The extensive list of festivals in the Netherlands proves the Dutch people love their parties. While Amsterdam hosts most of the country’s largest dance music festivals, neighboring cities such as Utrecht, Spaarnwoude, and Rotterdam have their own, electric Dutch celebrations. Coming July 29th – 31st, 2022, Hilvarenbeek will be added to that list as it hosts Awakenings Summer for the first time. After missing two Awakenings Festivals, festival organizers decided they wanted to make a mighty come back and celebrate their 25th anniversary in style by throwing two Awakenings festivals in 2022.
This edition of the festival will be their biggest and best yet! This year they are moving to a brand-new location, Hilvarenbeek, and turning the production up a notch. For the first time since its inception, this massive dance party extends over three days, making it the only three-day techno festival in the Netherlands.
When speaking about the addition of another day, Rocco Veenboer, Awakenings founder, said, “Awakenings Festival started as a single-day event, and expanded to two days in 2014. But, we felt like there was still room for more, especially because the community had so much to say about missing a multi-day techno event here in the Netherlands. With this renewed concept, we’re extremely happy to make that dream come to life.”
Awakenings is also adding camping at the illustrious event. The added campsite offers several possibilities in terms of accommodations and hangouts. There will be options to bring your own tent, buy one pre-built ready to move in on arrival, or luxury bungalows, catering to everyone’s wants and needs.
Awakenings has historically relied on Gashouder and other venues around Amsterdam for their all-night affairs, but now with camping, dancers can techno into the night. Opting to stay at the campsite also comes with some extra perks. Although messaging around this topic has been purposefully vague, those who stay on-site are definitely in for surprises.
In true Awakenings fashion, the lineup is teeming with international and up-and-coming DJ sensations to fit a 131-name bill. Veterans such as Richie Hawtin, Adam Beyer, Joseph Capriati, and Eats Everything will be making their grand return to the Awakenings’ stage.
The ladies of techno are impressively represented by acid techno queen Charlotte de Witte, Palestinian punchy techno DJ Sama Abdulhadi, Lazy Tapes imprint owner Cera Khin, rising talent Grace Dahl, the stunning Amelie Lens who recently released her Raver’s Heart EP, instant success Indira Paganotto, and many others.
The commitment to acid, industrial, and higher BPM techno will be showcased by one of techno’s most vital new artists Airod, no-nonsense techno producer Milo Spykers, Italian duo 999999999, and techno non-conformist I Hate Models. Other notable names on the lineup are local talent Philou Louzolo and Nicky Elisabeth, up-and-coming international acts Hector Oaks and Adiel, and global mainstays making their Awakenings debuts such as Skream and Denis Sulta.
Awakenings Summer will host nine custom-built stages, a combination of open-air and tented arenas, all in the visually striking Awakenings style. Veenboer and his team continuously look for ways to make their events more beautiful more impactful. The acknowledgment that there’s always room for improvement is the true catalyst that keeps Awakenings festivals getting better and better. Their new location is a product of this thinking. The change of scenery will undoubtedly impress as festival-goers get lost in the forest exploring art structures or taking in the view of the lake as the light shows reflect off its shimmery surface.
Come cut loose and kick off your Covid-blues at Awakenings Summer 2022. Tickets are on sale now.
