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Pinkpop founder Jan Smeets retires

The European festival legend is stepping back as Pinkpop festival director but warns: You can't get rid of me that easily

By IQ on 21 Sep 2020

Jan Smeets chats with Mojo's Leon Ramakers in the festival's early days

Smeets chats with Mojo's Leon Ramakers in the festival's early days


Jan Smeets, founder and festival director of iconic Dutch festival Pinkpop, is stepping down after 50+ years at the helm.

Smeets, 75, who was last year honoured with a commemorative coin in celebration of Pinkpop’s 50th year, is stepping back from his role as festival director with immediate effect, he announced late on Friday (18 September).

Then aged 25, Smeets – known in the Netherlands as ‘Mr Pinkpop’ – organised the first edition of Pinkpop in 1970, and the 60,000-capacity Limburg event is now the longest-running open-air festival in the world.

The unprecedented events of summer 2020 marked the first time Pinkpop – which was this year to have been headlined by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone and Guns N’ Roses – had not gone ahead since.

Highly regarded both in the Netherlands and internationally, Smeets is also an officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau

Smeets’s team will continue to organise Pinkpop, in collaboration with Live Nation’s Mojo Concerts, according to Entertainment Business.

While taking a step back for health reasons, he will stay on in an advisory capacity: “I may have officially retired as festival director, but you certainly haven’t got rid of me!” he told staff and colleagues.

Highly regarded both in the Netherlands and internationally, Smeets is also an officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau, a longstanding ILMC member, a founder of Yourope (the European Festival Association) and a winner of festival association VNPF’s lifetime achievement award.

 


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