Amsterdam Weekend Guide – July 28-30
Although last week’s blaze of sun is over (for now!), the summer festival season is still in full swing, bringing the usual mix of unusual events to Amsterdam.
This weekend you’re in for a treat, as we’ve got the big one: Pride Amsterdam. But there’s also a celebration dedicated entirely to guilty pleasures, an inclusive feel-good fest, a fast-paced dance event and a side-splitting stand-up show.
Except perhaps King’s Day, there’s no bigger annual celebration in Amsterdam than Pride. And while King’s Day is a typically Dutch festivity, and an amazing one at that, Pride Amsterdam draws in diverse crowds from every corner of the globe. The week-long event – which officially kicks off this Saturday – is one of the biggest LGBTI celebrations worldwide, and everyone’s invited. An all-inclusive rainbow is draped over the city as thousands flock to the Dutch capital to celebrate diversity, acceptance and – of course – pride.
Events big and small are happening all over the city, but this weekend’s main draws are the Pride Walk and Pride Park. Local and international activists will be taking part in the march from the iconic Homomonument to the stunning Vondelpark – all to shed light on the sad truth that there are still 76 countries that treat homosexuality as a criminal offence. After the walk, everyone will be greeted with a true Pride party in the Vondelpark: Pride Park, which boasts an array of LGBTI activities, including sports clinics, outdoor theatre and even a rainbow market offering the latest Pride merch.
What do you get when two of the city’s biggest clubs – Paradiso and AIR – collaborate for one fun-lovin’ event in Westerpark? Milkshake Festival! The two-day celebration of fun, frivolity and tomfoolery stands for free love and tolerance; blend this with artfulness, liberalism and creativity and you’ve got one of the quirkiest, most inclusive events of the summer festival run.
From DJs to drag acts, there is truly something for all tastes at Milkshake, and you’re actively encouraged to explore the unexplored. There’s also a familiar sense of togetherness at the festival: much like the rest of Amsterdam, sexuality, race, religion and age are a non-factor. It’s all about the events, the people and – of course – having a bloody good time!
Guilty Pleasure Festival
We’ve all got guilty pleasures; heck, it’s the reason Spotify’s ‘Private Session’ feature exists. Sunday’s Guilty Pleasure Festival urges all to wear their shame on their sleeves and embrace the cheesiness of the Eighties, Nineties and Noughties. How cheesy are we talking? Well, the line-up – featuring Vengaboys, Livin’ Joy and Party Animals – speaks for itself. If that’s not enough, Amsterdam Dance Event big dog DJ Jean will be spinning even more nostalgia-inducing tracks throughout the night.
It’s not just the tunes that’ll induce reminiscence, though; there’s a whole selection of activities that hark back to the good ol’ days of childhood. Think life-sized Tetris, classic arcade machines, real-life Mario Kart and a dedicated Disney corner. There’ll also be a host of food trucks to fuel the fun and a cool cocktail bar to manage the mischief. And you can take your nostalgia into the night thanks to the after party, which kicks off at Club NYX at 23:00.
It’s July, so every weekend brings another top-notch dance festival to the Dutch capital. This time it’s EdelWise Festival, which is teeming with renowned DJs, entertainment and live music acts – local and international alike. Fancy a chill? There’s even a singer-songwriter stage for when you need a change of pace from all those high-octane DJs and bands. And just like every year, there’ll be a delectable choice of summery food and drinks on sale to keep everyone partying.
Comedytrain International Summer Festival
Comedytrain International Summer Festival makes its annual Amsterdam pit stop each year, bringing along a bevvy of the best and brightest international stand-up performers with it. The festival, which started at the beginning of the month, is all about the top and up-and-coming talent from the UK, Australia, Canada and America, so you don’t have to learn the local lingo to enjoy the laughs.
Each week, the month-long comedy fest invites two comics on stage for a tag-team-like performance. This weekend, award-winning Aussie Hannah Gadsby and British funnyman Josh Howie are taking the stage. The former is quick-witted, well-spoken and self-deprecating – while Howie opts for subverted, honest and crass comedy. Needless to say, this diverse two-comedian show covers all bases.