Amsterdam Weekend Guide – February 16-18
Another weekend in Amsterdam, another line-up of top-quality events to keep everyone – from your mum to your mates – happy.
This time, we’ve got a shopping showcase, a cult-film showing, a blazin’ ballet, a renowned EDM festival and a rugged rock gig.
Wonderland Festival Indoor
The EDM scene is thriving in Amsterdam, so it goes without saying that the Dutch know their electronic music. And Wonderland Festival is known throughout the country for its crazy line-ups, consisting of the biggest artists on the Dutch scene. And that’s a big deal, seeing as the country’s provided some of the world’s biggest DJs, past and present. Tiësto, Afrojack, Martin Garrix – heard of them? Of course you have; your gran has, and they’re all Dutch.
You might not have noticed, but it’s just a wee bit too cold in Amsterdam for an all-night outdoor festival, which is where this yearly indoor edition comes in handy. The line-up rocking the warehouse this year includes heavy-hitting and up-and-coming artists alike, including Layton Giordani, Monoloc, Relativ and Tahko.
Shopaholics rejoice, as the yearly Homemakers’ Fair attracts hundreds of exhibitors every year – each one eager to show off their creative, practical and fashionable wares. The festival started back in the ’50s and was aimed at Dutch housewives; fast forward to 2018, and it’s since expanded to include fashion, beauty food, drink and entertainment. And it’s aimed at all ages and genders. In addition to all the impressive products, there’ll also be workshops, presentations and more.
The Menzingers @ Melkweg
The Menzingers built their now-revered name on a stripped-back punk sound that’s packed with anthems and simple, hook-laden tracks. One part Warped Tour-era ska and one part Springsteen, the band have really honed in on their sound in their newest release, 2017’s ‘After the Party’, which they’ll be showing off here.
And their live shows are insane, bringing the bustle of a bar band to big stages. Make no mistake: despite their appearance – checkered shirts and skinnies galore – this is no stand-still-and-stare-blankly-into-space indie band; they’re true rockers, so expect fist pumping, gang-vocal encouragement and honest rawness.
LAB Classics: Pan’s Labyrinth
It might look like a kids’ film on the surface, but ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ is the embodiment of every primary-school teacher’s favourite idiom: don’t judge a book by its cover. Combining a dreamlike world of near-Tolkien vibrancy with mature themes such as sadism, politics and war, Guillermo del Toro’s magnum opus is a true masterpiece of the 21st century. Revisit the cult classic with fellow film fanatics at this event – right in time for the Dutch release of del Toro’s latest film, ‘The Shape of Water’, which critics have been gushing over, by the way (13 Oscar nominations!). You could even make a night of it by catching a late-night showing of the new film at one of Amsterdam’s many awesome cinemas.
It’s always satisfying to end a list with a bit of class, so here’s a world-class ballet performance for you. Now, I’d never claim to be the world’s biggest ballet aficionado, but I know something great when I see it, and this is something great. A perfect cure for those winter blues (where has the sun been hiding!?), choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s rendition of ‘Don Quichotte’ combines that quintessential fiery Spanish passion with glowing visual representations of the sun ablaze. And let’s not forget the burning romances in the story’s complex web of relationships. The ballet is based on 1869’s Marius Petipa libretto, and – of course – the Alexander Gorski edit made some three decades later. As you might expect, Ratmansky has added more than a few eye-openers to his version.