With over 250,000 visitors a year, Awakenings has become an integral part of the techno community. With appearances from Adam Beyer, Sven Väth, Carl Cox, Len Faki, Joris Voorn, Amelie Lens, Tale of Us, and Joseph Capriati, Awakenings hosts the largest techno events globally. Each year 80,000 (40,000 per day) ravers flock to the two-day flagship event over Easter weekend to watch sets from over 100 of the most established DJs in the industry. And in late July the party moves to the south of Holland where 120,00 (40,000 per day) gather outdoors. Those who decide to camp on-site can immerse themselves in the warm embrace of techno until 5 AM each night. Awakenings also holds several other events throughout the year including for Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), on New Year's Eve, and throughout the year for special one-off events. The Gashouder, a goliath warehouse in northwest Amsterdam, is the site of Awakenings indoor events. A temple of techno for dedicated fans worldwide, it boasts a dizzying array of lasers, fireworks, and intelligent lighting. This is where At the heart of this masterpiece is Awakenings founder Rocco Veenboer. An undisputed legend in the history of techno. Veenboer grew Awakenings out of a desire to give the genre its own dedicated spaces and events. Veenboer first came up with the idea for Awakenings soon after moving to Amsterdam in 1988. At the time, he was 20 years old and hooked on the local rave scene. It wasn’t long before Veenboer felt compelled to organize events himself. “In 1991, I organized my first party in a smaller location (600 people), and in 1993 I’d already started in Gashouder.” Veenboer was one of the first to rent the Gashouder, a colossal chamber in northwest Amsterdam that had once operated as a gas storage facility. In 1995, Veenboer booked The Prodigy to perform at the Gashouder, which filled the venue to capacity for the first time. The band’s lethal beats and extreme volume paired perfectly with the venue’s brutal iron roof and industrial aesthetic. By the late ‘90s, techno was rising in popularity across Holland. “I was happy to see that techno was coming up as it had that rave sound in it from the old house parties,” Veenboer explains. But despite this, techno events in Amsterdam were few and far between. Local raves had become dominated by hardcore, and clubs were focussing on house. With Awakenings, Veenboer sought to fill the gap. After over three organizing events, Veenboer launched the first Awakenings night at the Gashouder in 1997. The event sold out with an all-techno lineup featuring Derrick Mary and Billy Nasty. Nevertheless, success didn’t come easily for Veenboer. “Everything was challenging in the beginning. Building up an empty warehouse is hard.” Despite the challenges, he pressed on and a few months later, a second edition arrived with a marathon set from Sven Väth. For Veenboer, Awakenings would never have happened without the support of his friends and family. “They were involved from the start and supported in every way they could.” In the early days, he handpicked lineups for Awakenings based on his trips to Amsterdam record stores. After researching the best-selling techno artists, he discovered greats like Jeff Mills, Dave Clarke, Adam Beyer, and Richie Hawtin. Before the turn of the century, all of these artists had not only performed at Awakenings, but had become Awakenings residents. Veenboer would structure lineups to ensure that intensity, and BPM, increased over time. The Awakenings Festival arrived in 2001. It was the first outdoor festival in Holland to have an exclusively techno lineup. “Holland already had some big festivals by the end of the 90’s so when we did the first only techno outdoor festival in 2001 that was not a strange move.” However, Veenboer’s shift initially provoked some criticism. For some, techno was dark, underground, and nocturnal. Not something to enjoy in green, sunny fields. Despite the naysayers, the event was a huge success. The weather was perfect, and 10,000 people attended across four stages. The first Awakenings Festival stands out as being one of Veenboer’s favorite memories. Summer temperatures got so high that the local fire department sprayed people down with water as they danced under the sun. Awakenings expanded dramatically in subsequent years. In 2004, 20,000 people visited the festival, which had swelled to include a fifth stage. In 2006, the number grew to 25,000 attendants across six stages, and in 2009, 35,000 tickets were sold. Although he never looks on other festivals as competition, Veenboer has always aimed for visitors to leave Awakenings feeling that it was the best festival of the season. For Veenboer, Jasper Schimmel—the Awakenings “production wizard”—has helped him the most in getting the festival to where it is today. “He is in charge of the visuals but also logistically he put it all in place with his team.” The festival production, especially its moving stages, is absolutely mind-blowing, and comes thanks to an array of brilliant minds. “Shows become bigger when the crowd gets bigger but we managed to work closely with a lot of creative people since day one.” Today, Veenboer tells us that the event’s excellent lineups are largely crafted by two talented booking agents. “Our bookers Michiel and Mino make the right choices always!” Of all the Awakenings regulars, Veenboer has developed an especially strong friendship with Adam Beyer. In total, Beyer has played over 100 shows at Awakenings events, making him an Awakenings record holder. This summer, Awakenings Summer Festival will feature nine stages to allow even more sub-genres to be represented. “Good music keeps coming and I’m happy about that. I’m not a techno-purist, but a party-kid from the early raves at the end of the 80’s, so I’m pretty much open to every sub-genre.” The festival will also have on-site camping for the first time, which Veenboer believes will enhance the festival experience for attendees. “Going on a short festival holiday is the best, so the new festival site for the end of July is chosen because it has a camping license, and we can also dance a few more hours in the dark at night. It has been a dream for me to do this and it wasn’t possible at the old site.” What Veenboer finds most rewarding about organizing Awakenings is seeing an ocean of smiling faces at the events each year. “Seeing the people loving it so much and having a great time is rewarding! The Awakenings team wants to be the best in what they do and they succeed in that. We can be proud." Follow Awakenings on Twitter | Instagram | SoundCloud