Amsterdam Weekend Guide – July 7-9
It’s July in the Dutch capital, which can only mean one thing: more cool, quirky and summery events than you know what to do with!
This weekend we’ve got a boozy bash in a colourful beer bar, a Wild West circus act, a Battle of the Bands finale, an extreme-sports extravaganza and a nerdy Tokyo-themed party.
Digs & Drafts’ Vinyl and Craft Beer Festival
You can’t beat beer bar BRET in the summer: the quirky hotspot near Sloterdijk Station – which was designed from the ground up using reclaimed shipping containers – has one heck of a gezellig vibe. The bar’s mismatched furniture, bohemian atmosphere, friendly staff and diverse crowd all intertwine to make for one of the coolest bar experiences in Amsterdam. And as it’s a train ride away from the centre, there are no stag-do types in sight.
The bar’s best visited on a hot summer’s day, and this Saturday’s meant to be a scorcher, so the timing of Digs & Drafts’ Vinyl & Craft Beer Festival couldn’t be better. The event will be packed with good music, good beer and good grub. The brewers showing off their boozy wares include New Zealand’s Yeastie Boys, Utrecht’s Het Ciderhuis and Amsterdam’s own Pontus Brewing.
Cirque Éloize – Saloon
For almost two decades, Canada-based Cirque Éloize has been positioned at the heart of the circus revival movement, touting exhilarating performances packed with creativity, illusion and pure ability. Their latest creation is Saloon, a Western-themed production in which live folk music meets world-class choreography.
The Wild West wonder walks the thin tightrope between the dark, gritty independent circus acts and the stylistic mastery of Cirque du Soleil. Expect knife throwing, a Mexican standoff on a see-saw, mind-bending acrobatics and more – all while the performers manage to keep their Stetson hats on their heads. Now that’s talent.
Clash of the Cover Bands – Grand Finale
Clash of the Cover Bands is one of the biggest music competitions in the Benelux region – not counting those televised pop-band-producing machines, of course. The competition saw over 1,200 entrants from the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg vying for a place in the final, with bands spanning the entire spectrum of genres – from pop and rock to soul and jazz. Needless to say, the nine finalists completely perfect the sound, look and essence of the bands they’re emulating.
The grand finale, taking place at Amsterdam’s very own pop temple, features a Joe Cocker tribute from Eindhoven, a Hilversum-based bluegrass cover band, a bunch of hard rockers for Woerden, a U2 tribute band and five other kick-ass acts spanning pop, rock and jazz. There really is something for everyone, and – as the grand prize is a record deal – the bands will be putting on the shows of their lifetimes.
Urban Sports Week Amsterdam
After a stellar first year in 2016, Urban Sports Week Amsterdam (USWA) is back for another run. The citywide event is an inside look into some of the sports world’s most creative and misunderstood subcultures. It’s an open invitation to watch the best of the city’s skateboarders, breakdancers, free runners, basketball players and more in action. USWA takes place across various go-to extreme-sports spots in Amsterdam, including Olympiaplein (skateboarding), Sloterpark (freerunning), Vondelpark (longboarding) and Museumplein (main event area, all sports). It’s taking place from Thursday onwards, but most of the finals are happening on Saturday and Sunday. Check out the full programme.
Along with high-octane competitions showcasing the city’s best riders, runners, climbers and ballers, the event will offer masterclasses with pro skateboarders, BMXers and bladers (inline skaters) – giving curious visitors the foundations they need to really start honing in on those skills. It’s the perfect gateway into what extreme sports are all about: learning, togetherness and self-progression. These sports typically get associated with hooliganism and rebelliousness, which is totally unjustified – USWA hopes to help change that misconception.
Tokyo Summer at Ton Ton Club West
“Just one more go,” said every kid to ever set foot in an arcade. That ever-so-impulsive feeling is recaptured perfectly in the wonderfully geeky TonTon Club West. You can sip on a beer (if you dare) while enjoying all your favourite arcade classics, including Mortal Kombat, Dance Dance Revolution and Mario Kart: Arcade GP. Or you can give the more hands-on games a try, such as air hockey and the always hectic 360-degree ping pong.
In the best possible way, TonTon’s Tokyo Summer event brings the Japanese city’s quirkiness, geekiness and weirdness to the Dutch capital. Expect Yakitori cocktails, a Japan-themed barbeque, oriental decor, Japanese arcade games until your eyes turn square and – of course – shameless and unabashed karaoke!