a friendly Dutch welcome makes Lowlands an enjoyable weekend

Lowlands 2008 review

published: Wed 27th Aug 2008

around the site (1)

Friday 15th to Sunday 17th August 2008
Biddinghuizen, Flevoland, Netherlands, The Netherlands
132,50euro (3 days festival, incl. camping, parking, shuttle bus)
last updated: Mon 9th Jun 2008

Having promised myself for ages that I would travel to Lowlands to check out Holland's answer to Glastonbury, this is the year I find myself getting prepared in the 'dam and then making the hour long trip to Biddinghuizen and the Lowlands site.

around the site (2)
The entry takes a while, as there is a mass of people there at 2pm, when the gates open to the campsite. There are seven camps in all, ranging from those nearest to the arena entrance to some twenty minutes walk away. At first glance I guess the huge white buildings in all the campsites are dance halls like at Pinkpop, that will house DJs until the early hours. They are in fact 'bathing houses'; huge metal marquees that hold flushing toilets, showers and taps. Nice, but there are not enough cubicles during peak times (i.e. in the morning).

After getting set up we go for a look about, and see what they have in store for us to do this fine Thursday evening. I soon realise that there isn't much on offer. The Duracell tent (or Lowlandscafe), a fixture at many festivals on the circuit today, provides the only entertainment tonight. There is a stall for food and a bar that has three different drinks.

As with many mainland European festivals the currency is not Euros or metal and paper money of any kind, but Munts. Little plastic squares that can be broken in half into even smaller pieces that you can lose. Each one will set you back 2.30 Euros, and can only be bought in multiples of five. To give you an idea a munt will get you a beer (again, not a full pint but a small cup, just as strong as a pint over here). And a meal may be up to four munts.

around the site (2)

A recycling scheme is in operation called Trash, and for every ten unbroken beer cups you can get a munt. After visiting many festivals my companion is addicted to collecting cups, and we only buy two drinks each all weekend! Between walking from the bar to the refund point you can easily collect enough for your next drink...

Another good thing about Lowlands is the chance to visit the theme park over the road from the site. Walibi World is a small version of Alton Towers, and has rides extremely similar to Nemesis, Hex and others. El Condor is the best of the bunch. We spent a couple of mornings in there; it's a good hangover cure and something to do if the line up is not to your liking. Also you can get more food for your money out there, with not a munt in sight...

Back to the festival. Nearly every stage in under cover, the main Alpha stage is in a tent the size of a football pitch. The stages, apart from the Grolsch Stage (named after the sponsors) are named after letters of the phonetic alphabet, though why only the letters A,B,C,E,I,J,L and X were used I have no idea. After the two main stages there is the little tunnel called X-ray for DJs, Echo I and II are the cinema tents, Juliet, Lima, and India are the other stages and Bravo is mainly a dance tent. The only outdoor stage is Charlie. My favourite stage was the Magneet bar, a tent you entered via a caravan into a world of settees sat upon pallets and many in fancy dress. We happened to catch Luke Pritchard of The Kooks singing to the crowd.

around the site (3)

Converse have their own compound here, with graffiti artists and DJs and of course Converse trainers to buy and the opportunity to pimp your pumps. At night this area turns into a popular silent disco. To the side of this the new game Rock Band can be played, just get a band together and away you go. Our attempt at 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go' by The Clash is memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Despite the stages all being prepared for the weather, it is hot all weekend, apart from Sunday teatime, where suddenly the Dutch are running for cover. Strange as it is not even raining at that point, they must know it is coming like the animals do! The downpour then is the only rain we have, except the odd drop through the night. With many drains around the site and some of it being concrete, we are protected against bogginess underfoot.

around the site (1)
From Henry Rollins opening the festival on Friday at Midday to the Erol Alkan closing it down early Monday morning, there is something for everyone. Highlights for me are the Sex Pistols, though Rotten's Allah rant is a bit sickly, and The Breeders. Most of the best bands clashed, like the Underworld with the Sex Pistols, but you can get to see half of each as the site is easy to get around. The signing tent also played host to the Presidents Of The United States Of America and Dropkick Murphys, though old now still quite big bands to have in a place like that.

As festivals go I really enjoyed this one. The line up was not that amazing for my taste but it has been in the past, and Walibi World will give you something to do otherwise. If you don't like rides than the arena is large enough to keep you entertained, and you will meet no nicer people than the Dutch. After meeting some for no more that two minutes they were buying us a beer. This is a cheap as getting to a UK festival (ticket and travel together) and easy to get to by train of plane. A few more toilets would be nice, but the free toilet roll and cleanliness of them makes up for it.

around the site (3)
review by: Danielle Millea

photos by: Danielle Millea

Friday 15th to Sunday 17th August 2008
Biddinghuizen, Flevoland, Netherlands, The Netherlands
132,50euro (3 days festival, incl. camping, parking, shuttle bus)
last updated: Mon 9th Jun 2008


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