chance.
Closing the night was Dutch band De Dijk. Known as one of the most important Dutch acts of the last 25 years. Their music a mixture, of rock ‘n roll, jazz and blues. It was a great atmospheric way to end the night’s entertainment.
Sunday, the free day. Since 1981 the festival has grown and grown into a huge international event where many big stars have performed in the past. From a few thousand at the beginnign, Parkpop now regularly attracts crowds of 200,000, the largest free music festival in Europe. In 2015, the festival’s 35th anniversary saw 250,000 attend as Orchestral Manoeuvres headlined the day.
With several stages around the Zuiderpark, every music taste was catered for. The atmosphere as per usual was warm and friendly, picnics on the grass, kids running around playing. This is really one huge party for all.
They may not have the same big names on the Sunday as on Saturday night, but the crowd soaked up every act of the day. The Fratellis put on an outstanding set, thumping drums and great vocals their monstrous hit ‘Chelsea Dagger’ had people bouncing and screaming along to a real belter of a performance. For my money, best of the weekend.
The whole day was brought to an end by the fantastic Dutch band BLØF They hit the International big time when they performed a duet with Counting Crows, the song ‘Holiday in Spain’ was a worldwide hit. They were the perfect way to end a fabulous weekend of live music.
Text & photos by Neal McClimon