Pinkpop Festival 2014 – A Full Recap

As another year goes by, another edition of Pinkpop Festival passes by with roaring success. The 2014 edition, headlined by the Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys and Metallica, was the most popular edition to date in terms of crowd sizes, and it was by far one of the most interesting weekends as well. All Things Loud went down to Landgraaf, and below we’ve written about a majority of the bands on show with a rating out of 10.


The festival kicked off on Saturday 7 June with a handful of performances, starting off with competition winners Les Djinns in the Brand Bier tent. A nostalgic Ed Kowalcyzk set followed this on the Main Stage, before the Haim sisters took to the 3fm stage for a short and sharp 45 minute set. Opening with 2013 single Falling, the band played songs from debut album Days Are Gone, with the set ending on Let Me Go and its fantastic tribal drumming outro. 8/10

Straight after Haim, the American Flogging Molly rocked the Main Stage with a fun set in scorching temperatures. With plenty of onstage banter and classic “irish-style” punk rock, Flogging Molly were the perfect soundtrack for 70,000 music lovers to get lost to. With an hour at their disposal, the fun eventually did wear off once some songs started sounding awfully similar. However, it didn’t take away from the fact that Flogging Molly are the ultimate party starters, regardless of the heat. 7/10

White Lies followed Flogging Molly in the Brand Bier tent, beating the even warmer indoor temperatures to pull off a powerful hour-long set. Opening with early hit Farewell to the Fairground, the Harry McVeigh fronted group smashed through the likes of the epic Death, catchy There Goes Our Love Again and magnificent set closer Bigger Than Us. It’s certainly no surprise as to why this band is so big in Holland, with the tent almost filled to the rafters with fans who sang at the top of their voices. 9/10

With the first day almost to a close, it was up to sub-headliner John Mayer to provide the perfect preparation for The Rolling Stones. Mayer, who’s massive in Holland, is a skilled guitarist with plenty of great songs to choose from, yet his set on the Main Stage was more of a miss, as opposed to the hit everyone was expecting. Leaving smash hit Heartbreak Warfare out of his set, the hour-long show slowly became dull and dreary. 6/10

The Rolling Stones, on the other hand, had no problem with pulling off nothing short than sublime. For a band of this stature, there’s little need to worry in pulling off the most anticipated set in years. Opening with a thrilling tribal intro, paired with pyrotechnics, the band walked on and kicked straight into Jumpin’ Jack Flash and You Got Me Rocking. A massive video screen backdrop showed visuals & live footage of the band powering their way through an already legendary set. Mick Jagger had no trouble in entertaining the crowd, with his attempts at Dutch just as fun as his eccentric dance moves. A mid-section of Keith Richards-led songs made way for a final winning combination of Miss You, Gimme Shelter, Start Me Up, Sympathy for the Devil and Brown Sugar. Closing with I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction), the band left the stage to rapturous applause and cheers as a fireworks display began. Chances to see this band live again will be scarce, making their Pinkpop set even more special. 10/10


With the night before being the most successful one in Pinkpop’s history, Day 2 had a lot to live up to. Kicking off the day in the Brand Bier tent was The Hague’s very own Taymir. Encompassing 60s beat and traditional Rock’n’Roll, the quartet hit the mark with a raw and energetic set. Climaxing with set highlight Aaah, the set showed the large crowd exactly why Taymir are a band worth getting very excited about. 7/10

Chef’Special followed on the Main Stage, bringing with them bundles of energy, upbeat songs and a 12 year old Trumpeter. Although many of their songs are very similar, they suited the scenario perfectly. It was a boiling hot lunchtime, and Chef’Special managed to serve an energetic set for the big crowd in front of them, which included a cover of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ Can’t Hold Us as well as own hits such as Julie and In Your Arms. 7/10

Portugal. The Man took to the Brand Bier tent shortly after, bringing plenty of hipster grooves with them. The Alaskan quarter ensured that, despite the sweltering heat, the crowd had a perfect “cool down” opportunity before the rest of the day’s music. Set highlight Purple Yellow Red and Blue proved the foursome’s ability to soundtrack every single hipster movie with almost effortless precision. This set may well be the catalyst for a sharp rise in popularity over on these shores. 8/10

Over on the 3fm Stage at the same time were the American nu-metallers Limp Bizkit, providing the crowd with a chance for plenty of rowdy crowd action. Despite a steep decline in the quality of their back catalogue, set highlights Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle) and a cover of Rage Against the Machine’s Killing In the Name, the Fred Durst-fronted trio just about avoided disappointment in the extreme heat. 7/10

