Play! Festival: “Just a true and awesome rave for an honest price”

Shenna van der Velden
By Shenna van der Velden

It’s almost time for the eighth edition of Play! Festival to take place. Each and every year the organisation provides a grand theme, and for the upcoming edition it will be a true Italian party. One of the most unique things about this festival is its location: next to the water next to an abandoned farm. But this isn’t all… We talked to the organisation about how they once started and why this event is so unique.

Before Play! Festival took place, the owner (Kornelis Punter) organized several illegal events. “Back in 2007 I organized an illegal party near Sneek, but after that I quit for 5 years.” In these 5 years, Kornelis visited loads of events, which made the urge to organize events even stronger: “Inspired by my weekly visits to festivals, combined with my urge to organize events, I asked the owner of a hippy farm whether I could organize an outdoor rave on his property.”

The owner agreed, which marked the beginning of Play! Festival. The event was organized for the very first time in 2012, still illegal. Back then the festival had two stages, with artists that played techno, house classics and early rave. “The first one always stays special! It also asked for a sequel, to which almost twice the amount of people showed up on the final Queensday back in 2013.” Also in the years that followed you could frequently find both techno and hardcore at the festival; a combination we rarely see at other events. “The interaction within the audience during our events is amazing to wath, gabbers visit the techno stages and it’s the other way around as well. It’s awesome!”

The organisation descibes Play! Festival as a place where everyone can feel like a child again. “The festival is a complete experience, since you’ll find loads of attributes besides the music: toys, swings, seesaws and an air cushion. Furthermore, we incorporate a lot of humor in the animations in order to create that true experience.”

Afbeelding kan het volgende bevatten: boom, lucht en buiten

“Most festivals last until 11 or 12 o’clock, but we party on until half past 1”

The event is one of the few festivals that lasts a good 14 hours: this year it will be from 11:30 until 01:30. “It’s a shame if you can only enjoy the lightshow for a few hours. Furthermore, we work 4 weeks on the build-up for one day, so we should make it last as long as possible. Time always passes by so quickly!” 

Besides these unique festival times, the event also has a very special location. Last year marked the first time the event was located next to the water, with a farm and other buildings, which the organisation includes in the decor. The festival has always been held at a special location, since before it was held at a hippy farm. “Something that’s abandoned and remote is always cool, and even a little exciting. For me it’s a condition for a good festival.” The location provides an underground feeling which matches hardcore, and makes Play! a true and old school rave.

“Italy in a way you’ve never witnessed before”

The theme for this edition is Italy. We asked Kornelis more about why he chose for this specific theme: “Italy is one of my favorite countries, and a lot of great hardcore and techno comes from there as well. While creating the decor for the event, we can also incorporate the versatility of the country.” This year the festival will have 5 stages, with artists such as Noize Suppressor, Art of Fighters, Tommyknocker, Andy The Core, The Stunned Guys and The Sickest Squad who will represent the Italian sound. The organisation puts the line-up together by creating a good mix. “Which artists we will eventually choose especially depends on their sound, but we also look at which personalities suits us best. Furthermore I book some old heroes of mine every time, just making my childhood dream come true.” 2 of the stages will also have a wall of sound this year. “Sound is always very important to us, it just has to be good.”

This year, none other than DJ Ruffneck will be responsible for the Play! Festival anthem. Kornelis explains how this DJ is their biggest ambassador. “He really wanted to make the anthem for us, out of his love for our event! As a service on return, we will give his new techno-alias, Ruffneck Prime, a place on our techno stage. This will even be his debut!” After Ruffneck his first performance at Play! Festival in 2016, he fell in love instantly.

Ever since the first edition, the stages and its decor have been made from garbage and other recycable items. “This is what puts soul into your event, you just feel it. The collection of these stuff happens all year round, and is done by about 100 volunteers.” Volunteers are therefore extremely important to Kornelis. “It’s pure gold, the most valuable thing within your organisation. Without volunteers, there’s no existence for an event. For us the event also lasts 5 weeks: 4 weeks of building-up and 1 week of breaking it down. Voor ons duurt het feest op het terrein gewoon 5 weken: 4 weken opbouwen en 1 week afbreken. Enjoying this kind of pre-party is also very important.” 

“Play! The underground dance experience”

The event is also known for its low prices. Among others, parking is for free and ticket- and liquor prices are very low. The organisation has made these decisions very consciously.  “What would you like when you visit a party? That’s my way of thinking and from this perspective I make my decisions. It creates a better atmosphere and it really heightens the underground feeling.”

The future of Play! Festival is looking bright: the organisation explains there are loads of other sick themes coming our way. “Our parties are also always blessed with sunshine. Whoever does goed, meets well. The energy is definitely still there, so bring it on.” This year, ticket sales are going three times as hard. “So you have to be there!”

Play! Festival will take place on the 25th of May 2019 near Sneek. For tickets and more information you can visit the official Facebook-event. 

Footage via Partyflock-page Play Events

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