5 May is the day that the whole of Holland celebrates its post-WWII liberation in the form of Bevrijdingsdag. With the war rememberance taking place the evening before, Bevrijdingsdag itself is always spent celebrating freedom. A large part of this is done through free festivals which take place nationwide and attract performances from artists both national and international. One of the biggest festivals of the day took place in Haarlem, attracting 110,00 visitors throughout the day despite extreme weather and various musical no-shows. Read on for a full photo report of the day.
Although the festival itself was set to kick off just after lunchtime, a bout of strong wind and heavy rain eventually pushed this back by three hours. Instead of adjusting the set times, all performances which were set to take place in those three hours were cancelled completely. This is partly due to the fact that many artists play multiple sets on the same day. Haarlem’s weather issues meant that Sue the Night and John Coffey both didn’t perform, with rock stalwarts Catfish & the Bottlemen also cancelling thirty minutes ahead of showtime due to injury.
Dutch folk rock musician Blaudzun, real name Johannes Sigmond, took to the festival main stage shortly after the site re-opened. Performing to a large crowd in Haarlem’s Stadspark, his set drew from tracks across his strong back catalogue, such as singles Elephants, Promises of No Man’s Land and Flame On My Head. Despite the performance strength coming from Sigmond and his band, you could sense that the crowd weren’t fully connected. This was partly due to the site only just re-opening, which eventually proved a disadvantage for Blaudzun and his band.
Former Krezip frontwoman Jacqueline Govaert also took to the main stage later that day, performing a blend of catchy, radio-friendly indie pop to a large crowd. Seated behind a piano for the majority of her set, Govaert had a hard time engaging with the crowd as many people took to small talk with one another.
Dutch rapper Typhoon is never one to shy away from putting on a big party, with his second show of the day in Haarlem being no different. Performing tracks from his hugely successful debut album Lobi Da Basi (roughly translated into ‘love is the boss’), Typhoon bounded energetically around stage as he commandeered the crowd to join him by dancing, singing and embracing one another in the name of love. The set saw a cover of The Lau’s classic song Iedereen is van de Wereld, which got the whole park singing along effortlessly. With Typhoon being renowned for his live show, you’d have a hard time disagreeing once you experience his infectious live show.
THE FESTIVAL SITE
The festival site itself was divided into three separate areas across Haarlem’s Stadspark. The biggest part of the park featured the main stage, with the second and third largest open air stages being situated in the neighbouring area of the park over the road. A third area was situated in a smaller part of the park, being designed especially for children.