The legendary Solstice Festival review

RUIGOORD AMSTERDAM, Solstice Festival, a celebration of the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It takes place in Ruigoord, Amsterdam. In the 70s, Ruigoord was a squatted village, which later transformed into an artists’ colony and currently acts as a cultural harbour. Ruigoord is a hippie village surrounded by an industrial harbour and in the centre stands a 150 year old church. All year round parties and cultural happenings are held inside and every third weekend of June all of Ruigoord is transformed into a psychedelic playground called Solstice Festival.

The beginning

At 10AM the gates open. The first visitors make their way from the bus stop, past a giant windmill and over abandoned railway tracks into Ruigoord to find a spot to set up camp. The enormous round storage tanks and boats surrounding the village represent the struggle Ruigoord has had, to keep corporations from taking over the terrain and turning it into industrial grounds. Knowing a bit of he history makes partying at this location that much more spectacular.

Continuously throughout the day new visitors enter this magical place, ready for a good party. New comers scatter to investigate the party arena, whilst old timers reunite with old friends. In the late afternoon the music at the main tent starts pumping and people make their way to the dance floor. It is not long before the music picks up the pace and heads towards Darkpsy. As the night falls the carefully designed art is lit up by colour changing spotlights, which creates a remarkable view.

Overall entertainment at solstice festival

To rest our legs from the heavy pounding we decide to have a look at the other entertainment at Ruigoord. The chill out stage is the perfect getaway to have a sit down on pillows, drink some chai and gather new energy. Inside the church an enormous artistic structure is set up, which looks about 3 meters tall. Every centimeter is decorated with different objects from a toilet pump to wheels and mirrors. This work of art alone can grasp hours of your attention. During our stroll we witness beautifully synchronised fire shows lighting up the church patio and the hundred faces, mesmerised by the fire dancing in the night.

Next to the entertainment organised by Solstice Festival, Ruigoord is an established labyrinth that can lead you to interesting places. There is much to see, like an igloo built out of glass bottles, a manmade ship acting as a playhouse for adults, peacocks and chickens walking around free and art hidden in corners and trees that can blow you away. It is clearly visible that Ruigoord is the home of artists and conscious beings.

solstice festival amsterdam
Photo: Vasilis Bill

The daytime party

Sunday morning arrives and crowds start to gather outside. Those who are repeat visitors know that the main stage will relocate the music from inside the tent to the outside stage. The ‘daytime’ dance floor holds a roof from lycra art, which looks like a tool to communicate with space. Underneath is enough room for a spectacular party and those who were there can confirm that spectacular it was.

The music starts slow, but gradually builds up during the day. After a long, dark night in the tent, it is nice to finally see all the faces you share the dance floor with. At last the sun comes out, which cannot be anymore satisfying. The crowd screams of joy as new born energy jolts across Solstice Festival. The day is hot and the party is on! Continuously more visitors arrive to stomp on the rhythm of psytrance, try out their new poi, do acro gymnastics or walk around on stilts. It seems like everybody has some tricks up their sleeves to make the festival more entertaining and joyful for everybody. There is nothing, but positive vibrations and happy smiles to be seen on people’s faces.

In the afternoon the main happening is at the stage, but to take a break from all that dancing we take a peak at the different shops selling psychedelic jewellery, cloths, crystals and even telescopes. To fill our stomachs we have a wide selection of foods from oven-baked pizza, soup and Asian food. Shortly after we return to the dance floor, where we join the other happy spirits and dance until nightfall.

Thank you everybody

Solstice Festival was a true celebration of life and with every visitor naturally opening up and sharing their unique energy, a great festival came to life. There was constant entertainment and laughter and those who still had enough energy left to continue on through a second night, the church opened its doors for one final bang. On Monday morning the festival came to an end and even though it was the rainiest day of the year, it could not spoil the greatness of what Solstice Festival had to offer this year.

See you again next year.

Written by: Rolin’

Leave a Reply