The Flying Dutch experienced a highly successful first edition last year in Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Amsterdam so clearly the sequel this year was promising to be equally awesome. For 2016 3 acts were set to make their debut on the The Flying Dutch stage (besides the different opening acts): Firebeatz, Martin Garrix and Tiësto! It won’t come as a surprise to hear that the concept sold out within 24 hours. If you’re not completely familiar with The Flying Dutch, 10 of the very best Dutch DJ’s are performing on 3 locations at the same day, they are transported by helicopters to make it happen. The Flying Dutch is a concept of ALDA Events and John Ewbank in cooperation with presenting partner ING.
Last year we checked out The Flying Dutch in Eindhoven so we figured this year it’s time to head to Rotterdam. It’s a nice touch that each city also represents a color of the Dutch flag, Rotterdam was team blue and that color was visible across the whole festival-terrain. Like last year the stage-design was simply very impressive!
Afrojack had picked DJ Ravitez to open the event which was something we didn’t want to miss. Ravitez has had 2 releases on Protocol Recordings and more recently has been picked up by Afrojack and his imprint Wall Recordings. We must say that he did a good job warming up. It was cool to hear his original ‘You Got Me Rockin’ live which was featured on Wall Recordings’ Miami Sampler 2016.
Oliver Heldens took over & already thousands of people had arrived to witness his set. As is quite usual Oliver started with some 90s vibes and dropped loads of tunes that perfectly set the mood to a sunny party-atmosphere like ‘Shades Of Grey’ and ‘Spacesheep’ ft. Chocolate Puma. An extra treat was that he had brought a neat dance squad with him dressed in koala suits that could make 360 flips on stage.
Even at the intro of Martin Garrix the crowd started screaming his name, which isn’t a big surprise because he’s definitely one of the most popular Dutch DJ’s right now. 1 hour of mostly his own music was awesome to experience. It was clearly a great addition to The Flying Dutch concept to invite him to hype the crowd.
We totally expected Armin van Buuren to open with ‘Embrace’ and put everybody in A State Of Trance quickly. His opening was totally different which was a bit confusing for us. The presence of Mr. Probz and the fact that the set could in fact be characterized as ‘uplifting’ made it still quite nice but it wasn’t what we expected.
The duo Firebeatz had the tough task to keep the crowd going after already quite a lot of absolute top-acts. Obviously for The Flying Dutch it was a no-brainer that they were going to play their collab with Martin Garrix called ‘Helicopter’ and their huge remix of ‘Calabria’ and these ones did have the desired effect on the audience.
We decided to get something to eat considering all the big artists that were still to come. Cleary thousands of people thought the same so it took a while to be able to grab a bite. We do have to say that the people in the food-trucks did the best they could and kept smiling.
Showtek is an example of what you see is what you get. The guys kept the energy level high with many big-room bangers and even played a bit of trap and the classic ‘Have You Ever Been Mellow’. Unfortunately, already near the end of their set the clouds broke and rain started pouring down so it was time to get a poncho. Rain didn’t stop the crowd though and if possible they partied even harder to stay warm.
One of the performances we had been most excited for was the performance of Tiësto! He’s definitely a flying Dutchman and hardly ever performs in the Netherlands anymore, besides during Amsterdam Dance Event. He surprised with some older tracks like ‘Red Lights’ and his ‘He’s A Pirate’ edit of the famous Pirates Of The Carribean movie. Despite the hail we intensely enjoyed his set.
Revealed Recordings head honcho Hardwell played a rather predicable set with many Revealed hits and seems to keep sliding more and more towards a higher level of bpm. A part of the crowd had no clue what to do when he dropped the Ruthless edit of ‘Banaan’ as one of his last tunes and another part thoroughly enjoyed and got wild.
We knew that one of the W&W guys is named Willem van Hanegem, but that he’s actually the son of famous football-player and coach Willem van Hanegem was not something we were aware of. The connection with Rotterdam was made by introducing his dad on stage and doing a crazy sitdown. His dad was clearly having a great time interacting with the massive crowd.
When Nicky Romero’s intro blasted through the speakers including a nice video like all the intro’s had been on the day, we realized how incredibly fast time had passed. It’s getting more and more rare to see Nicky playing in the Netherlands so we were very happy to witness it. ‘Warriors’ ft. Volt & State did very well and it was nice that Nicky played ‘I could be the one’ ft. Avicii, which in our opinion should be played more often. The vocal version of Novell was premiered and the was definitely a highlight!
If your home-town is Spijkennsse, close to Rotterdam, and you’re a famous Dutch DJ it totally makes sense you’re closing The Flying Dutch in Rotterdam. Afrojack had this honor for the second time this year and once again he killed it. He brought out not 1 but 3 suprises! First of all he did ‘Hey’ live with Fais who’s from Rotterdam, secondly he took Ravitez, who had done the warming up on stage again and last but not least he brought Lee Towers on stage. Lee Towers sang ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ live and oh my that gave us a lot of goosebumbs, especially combined with the fireworks.
The Flying Dutch concept has also proven at its second edition that creative ideas that are well executed can be highly successful! ALDA Events and John Ewbank have very much improved it and we are really wondering how they could make this even better next year, perhaps with a bit more variation in the different spectrums of EDM? We’ll see what happens! Eitherway if you haven’t visited The Flying Dutch yet & you love the DJ’s on the line-up or loved watching you should definitely get some tickets next year!
Reporter: Alexander Bouten