Loveland is one of the hottest tickets on the festival calendar for house and techno lovers around the globe.
Ahead of the dance brand’s 25th anniversary celebrations next year as a Netherlands institution, the Sloterpark dance festival enjoyed its 15th birthday this summer.
Loveland has proven itself as one of the leading players in the dance industry, paving the way with a remarkable evolution over the last couple of years.
Now spread across an entire weekend and boasting its new Nest stage – welcoming big house names like Soul Clap and Cassy – the Loveland brand continues to grow, broadening its global appeal.
As a self-confessed child of the beat with a love for the ’Dam, I couldn’t wait to see what this vibrant international city had in store for me at Loveland.
The event attracts around 25,000 festival-goers to Amsterdam’s Sloterpark each day
Arriving on a powerboat with Art Department’s Jonny White as he took to the main stage, I knew I was in for a good weekend.
Boasting their most extensive line-up to date, this year’s festival welcomed back Loveland veteran Carl Cox, house and techno heavyweights Solomun, Jamie Jones, Maceo Plex, Maya Jane Coles, Chris Liebing, Stephan Bodzin and Loco Dice.
The location has it all. Nestled in a forest on one of Amsterdam’s favourite green spaces, six uniquely designed stages are peppered throughout this beautiful lakeland park with multiple – and, most importantly, fairly quiet – bars at every corner of this mystical and enchantingly lit forest.
There are even hammocks and a beach to take a short disco nap or some time out from the beats and bleeps with friends. And this winding intimate space is right in the inner city ring of Amsterdam – something you won’t find anywhere else.
What struck me most about this festival is the laid-back vibe compared to UK dance events.
Amsterdammers are among the most liberal folk in the world – a quality which veteran English DJ Nick Warren and German techno powerhouse Kristian Beyer (Âme) told me is what keeps the biggest international DJs coming all year round.
Kristian, billed on the Rise stage, said: “Amsterdam has a very open-minded scene. In such a small city they have so many festivals here. Every weekend, you have two or three and they are all full. Loveland has became huge over the years.”
Andrea backstage with Boston house duo Soul Clap
Circle headliner Nick added: “Amsterdam is always fun, it’s one of those cities where there’s a real mixture of races and nationalities, there’s a real cosmopolitan crowd here.
“It’s a really cool site all around the lake and all the stages look fab with great sound systems and good DJ’s – that’s all you really need.”
One of the main highlights over the weekend were Boston duo Soul Clap. They brought the sunshine to the Nest stage with a glorious disco-laden house set.
I was also keen to check out Ukrainian newcomers Artbat who didn’t disappoint with an inventive high energy stint at the Circle arena.
The penultimate act in the Arena was groovy, chunky beatmaster Loco Dice who set up the stage perfectly for the mighty Cox who, as night fell, got the strobes, lasers and ice cannons popping and tens of thousands of bodies rocking the way only he knows how.
Carl Cox closing the Arena
(Image: © TK Photography)
Attracting around 25,000 festival-goers each day, Loveland has come a long way from its early days as a humble Kings Day party.
“The first Loveland events started on Kings Day as a celebration – our national holiday – where everybody dresses in orange and goes partying in the street”, Loveland’s marketing manager Erix Sandsman commented.
“The special thing about Loveland is when it started there weren’t a lot of dance events in Amsterdam so Loveland paved the way for the industry that is here right now.
“Loveland booked a lot of these artists when they were very small. Solomun’s first big festival shows were Loveland and Carl Cox has come here for a long time, the same as Sven Vath. There’s a connection with some of the artists.
“It’s great to see Sunday has evolved to a full festival day in just two years – for other festivals it takes ages to do that. There was a big demand for the festival to grow.”
He added: “With Loveland, we always say that our unique thing is that we connect people through the music. We get a lot of stories about people who have been to Loveland events and say, ‘I met my husband here’ or, ‘I know so many people that go every year and we meet as friends’.
“With our other brands, we attract a lot of people from the UK. It would be great for Loveland to get some extra attention in Britain.”
Dates have already been announced for next year’s 25th anniversary party on August 8 and 9, 2020. If you want to experience a unique and truly magical techno fest, don’t miss out.
Loveland festival takes place in a magical forest park right in the heart of Amsterdam
● Double room at Hilton Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, two nights from £212.
● Loveland weekend tickets cost €87.50. Saturday tickets cost €67.50 and Sunday tickets €40.