The Kooks were next up on the Main Stage, successfully pulling off a set which featured old classics such as She Moves In Her Own Way, as well as the R’n’B-tinged comeback single Down. It’s always difficult for bands to approach completely new directions, yet The Kooks managed to prove that songs like Down can blend in perfectly with their older indie rock cuts. Set closer Naïve was performed with a perfect dose of nostalgia as the crowd lost themselves in the song’s lyrics. 8/10

Back in the tent, Twenty One Pilots were introduced as one of the hottest acts around right now, and they certainly proved this with a set that wasn’t short of energy or euphoria. Opening with Guns for Hands, the duo (consisting of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun) wore face masks whilst vocalist Joseph engaged with the crowd by regularly launching himself towards the barrier. Before the set started, stage compere Marco Roeloefs said that the duo may well be everyone’s best discovery of the weekend. If this upbeat set was anything to go by, Roeloefs definitely hit the nail on the head. 8/10

Whilst Twenty One Pilots succeeded in energizing the crowd and keeping them on their toes, London quartet Rudimental just fell short of the mark. Their set, which featured hits Feel the Love and Waiting All Night, featured plenty of fast paced Drum’n’Bass beats and sing-a-long sections, yet it all became quite drawn out and repetitive after a short while. Around halfway, all the drops began to sound the same and it all became rather predictable. This is a shame, as Rudimental are a talented group. 6/10

Also managing to not quite hit the mark was singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. Performing a solo acoustic set on the Main Stage, Sheeran performed his biggest hits to a massive crowd. Although well-received by the crowd, Sheeran’s set would have been much better off with the help of his live band. It was already evident with Passenger’s Main Stage set last year that solo acoustic shows are not meant for the Main Stage, with Sheeran going on to prove this once more. 5/10

The Boxer Rebellion followed suit in the tent, performing a largely slow-paced set in front of a half-full tent. Set highlight Diamonds was just about enough to save the set from being too dull, with the crowd not being fully attentive of the band’s set. As with Rudimental, this was a shame as the band generally have a great back catalogue which wasn’t pulled off as well in a live setting. 6/10

With the day almost at an end, it was up to the magnificent Editors to prepare the sold-out crowd for Arctic Monkeys, the evening’s headliners. Opening with an altered version of Nothing, from 2013’s The Weight Of Your Love, the band slowly gained momentum during the set thanks to early hits such as Bones and The Racing Rats. Editors are a massive, arena-selling band in the Netherlands, which is something Arctic Monkeys aren’t quite yet capable of. This is made it slightly odd to see the bigger band sub-headlining, as Editors would be a perfect headliner choice. An extended version of Papillon closed the set with plenty of euphoria and magic as Tom Smith & co. pulled of a strong Main Stage set. 8/10

Soon after Editors finished up, the front section filled up with thousands of teenage girls all in anticipation of the oncoming Arctic Monkeys show. Their headline set kicked off bang on time, in front of an approximated 65,000 fans, the largest show the Sheffield quartet have ever played in Holland. Opening with hit single Do I Wanna Know?, the Alex Turner-fronted group played an epic set which leaned heavily on new album AM. Early classics such as Brianstorm and breakthrough hit I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor satisfied the long-time fans whereas the likes of Arabella, One For the Road and show closer R U Mine? ensured that the crowd didn’t go home disappointed. 9/10


Dubbed Metal Monday, the final day of the festival was headlined by metal legends Metallica. This meant that the whole Main Stage was programmed with heavy bands to keep the Metallica crowds satisfied. On the other 3 stages, though, a more alternative selection of bands was booked. One such act was Clean Bandit, who opened the Brand Bier tent. Combining elements of Dance, Classical and R’n’B, the live sextet performed songs from debut album New Eyes. Set closer Rather Be was the best received song in the set, with the band very grateful for the crowd’s high energy levels. It was an exhilarating set, which kicked off an extremely eventful day. 7/10

Over on the Main Stage, it was up to the American hard rockers Mastodon to kick off proceedings. With an hour-long set, the band managed to keep up the fast pace that they set from the off thanks to songs like Divinations and Oblivion. It was set to be a very heavy day, and Mastodon perfectly managed to warm the crowd up for the rest of the day. 7/10

