Adam Metcalfe (Headroom) and his girlfriend Caterina Toffoli take on Europe for 3 months of Summer fun & festivals! They’ll be spanning the UK, Holland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, France, Greece & Montenegro for Adam’s European tour. Cat will doing an exclusive write up of each party & festival for MyCityByNight, as they go along Enjoy!
Amsterdam and Solstice Festival 2011
Our second stop (after the ever so lovely Glade Festival – read it here) took us to the land of bicycles, beer and brownies (the naughty kind) – Amsterdam where we quickly learnt that anything goes & nothing is taboo!
We were staying in a lovely area in the middle of town, with ex-Cape Town party animal Tyron Cullinan & his girlfriend Alex.
I have honestly never seen so many bicycles in my life! Everyone from young and old can be seen rocking it out on a bike, and we narrowly missed getting mowed down in the rush-hour traffic. The whole city has a faint smell of dope and everyone is super chilled out 🙂
On Thursday night we took a walk down to the infamous Red Light District.. We’d stumbled across this area during our day missions, and I’ve got to say that the women in the windows left a lot to be desired (If they were women at all!?) We were told that the beautiful ones only come out at night – and indeed the night time versions were much better looking! When the sun goes down, the sexually curious tourists come out and scale the area full of brothels, sex shops, sex shows, bars & apparently even the Gay Red Light District, where men with bulging jockstraps adorn the windows. One of the funniest shop windows we came across was The Condomerie (www.condomerie.com) which houses the widest and wackiest range of crazy condoms, from pineapples to carrots and even giraffes! We also went to the Bulldog Bar one of the first ‘coffeeshops’ in Amsterdam, founded in 1975.
Friday night took us to Trouw (www.trouwamsterdam.nl/en), a huge printing press building turned Night Club & Restaurant on the outskirts of the city. The whole club has a rough industrial feel, and the lighting & sound production was top form. In the land of the tall, we both felt dwarfed by the men around us of which the shortest was about 6 ft! You can see where giants like Bakkies Botha get their rugby playing genes from! The club was amazing but the music wasn’t really to our taste – a broad mixture of funky house & breakbeat, and when the drinks are four Euros a pop, you can’t even really get drunk to enjoy it!
On Saturday we made our way to the annual Solstice Festival, which was held at Ruigoord, a non-conformist artist’s commune just North of Amsterdam. We were fetched from town by a hilarious driver, rocking a diamond earring and tattoos and speaking no English, he chainsmoked a pack of cigs just on the way there. Channelling our Oude Moulen hippie vibes, we arrived at the venue which has been running since 1973. There were fields full of horses and little hippie houses dotted all over. In the centre of the commune stands an old gothic church, which now hosts huge monthly parties. It was pretty trippy to see a DJ in the priest’s pulpit and a long bar where there would usually be church pews! There were kaleidoscopic visuals projected all over the walls which added to the psychedelic feel of the place.
Adam was playing a midnight set in the Barn, an old barn that had been converted into a full indoor psy party. Okes were jolling harder than ever and the hardcore hippie tribe was in full force! Adam had a perfectly fueled crowd that were ready to lap up the forthcoming Headroom goodness – Soon enough shirts were coming off left, right and centre and the Barnyard animals came to life – It’s a good thing dreadlocks aren’t flammable because Headroom was on fire!
After his set, the music took an abrupt turn to the dark psyde, so we made a mission back to the hotel we were staying at – a rather welcome hot shower & warm bed sorted us out proper. The party continued until Sunday midnight, and an open outdoor stage was constructed in the field outside. Due to prior engagements and impending disco damage, we ducked out on Sunday lunchtime – but we’d had our taste of Dutch trance party goodness!
Big thanks to Tyrone & Alex for showing us the crazy side of Amsterdam, and to Robin for pulling off an awesome party in Hippieland 🙂
Bye bye Amsterdam – until next time!