Tips & Tricks For An International Festival

by: Alex Bazaar

Happy festival season, music explorers!  This year was packed with surprises for music and partying of all sorts.  DJ Khaled and Soulja Boy at EDC. Then Showtek, Deepack, and, Headhunterz make our brain chemicals go haywire with their existence at Defqon. 1!  It’s an ironic story, as I never thought I would step foot onto Dutch grounds.  It is one of those things you daydream about as you are sitting in traffic, plotting how to magically teleport to relapsing visions.  It is debatable whether finances or time is more difficult to manage. I learned that an overseas festival may not be as expensive as a U.S. nationwide one.  People throw thousands of dollars at EDC and Ultra Music Festival, but if planned right, a European festival can cost only between $1000-2000, depending on if you want to factor in merchandise, eating out, and how long your stay is.  The most expensive part is the plane ticket. Fortunately, I have found plane tickets for around $400-600 if you are ambitious enough to check the prices every day, 3 months before the event. However, it is all worth it!

After a few close calls, we barely made our flight and completed the 9-hour journey from LAX to The Netherlands.  We stayed in a local hostel in the center of Amsterdam. A place where a tourist can find the most things-to-do within reasonable walking distance.  Recovering from jet lag, we woke up on Friday fully-charged to engage Defqon. 1.  We took the Amsterdam Centraal train to Dronten station, then took a taxi to Biddinghuizen, where the festival would commence.  I pre-purchased a Defqon. 1 shuttle pass months earlier, but due to an accident around Dronten, the traffic looked like a Monday afternoon in the heart of Los Angeles.  The line to the shuttle pass was gnarly long, so Daniel and I took a taxi, where we were blessed with a skilled driver who weaved in-and-out of traffic.  Although he caused some people to honk, we thanked him for his indentured service to hard dance music.  

We arrived at the festival grounds, where I received my tent, and proceeded to ponder where to set-up base. There were multiple camping grounds but I camped around Camping Ground 2 because it was close to the restrooms, shower, food, lockers, and entrance to the stages.  Daniel purchased a pre-setup tent, which included a sleeping bag and pillows.  For future reference, I may do that as well, as they were strategically placed even closer to all the facilities and stage entrance, although I was closer to food.  Once I set up I was off to enjoy three days of pure musical bliss! By the end of it all we were dirty and sweaty, but still yearned for more. I would definitely recommend trying to work in an international festival to your rotation.

Overview for preparing for Defqon. 1 and while at the event:

  • Book your round trip months in advance to get the lowest fares possible
  • If you want access to service overseas, see what international plans are available for your service provider.  T-Mobile is very good for international while Verizon can be expensive.  Consider getting a Go Phone that you can reload if you do not mind having mobile data, where this can be the most cost-effective option
  • Book hotels/hostels in-advance if you plan on staying in one for Defqon. 1 , before, during, or after.  This depends if you are camping or not as well.  Rooms are competitive and book fast.
  • The train station is the easiest and cheapest way to get to Biddinghuizen from Amsterdam.  Dronten will be your train station closest to Biddinghuizen and then a shuttle or taxi are your travel choices to the event grounds
  • There are hotels near the event although they are limited.  If you do not want to camp, I recommend this but again, book them fast!
  • Try to travel light (1 backpack recommended), as there is a good amount of walking in Amsterdam to Dronten to Biddinghuizen and Defqon. 1 and vice-versa.
  • Bring earbuds.  It is very common for people to blast their music in the early morning
  • Perhaps invest in some good shoes or gel pads for your shoes, as this event involves much leg and foot power!
  • Try to go shopping for food, shower gear, pillows, blanket, etc.  If you purchase a tent, it may not have the sleeping gear unless you purchase the pre-setup tent.  Food is available at the festival although it is quite expensive and can make you go out of your budget range easily
  • A battery pack is recommended, as it is difficult to charge your stuff during this event.  My phone was dead by the next day and you may need your phone to call taxi, look up instructions, etc.
  • Taxis are available around the outside of the event.  Ask an Defqon. 1 employee for information on where exactly they are located

I am planning my next trip, but let’s see how my schedule is. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns concerning Defqon. 1 or visiting the Netherlands.  I want your trip to be as smooth as possible if you’re thinking of going.  Enjoy your days, peoples!

Work hard, play hard!  

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