Amsterdam Weekend Guide – July 21-23
As we edge closer towards the end of July, almost halfway through Amsterdam’s summer festival season, the weekend’s events are bringing more and more unique experiences to the Dutch capital.
This weekend we’ve got an unpretentious dance festival, a celebration of all things theatre, a classical music fest with a unique spin, a post-apocalyptic stage show and a soulful genre-bending gig.
Over het IJ Festival
Over het IJ Festival is a deep dive into the theatre scene in Amsterdam and beyond. The NDSM Wharf is transformed into a living, breathing stage. The festival always keeps visitors on their toes, as performances can pop up anywhere and everywhere, meaning you’re bound to catch a one-off performance in the most unexpected of places.
This isn’t your standard theatre celebration, though. The line-up caters to a range of tastes, offering up a hefty selection of improv, poetry, scripted theatre, comedy and – well – anything you can think of, really. Every year, the stand-out attractions are the intimate performances that take place inside the NDSM’s shipping containers. As these events are typically directed by graduates, you might just stumble upon the next big thing in theatre.
Welcome to the Future
Another weekend, another world-renowned electronic festival in Amsterdam. This time we’ve got Welcome to the Future, which is a change of pace from your typical techno romp. The intimate, unpretentious event gives revellers a chance to unwind between sets, offering chill-out spots by the waterside, a selection of organic food to keep everyone going and some refreshing mojitos to help fuel the fun.
Where the festival truly shines is in its music, which is happening across a whopping eight stages – each one dedicated to a particular branch of dance music, including techno, house, circus and even a dedicated Amsterdam stage. Of course, the line-up also features a host of international acts, including Loco Dice (Germany), Adriatique (Switzerland) and Kölsch (Denmark).
When most people think of summer music festivals in Amsterdam, high-octane techno festivals usually spring to mind. But there’s so much more to the city’s festival scene than that, and one of the highlights is Wonderfeel. Now in its third edition, the weekend-long classical music gathering spans over six centuries of music.
But it’s not all Mozart and Beethoven inside the event’s quintessential themed tents; there are also classical-jazz-fusion acts, 21st-century adaptions of classic opera and even a dedicated acoustic tent. In addition, there are arts-and-crafts activities for kids – and the big kids! – and a scrumptious selection of hearty grub. And as Wonderfeel takes place in the countryside, there’s a fully equipped campsite nearby, making it a breeze to stay all weekend.
Vis à Vis – Mare
Almere’s very own survival comedy theatre troupe are back with ‘Mare’, their latest madcap-comedy-inspired display. The troupe never fail to provide thoughtful commentary on society’s biggest issues, as proven in their previous shows themed around the refugee crisis. This show’s just as topical, with a story that focuses on rising sea levels triggered by global warming.
The show quite fittingly takes place on Almere beach (Almeerderstrand), which is 1.6 metres (5.2 feet) below sea level, and the stage is a one-million-litre basin of water. Needless to say, it’s quite the display. Want the lowdown on the work that went into such a spectacle? Just check out our behind-the-scenes look at the show. In addition, the theatre boasts an in-house restaurant, bar and lounging areas, so it’s pretty easy to make a night of it.
Monophonics are a group of San Franciscan funksters that can only be described as a psychedelic soul band. Their tracks mix soul, afrobeat and funk into a danceable cocktail – with a side order of jazz for good measure. It’s a good thing, really – because Amsterdam has thriving funk, jazz and soul communities, and the city’s widely regarded as the dance music capital of the world.
The beauty of Monophonics is that there’s something for every music fan: there are spiky nods to rock music for the metal heads, electronic influences for the techno crowd – or gabbers, as the Dutch call them – and soulful sounds for the jazz, soul and world aficionados. Couple this with the band’s infamous and unrelenting stage presence, and you’ve got a group that can appeal to genre purists and music newcomers alike.