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Awakenings announces ‘intimate’ new festival

Dutch techno brand Awakenings has announced a new “intimate and progressive” festival for 2024.

Awakenings Upclose, slated for 18 and 19 May, will “focus on creating an unparalleled intimate connection between the dancefloor and the artists”.

The two-day festival will take place at Houtrak (Spaarnwoude-park) in Halfweg, where previous Awakenings events have taken place.

Donato Dozzy, FJAAK, Overmono (DJ), Marlon Hoffstadt, Colin Benders x Speedy J, ROD x Stranger, Gigi FM x Kanding Ray, Perc x Wallis (live) and Amoral x Beste Hira and Nina Kraviz are among the acts on the bill.

Organisers say fans should expect a combination of techno heavyweights who will experiment with different sounds, underground favourites, 16 cutting-edge b2b’s and over 25 debutants.

“With this sister festival, we’re truly doing something different from what we’ve done”

“The idea for a more intimate and progressive festival had been brewing even before the birth of Awakenings Summer Festival in the South of The Netherlands, which has grown into the world’s largest techno festival,” says Tim Middelesch, brand director at Awakenings.

“As a counterpart, with Awakenings Upclose in the Amsterdam area, we aim for much more intimacy. Standing in the middle of that dance floor, being carried away for hours in that energy, immersing ourselves in that collective feeling.

“Awakenings Upclose is all about that feeling but still includes the WOW factor in terms of production that Awakenings is known for. With this sister festival, we’re truly doing something different from what we’ve done in recent years at this location. But as always, Awakenings quality takes center stage with an impressive production, the best sound, and A-grade techno artists.”

Awakenings’ flagship festival takes place between 5–7 July at Hilvarenbeek, in the south of the Netherlands.

Other recent additions to the festival calendar include Live Nation Denmark’s Suset Festival, Tomorrowland’s new offering in Colombia and Move Afrika’s expansion to Ghana.

 


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Awakenings director Rocco Veenboer steps down

Awakenings director Rocco Veenboer is stepping down after almost 30 years at the helm.

He will, however, remain at the Netherlands-based techno empire until 2027 as a consultant.

“I am 55 years old now and it is time to pass the baton to the new generation in terms of duties and responsibilities,” he said.

The festival, promoted by Superstruct’s ID&T, was founded in 1997 as a techno party at the Gashouder in Amsterdam. The event eventually expanded to include venues such as the Klokgebouw in Eindhoven and the Graansilo in Rotterdam.

“These have been fantastic decades”

Awakenings is best known for its large-scale weekend festivals in Spaarnwoude and Hilvarenbeek that attract tens of thousands of people each day.

In recent decades, Awakenings has grown into the largest event brand in the Netherlands with as many as 300,000 visitors per year.

“In 1997 we organised three parties, which together attracted around 10,000 visitors.” says Veenboer. “At the time, we were one of the first to do major audio-visual work. Looking back now, we have welcomed over 3.5 million people to Awakenings. These have been fantastic decades. I’m grateful that I lived in Amsterdam in 1988 and then got to be part of the musical house and techno revolution.”

The third and final day of Awakenings 2023 was called off due to weather warnings, marking “the most heartbreaking day in the past 26 years of organising Awakenings”.

 


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