Despite the lack of really big names, there’s a lot of good to see at Pinkpop.

If all goes well, the 53rd edition of Pinkpop will not be completely dominated by rain: Sunday will be sunny and 24 degrees in South Limburg. But it’s Friday. On the first day of the festival in Landgraaf, a few hours after the start, large puddles and mud puddles appear at the site. Water bubbles over the click tiles that were installed early in the morning as a precaution. Resourceful festival-goers tie trash bags around their shoes; Others give up and walk through the water in soaked flip-flops or slippers. prach, as you say in good Limburgish. Pinkpop’s audience isn’t the hardest part.

Many artists on this first day refer to bad weather, but only one knows how to take advantage of it. That’s British pop punk Yungblud. Already during his second song he slips and falls on the wet stage. He himself is the one who has the most fun with it. A team member wipes the floor next to him with a towel, but he dives back into the crowd to finally get wet. He fits the image of him perfectly: rock ‘n’ roll, middle fingers in the air. His show started very tight, with a furious performance from super dead friends, but after his slip, things get complicated. Yungblud delivers with energy and that’s why it works.

Yungblud on Pinkpop.Image BREAD

Often something routine

This makes him one of the few artists on Friday’s lineup to show some spontaneity. Many sets are finished in a somewhat routine manner: sometimes a strong, well-oiled machine; sometimes disappointing, an autopilot. What does that say about signed artists? It’s hard to say, but festival-goers didn’t turn out in droves. Only 40,000 of the 75,000 tickets for Pinkpop’s Friday and Saturday have been sold. Sunday, with superstar Ed Sheeran headlining, fares considerably better. But rock group Måneskin (Friday) and DJ Calvin Harris (Saturday) clearly do not guarantee that the Megaland venue, home of Pinkpop since 1988, will be full.

There has already been criticism about the names at the top of the bill: many visitors overlook the big headliners. Programmer Rob Trommelen shared with a music magazine EAR that the festival has been in talks with Muse, Dua Lipa and even Madonna. At least an event like that wouldn’t have gone amiss. And yes, a lot has already been written about the most expensive festivals, but we are going to say it anyway: especially now that the price of a weekend ticket has risen to 290 euros and a day ticket costs 145 euros . Nowadays at Pinkpop you get four podiums instead of one, but this year it’s not exactly one big name after another.

fusion rock

Pinkpop has become one in recent years. poppier direction, with headliners such as Justin Bieber, P!nk and Robbie Williams. That course remains unchanged this year, but on the first day of the 2024 edition there almost seems to have been a compromise with the guitar enthusiasts the festival traditionally attracts: There’s plenty of room for pop punk and other rock fusions on Friday. In addition to Yungblud and Måneskin, there are also Avril Lavigne and Palaye Royale. And then there’s Babymetal, three Japanese singers who together make so-called ‘kawaii metal’: a combination of J-Pop (Japanese pop) and flaming guitars. Including choreography. A unique act, fascinating too. But that doesn’t necessarily make it phenomenally good.

Another interesting combo: the ragga-metal band Skindred, a cross between metal and reggae with hip-hop influences. Singer Benji Webbe, like Palaye Royale before him, still struggles to engage audiences. Maybe because the Tent Stage is not only full of fans; Now it’s raining a lot. But in the end Webbe gets everyone involved. This creates the first real party of the day, whether people are here for Skindred or the shelter.

Lifeless pop punk princess

There’s exactly one time on Friday when the sun comes out: mid-afternoon, when Acda and de Munnik are on the main stage. (Unfortunately not during It’s raining rays of sunshine). The audience spontaneously begins to applaud. Acda and de Munnik are also cheering on the inside, because they seem really very happy to be in Pinkpop. They play many hits from the beginning: Never or have not been, run lenny run. Smart: they immediately involve the public. The field is also packed and the duo clearly feel at home at this festival. Musically there is nothing to complain about: the singing is good and the band plays well.

The same can be said of the English duo Royal Blood. Everything sounds very good. It is a bit boring. A Muse-meets-Nothing But Thieves-light with considerably less energy than both bands bring to the stage. Pop punk princess Avril Lavigne has even less energy. The Canadian singer walks around the stage and occasionally raises a fist in the air halfway or waves from left to right. Everything is completely lifeless. Plus point: his voice sounds better live than recorded. But he does his best to hit the hardest notes with as little effort as possible. In your strongest song Losing contact we hear none of the anger that characterizes that song. Not until I’m with youAlso on their debut album from 2002, a certain passion is perceived.

Then something changes and it seems to have everything to do with the aforementioned rocker Yungblud, who takes the stage to perform their song together. I’m a mess sing. He’s clearly much more energetic than her and with her enthusiasm he seems to breathe new life into it: the following songs have a little more spice than the first half. That doesn’t stop Lavigne, as one of the lineup’s most well-known names, from disappointing.

Eurovision Song Contest headliners

Another nostalgia act: Keane. Like Lavigne, they haven’t had a hit in years, but unlike the pop punk star, singer Tom Chaplin looks upbeat and happy to be here. His voice is also impeccable. A beautiful performance with beautiful singing moments at the end in the form of Some place only we know and In the form of a bed. Safe, radio-friendly pop rock, but one that fits Pinkpop and also streams excellently.

The British band Keane with singer Tom Chaplin will perform during the first day of Pinkpop.Image BREAD

Then it’s time for the headliner that many people think shouldn’t be called the headliner: Måneskin. Since their Eurovision win in 2021, the Italian quartet has become extremely popular, but they have as many haters as fans. Furthermore, in just three years his music has begun to sound much more American and much more commercial. With the pace at which they release their songs to the audience, one wonders how they will complete the two hours they have to play. Do not answer. Måneskin leaves fifteen minutes early and has a success I want to be your slave Then he played twice. A weakness. But ultimately it’s not important, because in the previous hour and 45 minutes the band shows that they have definitely earned that spot in the headlines. Their show is soft, tense and playful. There are no moments of frustration.

Another Eurovision candidate

The real headliner of this Pinkpop could very well be Joost (Joost Klein’s stage name). Because almost everyone seems to want to see it early on Saturday. Also a candidate for Eurovision, but whose adventure, we all know, ended less flattering. Pinkpop added it to the lineup four weeks before the festival. De Fries opens the main stage on Saturday at 12:00: an irreverent moment. But at the end of the morning the field is completely full, something very unusual. Almost the entire Joost show is dedicated to the Eurovision debacle; He refers several times to his participation and is sometimes moved by all the affection from the public. that he eats out of his hand; Even if the rapper does nothing for a while, he gets applause. he also plays Europapa By the way, twice, but with him it doesn’t matter: firstly, because the last performance is a distorted remix, secondly, because it is the most famous Dutch song of 2024. If there are people here who don’t know this, let them know. can count on one hand.

It’s lucky for all the festival-goers who arrived early on Saturday: the sun has started to shine. And the Pinkpop team has been working hard at night throwing wood chips so people don’t have to get soaked in the mud. This makes the rest of the festival seem much less sad than the first day. Although: perhaps sadder for rock fans. With the exception of a few acts (Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor, Nothing But Thieves, John Coffey), Saturday and Sunday will mostly be a lot of pop (Froukje, Loreen, Davina Michelle, Louis Tomlinson, Ilse DeLange, Sam Smith). Grab a beer and dance in the sun. Pinkpop’s audience isn’t the hardest thing.

Also read:

Rian Moonen’s weekend is full of fun and music, from Limburg electro pop to Pinkop performances.

To a festival or show, an afternoon in a cafe and a walk through the Limburg hills. This is radio DJ Rian Moonen’s weekend.

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