Awakenings has 3 festival seasons: summer, winter, spring. We will talk about the summer ones right now.
I have attended Awakenings for the first time when I lived in London, and then when have already lived in Amsterdam. I will judge as a tourist and as a local. And yet, keep in mind that in both cities there are a lot of parties, and big names in the line-ups can no longer surprise, too spoiled, huh 🙂
Generally speaking, the festival is worth visiting if you have never been to before. It is literally one of the best and well-organised events.
Now, let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages. Take into the account that everyone has a different taste.
Music and Atmosphere
The perfectly selected lineup, Awakenings have gathered all the techno stars, and without any experimenters.
The very pure techno sound from all stages, it can be said that this event is a mixture of Berghain / Panorama Bar, with Amnesia Ibiza and Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel. A typical crowd would be dancing techno-cobras in conceptual clothes, the older generation, local Dutchies and tourists who came to check-in on Facebook at the cool and well-known Awakenings. All this is open air and at fascinating stages. There are 3 quite big stages, the main big ones are 2, and the third one is really far behind, there are also covered hangars.
Can confirm that there are definitely more tourists than local ones. (local people prefer smaller festivals) Generally, everyone is friendly, it can be really crowded only further down to the stage. We all know the reason for being so friendly at Awakenings during those summer days – because the sun is so rare in Holland!
Nevertheless, it can be frustrating that all headliners in a heap and for two days you have to be torn between Sven Väth, Chris Liebing, Len Faki, Ben Klock, Adam Beyer, Maceo Plex, Pan-Pot and so on depends on what you are up to.
While being a tourist I was amazed by so many famous names, and I had to run from one stage to another every half an hour, but in the end, I could not find satisfaction anywhere. The reason for it is simple: you must listen to the DJ set from the beginning to the very end in order to join the musical journey of the artist. And on the other hand, while being a resident of Amsterdam and having Awakenings nearby you stop appreciating the importance of your favourite DJ. At this moment I consider that those big festivals book the most demanding artists to fill up the territory and attract more people – so it is a really commercial event, and the atmosphere is missing sometimes. Well, let’s assume that Awakenings meant to be only techno and does not involve any other snot. But again, personally speaking, techno under the blue sky is scattered in the air and quality of the sounds is being decreased. Techno is much more easy to listen indoors and not under the sun. By the way, for that case, there are closed hangars in the territory, where the harshest DJs play, such as Len Faki, Nina Kraviz (this summer she has thrown some Hardcore music). As a disadvantage, in the hangars it is really sweaty, it’s literally packed.
At the end of the festival, you can always enjoy quality fireworks.
My first ever Awakenings did not really melt my heart, but also nothing wrong happened. Lately, I have drawn a conclusion that Awakening is one of the most worthy fests, where a lot of friends come from abroad and I return here, again and again, as an occasion to catch up with people. If you are with a bunch of friends you won’t be bored on the way back and won’t be annoyed by crowds of tourists who consider themselves so cool if they came dressed up in black
Logistics & Transport
In general, to answer the questions of how Awakenings cope with such a crowd of people: they cope so-so, or rather from times to times there are some incidents.
There are very strict noise pollution rules in the Netherlands, so huge Fests can only be held in the countryside. So imagine that you amongst other 80 000 festival visitors going the same route from Central station to the shuttle bus ( Sloterdijk Station ) and to the festival grounds within two days. Shuttle-bus is organized by the festival and costs around 8 – 10 EUR. When you get off the shuttle bus you still have to walk 20 minutes along the fields. Well, in the summer to take a walk and enjoy nature is even cool.
The most terrible thing can happen in the evening if you want to stay to the end and watch the fireworks on the last day. The crowd is coming down from two exits, and one of them does not lead to the Shuttle Bus. I have been to Awakenings many times already, and we still managed to get lost. The guards are trying to quickly expel people from the festival grounds, and they don’t really get involved which way you want to go, they just guide you the exit. As we walked along countryside roads, people fell into ditches in the dark; there was some sort of mess. We did not get to the shuttle bus but ended up on the highway. Please do not think we might be a bunch of idiots, a massive crowd of people got really confused, and neither buses nor taxis could be called.
Literally, if you stay till the end make sure you find out which Exit you must follow. In theory, even the schedule of local trains are running according to the Awakenings festivals, so that everyone can jump on the last train, and the organization ensures that everyone gets out of the territory in time. Taxi to the centre of Amsterdam will cost 30-40 euros, but it is difficult to get a taxi in high peak times and it does not drive directly to the territory, you need to get at least to the station.
Lodging and Facilities.
If you arrive at Awakenings, you can stay close to Sloterdijk. In this area, housing is much cheaper, and Shuttle Bus departs from there. To the central station, it is only one stop, if you want to visit the city centre of Amsterdam the next day. There is also an option to rent an Airbnb near the festival and get on the bikes. It is important to stay sober thought and make sure your phone is charged and navigation works.
All your stuff you can throw in the lockers, it is, of course, also for a fee of about 8 euros.
At the festival, you can eat a very simple meal, such as burgers or smoothies. Quality of food is quite okay. You can buy it for tokens. Drinks are sold in plastic cups that are not recycled and they do not return money for them. That means all the garbage under your feet. That would be nice if Awakenings would introduce an environmentally friendly recycling system.
Because water is free at Awakenings on the most festival in the Netherlands we would recommend you hiding a bottle cover ) or security will pick them up at the entrance) In the bars, water is sold for tokens, but without covers.
Entertainment & Safety
From an additional entertainment point of view, you can ride on the tower- carousel (I do not know who these crazy people are who do that ), as well as buy merch. For example, a cap would cost like 20 Euro. Together with tickets for one day, you would definitely spend around 100 EUR per day.
If someone has become ill, do not hesitate to seek for the doctors and tell about all the altered states, headache, sunstroke, etc. No one will expel you from the festival, but rather they will check that you are provided with proper medical care.
Buy tickets to the fest in advance. There is a Dutch resale site TicketSwap, where you can buy and sell a ticket absolutely safely. For example, this summer, the weather was very hot, and we decided to go spontaneously. Our iPhones were on fire from trying to buy a ticket for 120 euros per person for one day while Early Bird tickets were about 75 Euro.
Good Luck with Awakenings this year!
Country: Amsterdam, the Netherlands