Swedish sextet Ghost continued the heavy trend over in the tent, with their faux-satanic songs and eerie stage dress majestically coercing the crowd into watching them. Opening with the duo of Infestissuman and Per Aspera Ad Inferi, Papa Emeritus and his five nameless ghouls kept the crowd on their feet with an eclectic mix of black metal, folk rock and 70s hair metal. 7/10

Also in the tent later that day was the Californian quintet Young the Giant, who managed to keep the crowd happy with their upbeat and sun-kissed indie rock. Performing a set which leaned heavily towards new album Mind Over Matter, the band were just about able to pull off a successful show. News of a Code Red Storm broke shortly before their set, and this was very evident in the crowds’ constant fluttering back and forth between the campsite and the tent. A good, strong crowd is always important for a successful show, yet this crowd were largely uninterested, and this ended up being a deterrent for the band, which was quite a shame. 7/10

With news of the oncoming storm later that evening, Biffy Clyro took to the Main Stage in a heat so fierce that First Aid workers had to come and sponge off needy fans. Opening with Stingin’ Belle, off of their 2013 double album Opposites, the Simon Neil-fronted trio performed a magnificent-yet-raw set to a large crowd. Frontman Neil once again managed to entertain the crowd with his onstage banter between songs from throughout their extensive back catalogue. Despite the set leaning heavily on their last two albums, Only Revolutions and Opposites, there was still time for older cuts such as Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies and Who’s Got a Match?. Biffy Clyro certainly knew how to pull it off with plenty of power. 9/10

Soon afterwards on the 3fm Stage, Jake Bugg performed to a near-full field of around 10,000 people. Performing songs from his first two albums, sound issues marred what was otherwise a very good performance. Set highlight Two Fingers got the crowd fully engaged vocally, before the likes of Messed Up Kids and Lightning Bolt further entertained the crowd. Bugg is popular in Holland, after having played 2  sold out shows at the Amsterdam Paradiso last year, and this popularity was certainly evident. 7/10

By this point in the day, it was clear that the bad weather was approaching with large black clouds approaching from behind the Main Stage, where Avenged Sevenfold performed a career spanning set. Despite a strong set, the real action was about to take place on the 3fm Stage with the legendary Arcade Fire. Opening with comeback single Reflektor, the band had to cut 3 songs from their set due to the storm, which erupted during Neon Bible track No Cars Go. The 12-song set featured four songs from 2013’s Reflektor, such as the hypnotic Afterlife, punchy Joan of Arc and magnificent Here Comes the Night Time. By the time Here Comes the Night Time was in full swing, the rain and thunder had already been in full force for a few minutes, leading to an amazing moment when confetti cannons erupted with millions of pieces of confetti, all blowing away with the wind and sticking to the soaked crowd. It was certainly a sight to see, with the extreme conditions by no means deterring the crowd. Wake Up closed the set, making for what was simply the highlight of the whole weekend – 10,000 rain and confetti-drenched fans all singing along in total euphoria with thunder and lightning erupting around them. 10/10

Due to this storm, it did unfortunately mean that everything was delayed until further notice. With around 60,000 people on the festival site (7,000 of those were huddled in the tent for a fun set by Gogol Bordello), it would’ve been impossible to clear out the whole site right before the final performance of the festival. For almost an hour and a half it was tense as fans waited for Metallica to take to the stage. The whole front section needed to be cleared out fully whilst the Main Stage was completely cleared of water, adding to the crowd’s panic. Luckily, Metallica managed to play a full, 2-hour set despite making their way onstage at 10pm, roughly 80 minutes later than scheduled. As part of the band’s By Request Tour, it meant that fans themselves could vote for the set list, with Metallica adhering to every single song that made it into the Top 16 (the other two songs were a new song, The Lords of Summer, and Fuel, which was voted into the set on the day via Text). Opening with a special introduction video, the band took the stage and rocketed into the heavy Battery, before playing a powerful set which consisted of further classics such as One, Nothing Else Matters and Enter Sandman. Set closer Seek & Destroy brought the day, and the festival, to a memorable end. 9/10

As the crowd slowly started filtering out, the traditional fireworks display took place, accompanied by the Beatles’ All You Need Is Love. Pinkpop 2014 had come to an end after 3 extremely successful days of music. With rumours of The Who, Foo Fighters and Muse in 2015, the Pinkpop booking team will have a very tough time topping this year.