Discover Benelux, Issue 42, June 2017

Page 78

Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Events

Where fantasy becomes reality Step into a completely different world at Castlefest: a welcoming land immersing its inhabitants into a fantasy experience of togetherness and coherence alongside music, storytelling, dancing, and all things fairylike. Labelling Castlefest as a festival is not enough: it is a full fantasy experience, a period of four days celebrating all the good things in life with likeminded people. There is music, workshops, dancing, markets, fantasy entertainment, and more – all against a backdrop of beautifully dressed people and fantasy décor. The 13th edition will include the traditional opening concert, this year welcoming metal

folk sensation Heidevolk. Other performers include Russkaja, Rapalje, and The Dolmen. Like the bands, visitors come from all over the world. “Castlefest is not limited to nationality, age, or walk of life,” says marketing manager Franca de Vrind. “From accountants to artists, from ages zero to 100: Castlefest is for everyone.” The festival boasts countless food stands, with drinks poured in pottery cups, and markets where visitors can buy fantasy clothing, jewellery, or even get dreads or a tattoo. A highlight is the Wickerman burning, when all the festival joins around the well-known wicker statue to behold its burning. Many lay something in before the fire starts, a ritual tra-

Photo: Marielle de Vries


ditionally reflecting closure, remembrance or celebration of a personal chapter. “People do that for very diverse, emotional reasons. The energy that releases during the burning is amazing. It is hard to describe.” In a world of increasing polarisation and individualisation, Castlefest is the loving backlash that stands for respect and acceptance. “Our visitor numbers increase yearly,” De Vrind concludes. “That is no coincidence – Castlefest will always be a place where you can totally be yourself.” Castlefest takes place from 3 to 6 August.

Photo: Coen Halmans

Photo: Rezien

Island blues Celebrating its 30th birthday this year, Texelblues Festival combines that carefree island feeling with three days of the best blues, turning the picturesque town of Den Burg into the blues capital of the Netherlands. Texelblues Festival has become a staple of blues music. Held across 14 local cafés, it sees around 30 artists coming from every corner of the world to play in the famously hospitable and convivial island of Texel. “Visitors really come for the music, yet the relaxed and friendly atmosphere certainly has contributed to the fact that we can celebrate our 30th anniversary this year,” says co-organiser Fred Winkel. This year’s line-up lists blues magicians such as Eric Gales Band, Laurence Jones and Errol Linton. Unique in 2017 is the Young Texelblues Challenge (YTC), a contest providing a stage for the artists of tomorrow. “Texelblues Festival has always greatly focused on young bluestalent,” Winkel continues. “It is something you see in the industry as well: where blues used 78  |  Issue 42  |  June 2017


to revolve around the classics, nowadays there are so many great new artists contributing to a revival of the genre.” Perhaps one of the best things about Texelblues is its location. The festival is held on the Wadden Island of Texel, praised for its beautiful nature and tranquility, yet at the same time being acclaimed for its liveliness and friendly inhabitants. It is not surprising the island was listed in Lonely Planet’s top ten list of places to visit in Europe in 2016. The biggest advantage? Texelblues ‘forces’ its guests to stay on the island overnight: the last ferry leaves before the festival is over.

Texelblues Festival takes place from 13 to 15 October

Photo: Duncan Whyte

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