Festival Review: Parookaville 2018 – Weeze, Germany
The festival is held on an old airbase the English used after world war II as their army base. Al over the place you find small bunkers and big shelters that harboured military jets. The ideal background for such an amazing festival. Al the buildings find a perfect re-use, most shelters will be turned into stages this weekend. All over the festival, you see the re-use of old materials. Nothing gets thrown away everything gets a new life. Even parts of last years mainstage got re-used in the entrance to the camping site.
For the fourth time now near the German-Dutch border, a magical steampunk-esque city appears to celebrate the joy of music and camaraderie. A free-state city called Parookaville. Named after the city’s fictional founder Bill Parooka, this festival gives music fans an escape from everyday life with an immersive festival experience that delivers the highest possible vibes. The story goes that Bill left a whole book full of drawings and schematics for us to find them. With these drawings and schematics at hand this city is built and each year new things are added, so the city keeps growing.
Founded in 2014 this festival managed to grow in size and boasts 80.000 citizens each day, complete with 10 stages and more than 200 artists on the lineup. Drawing people from over 40 countries all of them getting a passport that needs to be stamped at the registration office. But behold like a real city you have a real post office (yes you can send official stamped post from here), Church (yes you really can get married here), jail (yes you can really get tattoos here), police station (somehow you can get drunk here), a 700 sqm pool, carnival attractions and so much more.
All these attractions are sponsored by some big company’s. For example, the church is sponsored by Warsteiner beer and the police station by Moskovskaya wodka. At the church the whole day you see people there joining the holy bond of festival marriage. To make it really special 2 lucky couples had a chance to get officially married. We got invited to this special occasion. The bride and groom got their blessing from “the best man” German star DJ “Alle Farben”. It was no traditional wedding but a wedding-worthy for a Festival with loads of music and beer.
The Wednesday before the festival we got invited to see the area under construction. Now we got a chance to see the festival in all its glory. Their productions are larger than life, setting the standard for other European festivals.
The campers already participating in the activities since Thursday evening even had their own party on Friday before the opening. The gates of the festival opened at 15.00 but between 12.00 and 15.00, the campers could already celebrate at the Penny-square to the tunes of DBN and Timbo (resident DJ of Electrisize festival). It should be noted that the Electrisize crew is hosting a stage at Parookaville as well.
At 15.00 the one and only Fedde Le grand would play a 2-hour long festival opening with fireworks and all. This shows again the greatness of Parookaville, where in the world would you see such a high-quality main act playing a 2-hour opening. Other notable acts on the Friday mainstage are DVBBS, Martin Garrix, David Guetta and the closing of the stage will be played by Parookaville residents Lost identity.
When walking from stage to stage we bumped into the other Parookaville resident Frdy. We kept talking for a while where he updated me on his new collabs and gigs he will be playing. On Saturday he will be playing the main stage, where he will premiere his new track (a collab with the boys from “Vitize”).
Other notable acts on Saturday mainstage are Zedd, Steve Aoki, Axwel ^ Ingrosso and on Sunday Showtek, Don Diablo Armin van Buuren and the closing of the main stage by Hardwell. But if you think they saved the best DJ’s for the mainstage you couldn’t be more wrong. The second mainstage “Bill’s Factory” or even all the shelters hosted an impressive amount of big names. Some of these years stage hosts are Spinnin Sessions, Musical Madness and Cocoon.
On Saturday you had the change to see the only performance of Excision in Europe. Or on Sunday you could see KHSMR at his one of a kind live performance with orchestra and dancers. Other notable names are Sophie Francis, Sven Väth, Kryder, Galantis or Orjan Nilsen. Every genre is represented by the best artists in their field.
The price for tokens is ok compared to the size of the festival. With 1 token costing 3 euro and the price for a can of red bull being 1 token. This are the festival prices we are used to. The good thing they do here to keep the area from being littered is you pay a deposit for your can, once you bring the can back you get your token back. This is something I see more festivals do these days.
They really went all out for delivering the best food. A food truck festival within a festival. If you love food this is the place to be from wraps to burgers to pizza, everything can be found here. If you bought a VIP ticket you even had access to “The Golden Roof” a restaurant where Michelin starred chef Björn Freitag would cook a 6-course menu for you.
The amount of stages is insane here. With 11 stages packed with different styles and the biggest DJ’s in their genre. This years stage called “Bill’s Factory” used to be the mainstage 2 years ago. This tells you something about the size of this festival is growing. There where other festivals struggle to get sold out this one is the 4th year in a row.
Parookaville has managed to cultivate a crowd that appreciates the positive ethos of dance music. Surely this festival will be sold out on the big 5-year milestone next year. You can already mark your calendar on the 19th, 20th and the 21st July 2019 for a big celebration.
Words By Thorsten Benders