The Lowlands Festival is one of Europe’s most popular musical experiences and has been memorably described as a meeting between Glastonbury and Goa! With the picturesque full name of A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise, this annual festival, held in the heart of the Netherlands, has become a central part of the summer calendar for thousands of music lovers.
The very first Flight to Lowlands Paradise was organized as far back as 1967 in Utrecht and although Pink Floyd were on the bill in the following year’s event, there had been so many problems that the project was abandoned. The current incarnation of Lowlands was inaugurated in 1993, when it was moved to its present location, the Walibi World Amusement Park in Biddinghuizen in the lowland province of Flevopolder. Since then, Lowlands has gone from strength to strength.
Although music is at the heart of the Lowlands Festival, there is also a comprehensive programme of good quality theatre, film, the visual arts and stand-up comedy which all takes place in the three main areas, on eight separate stages. Most of the stages, which are given names according to the phonetic alphabet, are inside huge tents – just in case the August weather becomes too unseasonal.
Each year, 60,000 music lovers assemble at Lowlands and they will be entertained by upwards of 200 separate acts. The line-up is always an impressive mixture of the industry’s most successful names and promising performers from across Europe. In 2009, for example, the list of acts playing at Lowlands included Arctic Monkeys, Dizzy Rascal, Kaiser Chiefs, White Lies, Lily Allen and Grace Jones; and many, many more.
Lowlands produces its own newspaper for festival goers, as well as a radio station and the festival site is surrounded by six excellently equipped camp sites, with showers, supermarkets and a 24 hour pub! There are also many food outlets on site, a market, sports facilities and chill out rooms.
Getting to Lowlands should present few problems. The nearest airport is Amsterdam’s Schipol but both Rotterdam and Eindhoven are within reasonable reach. The nearest train stations to the site are at ‘tHarde and Lelystad, from both of which it is possible to take free direct shuttle buses.
The Lowlands Festival takes place in August and tickets should be available around January or February. Full details of how to obtain tickets and the artists set to appear will be found on the official website. This fantastic musical extravaganza has deservedly built itself a reputation as one of Europe’s top festivals and, just a short hop across the English Channel and close to the party city of Amsterdam, it’s little wonder so many British fans join in the fun.