Techno Paradise: Awakenings Summer Festival Review

Awakenings, the renowned techno event producer,  recently wrapped an incredible edition of their Awakenings Summer Festival which, for the first time, featured camping! Awakenings has been around for 25 years, and this year they celebrated the summer edition with a sprawling new venue outside of Amsterdam in the South of the Netherlands, in Hilvarenbeek. Hilvarenbeek is home to Europe’s largest wildlife park and features a large outdoor venue in nature where Awakenings Summer Festival took place. We had an amazing time listening to Techno artists from around the world and made new friends along the way on our Techno weekend adventure. Here’s a breakdown of how we think things went!

Vibes

Awakenings Summer Festival featured attendees from more than  75 different nationalities, and each person brought their love and passion for techno to the festival. Across three days of the festival, around 100,000 people gathered in the Netherlands to celebrate life and music. Everyone that we met at the festival was kind, and though there were some language barriers, everyone was kind enough to make room on the dancefloor. The crowd seemed more mature than at your average festival. People that came to Awakenings really love techno. From the people who were camping next to us, to the staff, everyone was friendly and enthusiastic to be at the biggest Techno festival in the world. 

Production & Venue

This was the first time Awakenings was organized at this location and with camping, but they did a great job of keeping things organized. Tokens were issued for food and drinks, which made the lines move much faster than you would see at most festivals. We opted for the Relax Resort Camping, which was a quiet area in the campgrounds. The tent that we purchased had two real beds, bedding, lighting, and power. This was absolutely the best decision that we made for camping, and would definitely do it again. The campgrounds were kept in pristine condition and featured the cleanest bathrooms and showers we have seen at any camping festival. We were so surprised with how clean the Relax Resort was, as well as how quiet it was at nighttime. If we were to come back, we will stay in the Relax Resort! 

Photo Credit: Awakenings

Inside the festival, there were 11 different areas, each hosting different artists throughout the weekend. The festival had bridges over water connecting the different areas, which was an awesome touch. You could even rent pedal boats and have fun boating around the lake. This was really cool to see at a music festival. Some stages were massive, and some were smaller and more intimate. There was even one stage that was double-sided and played different music on each side. This was a fantastic use of space and something we had never seen before. The festival site itself was very large and required a lot of walking from one end to the other. That was the only downside, as it would take a lot of time to get to the stages because there were a lot of people going back and forth. The tent stages were a bit hot for us due to the heat, so we opted for the more open-air stages. 

Aside from the stages, there were plenty of activities, art installations, and projection mapping. We really enjoyed walking through the forests and checking out the various sound and light installations. The organizer really made use of all the space and there were plenty of places to just lay in the grass by the water or inside the forest. These things made the festival really unique and something that we will remember. 

Photo: Jordy Brada

The main stage was pretty interesting, it was almost like 3D art. It featured a geometric design and had LED panels and fireworks and tons of CO2. The stage itself was super tall in height and the sound was decent. Our favorite part was the nightly fireworks, which are always such a beautiful way to end the evening. 

Our only problem overall was when we arrived in Tilburg to get the shuttle to the festival. The lines were hours long and the signage wasn’t clear and the people directing you to the shuttles didn’t seem to have all the info. This was a tremendous oversight and we hope this gets fixed in the future. We did not end up using the shuttle passes and instead ended up finding a taxi to take us to the venue. Once we got to the venue, the camping check-in process was quick and easy. But they really need to figure out the shuttle situation! 

Music

The Netherlands’ first-ever three-day Techno camping festival did not disappoint. Over 130 DJs played throughout the weekend, everyone from house to tech house to techno was there. There were all of the big artists you can imagine, like Tale of Us, Charlotte de Witte, and Reinier Zonneveld, but there were also plenty of upcoming artists too. This is a Techno paradise for any Techno lover, but because there are so many artists, there are so many set time conflicts! We didn’t get to see everyone we wanted because of the overlaps, but we enjoyed sets from Maceo Plex, Tale of Us, and ANNA the most. There’s something for every music lover at Awakenings Summer Festival. 

Photo: Jordy Brada

If you’re into Techno music and find yourself in the Netherlands, Awakenings Summer Festival should definitely be on your list. Awakenings produces events during Easter, Summer, and of course during the famed Amsterdam Dance Event.

This October for ADE Awakenings just announced Richie Hawtin, Adam Beyer, Carl Cox, and many many more. You can find the complete lineup here. Overall, we are so excited we attended the first-ever camping edition of the Awakenings Summer Festival and are already looking forward to next year. We’re so thankful to have attended, and look forward to making more Techno memories in the near future.

Featured Photo: Jordy Brada 

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