Before starting with the actual review it might be good to give some background information. In the Netherlands, both the 4th and the 5th of May are very important dates. On the 4th of May, we remember all Dutch war-victims and on the 5th of May we celebrate our freedom with celebrations and festivals throughout the country. Those festivals are organized by the committee 4-5 MAY in cooperation with local organizations and Dutch provinces. 2015 is a very special year given it marks the end of the second World-War 70 years ago and furthermore it’s the 25th annual Freedom Festival celebration. Vlissingen, located in the Dutch province Zeeland which can be found in the south near the Belgium border, was chosen to be the main Festival this year. So there was no doubt at all whether we should be checking it out. This review is focusing on the Liberty Dance Stage, however we have also checked out some of the other stages (yes there were 10 stages throughout the city!) and it looked very professional. We were especially keen on the silent disco stage.
We arrived at the Liberty Dance Stage around 6 P.M. The security checked our bags and that procedure was rather professional and quick. CLUBDECORATIE.NL has been responsible for the Liberty Dance Stage and stage-management. We have seen pictures of what the stage initially looked like which was in sync with the theme, by using red, white and blue (colors of the freedom festival logo as well as of the Dutch flag). Unfortunately due to the weather conditions, heavy wind and rain, a couple of parts of the stage had to be removed for safety reasons which is completely understandable. Fortunately, the lasers and small stages for dancers could stay.
Alright, let’s review the artists who have played at the Liberty Dance Stage. When we saw the line-up, Dubvision & Julian Jordan, both famous Dutch DJ acts, were the ones who stood out the most. Despite that the music was already enjoyable at 6 P.M. when Rowen Clark & Carma Collectiv were showcasing some funky Deep House vibes, both DJ’s were clearly having a lot of fun on stage. Meanwhile, we went to get some tokens in order to buy drinks which were at EUR 2,50 each. In our opinion, the prices of beverages remain reasonable, given the festival setting.
Soundmill & MC Sty-lé
Local DJ Soundmill who also performs Hardstyle under the name Killa B, was ready to perform at 7 P.M. along with MC Sty-lé. We must say we were instantly and positively surprised. Opening with Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike and Ummet Ozcan´s ´The Hum´ & Ummet Ozcan’s Emporium anthem ‘Kensei’, DJ SOUNDMILL made the crowd very happy. His set was quite diverse, featuring a jungle terror track by Wiwek, Brennan Heart and Wildstylez´s ´Lose My Mind´ in the Dr. Rude remix and banging EDM tracks with massive drops like W&W – Rave after Rave. We could not help but notice that for both the DJ as the MC, performing in front of thousands of people was important and empowering to them and their enthusiasm was copied by the crowd.
At nine o’lock Dubvision took over the decks. Their set could be characterized as a typical Dubvision set with lots of mashups and as always strong melodic build-ups leading to bouncing drops. Of course they played their newest track ft. Firebeatz called ‘Invincible’ and further the set featured popular tracks like Calvin Harris – Blame, David Guetta – Bad, Alesso’s ‘Million Voices’ and Zedd’s ‘Clarity’. It was nice that they used Swedish House Maffia – Save the world & Daft Punk – Harder better faster stronger in their mashups because according to us you don’t hear those tracks often enough these days. Dubvision were clearly enjoying the atmosphere of the crowd which they also commented in the interview we had with them after their set.
Julian Jordan, definitely the most famous name in the line-up, had the honor to close the Freedom Festival. We had looked forward to this moment and we were curious for this set. When the MC announced the start of Julian’s set that got the crowd to go crazy and believe us, they were already going crazy during Dubvision’s set. The MC was doing it alright but at some points he could have been a little earlier with his announcements to pump up the crowd. Julian Jordan played definitely a very strong set with big tracks including Alvaro – Guestlist, Axwell ^ Ingrosso – On my way, The Hum, Tiesto, KHSMR & Vassy – Secrets, Showtek’s ‘Cannonball’ & the Afrojack & Martin Garrix collab ‘Turn up the speakers’. You will understand this was a very energetic set! Close to 12 o’clock Julian Jordan decided to let the crowd get rid of all the energy they had left by playing some harder tunes like Hardwell – Spaceman in the Headhunterz remix. That was an amazing moment! Julian was honored to have the chance to close the Freedom Festival which he discussed in the interview we had with him before his set.
Before heading to the festival we didn’t really know what to expect since this was the first time the Liberty Dance Stage moved to a new location. Looking back we find that a really good decision of the organization and the crowd must have agreed because it was packed! As for the stage design it’s a pity some parts had to be removed but safety always goes first. The sets we’ve seen were strong which managed to create a really good atmosphere. Lastly we would like to thank Cultuurwerf, the organization, for the excellent reception & giving us the opportunity to carry out 2 awesome interviews! According to us it has been a really nice day and we will definitely be back in Vlissingen to check out the festival next year. We recommend you to visit next year or to visit any Freedom Festival near you. Why? Because Freedom has to be celebrated!
Reporter: Alexander Bouten