As a 4 time attendee of Rhythm and Vines (New Zealand New Years Festival) I was very excited to attend a European Festival while I was here for summer. We picked Lowlands because of the broad lineup, and because it’s conveniently not too far from where we are based, in France. To name a few on the lineup for 2014 : The National, Flume, Disclosure, Selah Sue, Boy & Bear, Chet Faker, Skrillex, SnoopLION (ha) …. and many many more!
The doors open at 2pm on the 14th of August and close at 1pm on the 18th. The festival runs for 3 days from the 15-17th, with a DJ playing within the campground for the first night.
We are running late to arrive on the 14th, but Dan (Glastonbury & Leeds fest attendee) assures me we will be in traffic for HOURS on arrival. He blatantly underestimated the Dutch organisation skills… we arrive to be guided by fluro jacketed-minors- to a parking space- to the entrance- to the campsite, in less than an hour. With 50,000 attendees, most of whom had arrived at 2pm or earlier, finding a campsite proved tricky…. Tents were being put up in ditches, on top of shrubs and on the pathway!
The campsite was spread over four large grassy fields, each with a toilet & shower facility.
We ended up putting our tent up in campsite 3, behind a large group of 4 time Lowlands Attendee’s- who said we had rather unconveniently put our tent right beside their ‘piss spot’.
This didn’t seem to detour them once 4pm came round-Lucky for us, the carpark was a short 30 minute walk- So we made the most of having a bed in the car, LUXURY!
The first thing we noticed about the campground, was how civilised it was. There was no ‘funnelling’ (Pour your vessel into a plastic tube and drink it as fast as you can) ‘binge drinking’ (Drink your vessel as fast as you can) ‘Drinking Games’ (Lets all get play a game to get us more drunk) or loud behaviour, often associated to excessive drinking- a ‘norm’ at most festivals we had attended (This says something about the NZ drinking culture).
People had brought comfort with them to the campground,- couches, multiple gazebos, umbrellas, rugs, small bbq’s, steak & eggs, coffee, the newspaper, bean bags, lamps… Walking to the shower facility in the morning, you’d see people sitting on fold out chairs outside their tents, drinking coffee, reading the newspaper! It was very civilised.
Within each campground there were food & beverage stalls, plus a stall which offered anything you may have forgotten or lost… Toothbrushes, sunglasses, makeup, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, chairs, BBQ’s, bean bags.. and more.
These stalls plus the ones within the campground ran by a ‘festival currency’ which was called MUNT. This provided many jokes for Dan and I over the next four days…
you munter… (It’s still funny)
13 Euros got you 5 MUNTS, and the cheapest thing you could buy was a cone of chips for 2 1/2 MUNTS. So it was prettttty pricey.
The entrance to the festival was a short 10 minute walk from the campground, under the chimney looking things in the photo below.
Walking through the festival gates for the first time Dan and I were blown away, at again, the organisation. Everyone filed through the gates, one after the other… very politely… smiling at the security men as they high-fived you…(?) and walking into a festival village with so much variety… so neatly laid out… so ‘high end’ as my Oma would say.
The photo below is of an art exhibition on display (the name slips my memory) with six giant swings set up, each swing had a speaker at the top which would sing a note as you swinged. The higher you swing, the higher the singing would get, and as you were swinging you could hear everyones speakers together creating a wonderful chorus of voices. It was SO MUCH FUN!
There were bars, cafes, sandwich shops, fish shops, vietnamese takeway, chinese takeaway, malaysian takeaway, vintage clothing stalls, jewellery stores, a craft centre where you could go in and use whatever equipment you want, to make signs or masks, or clothes!
A record store which had a small stage to the side of it where artists performing could do a small set to advertise their album. This is where we saw Boy & Bear performing songs from Southern Sun. It was absolutely fantastic, there were about 25-30 people there in the audience with us, they played about 5 songs and you really got to see them up close. Definitely a highlight!
Throughout the three day festival we saw many performers, with all the stages being under large circus tents, there were also areas to sit where you could simply listen and enjoy the music without head banging in a sweaty moshpit.
However, when 3am comes round and thats what you want to do, there is that option.
The only complaint we had about the festival was the performance times. The National, who I was VERY excited to see, played at 4pm… At this time of day, Dan and I were still on our first coffee, waking up! We did see them, but the lights, the crowds, the excessive noise was just too much for that early on… If they’d played at 10pm we would’ve been right up there.. rearing to go. But at 10pm all the acts were done and it was onto the DJ’s. You had the option of House, Drum n Bass, Country (This was BIZARE) or more Drum n Bass. I’d say the festival is geared at an older generation.