Loveland Festival 2019: A Review

Loveland is all about bringing people together through music (like this magazine! *wink wink). Going into its 25th year of organized parties, they have a loyal base of ravers, as evidenced by the noticeably older, more experienced crowd. Many who attended the very first Loveland event were dancing side by side with those who weren’t even born when they were breaking in their summer rave sneakers, which is a testament to the growth of the Loveland organization, the trust it’s built in the community, it’s staying power, and the steady growth of electronic music that keeps Amsterdam the un-anointed capital of house and techno parties. For these seasoned dancers who have had this date on their calendar for a while, Loveland did not let them down, nor any of the thousands of revelers who joined. This was a party for everyone. Let’s break it down.

The Fire stage – with night-time pyro and a grassy, day-long sun-kissed field was brought to life by La Fleur in the early afternoon and closed out by Maceo Plex, accompanied by an epic light/laser show.

The Arena stage was slammed with dancers longing for an Ushuaia Ibiza beach rave, with tech-house titans Jamie Jones, Apollonia, and Marco Carola lighting it up all day with rolling, 124bpm bass and kicks. Those wanting to see and be seen had packed the upper area behind the DJ booth from start to finish.

At Rise, Moscoman packed the dancefloor with an early set, kicking it off with a Red Axes remix of Polo & Pan’s ‘Gengis,” and ending with Goom Gum’s “Master & Servant” remix, which was a personal highlight of the day. (Any excuse to dance in the sun as a Depeche Mode banger is brought back to life will top my list, to be fair.) Jennifer Cardini b2b Michael Mayer kept the pace going, closing with “Do You Wanna Funk?,” where the dancers answered the call.

The 909 stage was stacked with acid, 4-on-the-floor Dutch techno, led by Secret Cinema, Juan Sanchez, and Speedy J. For those that like it fast and hard.

The smaller, more intimate stages offered the most musical diversity (Yor Kultura, Melon, Maya Jane Coles, Sebastian Leger, to name a few), and regrettably, I did not spend nearly enough time checking these out, due largely in part to losing myself in the sprawl of the festival ground extracurriculars, like taking a Golden Hour cruise (free!) on the Jupiler Cruise boat for a 30 minute disco trip around the Sloterplas, chatting up the bored pool lifeguard, and gorging on Belgian frites while swaying in a waterside hammock wondering what an enormous barge of people is doing in a small pond.

It’s rare that a festival offers such diversity in programming and utilizes the natural surroundings so well, but Loveland provided the necessary space for a choose-your-own-adventure experience that is hard to find in a cluttered summer circuit.

One inescapable component of the Loveland experience is their commitment to environmental sustainability. Yes, that term is generally overused, and yes, it can connotate a level of preachiness, but rarely does one witness the kind of boots-on-the-ground eco-awareness like the initiative that Loveland implemented. By asking patrons to purchase a small, reusable, plastic cup for a pittance, the results were two-fold: It mitigated the individual and collective environmental impact of the festival by reducing wasteful debris, making the area visibly cleaner, and provided more space to dance rather than having to wade through knee-deep, discarded trash like the North Sea garbage patch, as is often the case. Practical and ecological.

This modern, festival experience that Loveland delivers is what makes this organization a perennial mainstay on the summer festival circuit (and beyond, see Loveland ADE), and why Amsterdam keeps inviting them back. From lakeside chill-out spots to bongo drum circles, disco boat cruises to romantic swan boats, from vegan smoothies to smoked BBQ, from techno to funk, there is something for every person, and provided many reasons why I’ll be back again, and why you should join. 

*Review of Day 1, Saturday, August 8th festival.