Before attending Reggae Lake Festival in Amsterdam last year. I hadn’t heard of this reggae festival in Europe (It’s apparently one of the biggest reggae festivals in the Netherlands), and I didn’t know what to expect from a European reggae festival.
I searched around for information on Reggae Lake like what to expect, how to get to Gaasperpark from Amsterdam Central Station or know if the trains would still be running once the festival was over.
All these questions but information for this Amsterdam festival was non-existent.
After attending the festival I wanted to put together a little guide to help you guys out, so you know what to expect before visiting the Reggae Lake Festival in Amsterdam. Plus to show off some cool photos I took at the festival.
You can read my 3 day Amsterdam guide if you are planning on making it a weekend in Amsterdam.
Watch my Reggae Lake Festival experience on my instastories highlights
Reggae festival Amsterdam – Reggae Lake 2018 Recap
I really thought the festival would be a washout – literally because it was raining and the sky was gloomy. I don’t really have high expectations on the day.
But it really surprised me as despite the rain and everyone having to wear hooded raincoats. There was a party atmosphere from the time I stepped on the train at Centraal Station and saw it filled with every ethnicity and sex, decked head to toe in the green, gold and red (the Rastafarian colours) or carrying the Rasta flag or Jamaican flag.
Everyone knew where we were heading and would happily ask if this was your first time at Reggae Lake? And which artist were you looking forward to seeing? Or tell you how far they had travelled to come to the festival and this party atmosphere didn’t change once I entered the park.
I watched people skanking out to dub music and whining down to dancehall, as I walked past the smaller stages to get a feel of the different sound systems and where everything was. The stages included – Lion stage, Dancehall stage, reggae vibration and King Shiloh.
Because of the rain, there were not many people at the Lion (main) stage as I would have expected for a festival. But this all changed once the rain stopped and the main artists started playing later in the evening. By then you could not even get to the front of the stage, and all you could see was a sea of people.
I spent most of my time at the Dancehall stage (to wait out the rain), and it had the best music and energy.
My brother dipped in and out of the dancehall stage to listen to acts like Romain Virgo and Tarrus Riley on the Lion stage.
But it was clear that everyone at the dancehall stage was there for Konshen. Some of the other artists were good and kept the energy going through the night by having whining contest and pulling girls on stage.
But Konshen was the main event for the young dancehall fans from all over the Netherlands.
I didn’t realise how much the Dutch girls loved Konshen and his music with most of the younger female festival goers coming from all over Holland just to see him.
Queuing for the porter potties, I asked a girl who she was most looking forward to seeing perform, and gushingly she cooed ‘Konshen!,’ isn’t he so handsome? I just love his music, the way he dances. I’m planning on being at the front of the stage when he is performing, so he can see me and pulls me on stage. I want to whine for him.
And that she said!
Once it was announced that Konshen would take the stage in 5 minutes. The crowd in the tent doubled in size. There was a mad dash of females to the front of the stage, once Konshen grabbed the mic. All hoping he would pull them up on stage to show off their best ‘whining’ to him and the crowd.
And once ‘Bruk off yuh back,’ came on, it was game over! The crowd erupted in whistles, cheers and girls dropped down to the ground to showcase their best interpretation of ‘Jamaican whining’. I say the interpretation of whining because it turns out. Dutch girls can’t whine. Watching a Dutch girl whine, was more like watching someone wiggling their backbone.
But all this was swiftly rectified once Konshen called on to the stage one of Jamaica’s top dancehall queens – Headtop Aneika (yes that’s her name. She was also in the City Girls and Cardi B – Twerk music video). To dance to ‘Gal A Bubble,’ it was an epic, and you couldn’t take your eyes off her or her bubble butt.
Watching her made me want to step up my yoga, aerial yoga and pilates classes, all at once.
All I can say is that she is very talented.
Even when she left the stage, the crowd wanted more, chanting her name until Konshen brought her back on stage.
My first Reggae Lake Festival ended on a high with me getting to see some outstanding Jamaican artists and dancer and I would definitely attend Reggae Lake again and recommend it as a reggae festival to visiting if you are in Europe and love reggae music.
I would say that if you are attending Reggae Lake, this year my top tips would be to walk around and see all the different sound system and their artist line-up, wear comfort shoe, keep an open mind and you’ll have fun (even if it rains).
Reggae Lake Festival 2019 Lineup
Like every year, the line-up encompasses international and national top acts from the reggae and dancehall scene. From Cologne’s local icon Gentleman and other stars such as Alpha Blondy, and Busy Signal.
The festival has also confirmed the attendance of Bob Marley’s eldest son Ziggy Marley, Jamaica’s Don Carlos, plus more big names that will be announced in the upcoming months.
The festival covers reggae, ska, dancehall and dub music.
Tips for Reggae Festival
This year, the Reggae Lake Festival will take place on August 24th – 25th in Gaasperplas Amsterdam.
Getting to Gaasperplas Park for Reggae Lake Festival. I highly recommend travelling by public transportation to the park, since the Gaasperplas metro station is practically right next to the festival site.
If you are travelling by bus take Metro 53 and bus 47 in direction ‘Gaasperplas’, at the final stop, you can follow the signs to the entrance of the festival.
If you’re unsure, just follow the crowd of people heading to the destination (that’s what my brother, and I did).
There is limited parking space available next to Kraaiennest Metro Station. So, I advise travelling by public transport.
It is possible to book a pitch for caravans and tents in the park with a minimum stay of two consecutive nights.
If you are attending the Reggae fest for the whole weekend and want to rough it and go camping. Then you could camp in the park if you book a pitch. Check the link below for more information.
Practical tips for Reggae Lake Festival and some Festival Rules
- Go with an open mind
- Pack light
- Plan your route to the Gaasperplas before you arrive in Amsterdam
- Check out the artist line up for each stage before (so you can plan which stages you want to visit and when).
- You need tokens to buy food and beverages (as you can’t use cash or card at the festival). Tokens can be purchased with a debit card, cash and credit card. You are not allowed to bring your own food.
- Visitors must have a valid entry ticket
- ID is required at the request of the security and staff
- Reggae Lake Festival has a no re-entry policy.
- They do not allow trafficking of hard drugs at the festival. When finding the following will be confiscation and/or transfer to the police.
- When visitors enter the venue, they automatically agree to a voluntary search.
- They do not allow dogs on the festival site.
- They do not allow video and audio recordings on the festival site (this was a rule, but there were people there with vlogging cameras and mobile phones. So, it’s not that strict); only allowed when provided with the express written consent of the organisation.
- They do not allow bicycles on the festival site.
- There are several tents on the venue for shelter, and all walkways are paved, and laid platform floors.