The Wondrous World of Down The Rabbit Hole

Where you might find yourself waited on by a famous artist as you enjoy a gourmet meal, where you can build your own raft to go out and explore the lake, and where you can give in to an impulse to join a theatrical performance. In other words, apart from the great line up, you can go on an adventure in the surreal world of Down The Rabbit Hole (DTRH). This festival is, with good reason, often called ‘Lowlands’ little brother,’ with a line up that oozes quality, an atmosphere that is very easy-going, and a vibe that can only be described as playful. This three-day adventure is set around an idyllic lake in the heart of the Groene Heuvels recreational area, a woody and hilly area of natural beauty 10km west of the Netherlands’ summer capital, Nijmegen! Also when there are no festivities on at Groene Heuvels, it is definitely worth a visit.

Over the days leading up to last year’s edition of the festival, the Nijmegen area saw record rainfall, but this in no way spoilt the fun. The organisers managed to prevent the festival grounds from flooding. Every ray of sunshine that broke through the clouds was celebrated, as the festival was jokingly rebranded ‘down the mud hole’. The artists showed the same level of exuberance. Aside from the fact that headliners PJ Harvey and The National put on a terrific show and Nijmegen’s own De Staat played a spectacular home game, DTRH continued to primarily be a festival of adventure and unexpected twists! DTRH creates experiences that you can truly be a part of!

You can turn every hour of the day into an adventure. So what does a typical day at DTRH look like? After a nice lie-in, you can grab a simple breakfast with coffee at the campsite. If you need more energy, tuck into a hearty breakfast at All-Day English Breakfast on the festival grounds and delve into your day. On the festival grounds, you will instantly be drawn into all kinds of different activities. You can join a yoga class, have a morning beer at the special beers bar hidden on a rooftop terrace, get a massage, or be there at the official kick-off of the programme at 11am.

After a few beers, there will be people dancing all over the festival grounds to different musical styles. But also for those who do not feel like dancing or beer yet, there is plenty to do. Get your hair cut at the barber shop, watch a film, or join the cast of a theatrical performance. Needless to say, an action-packed afternoon is bound to make you hungry. Rest assured, there are plenty of culinary options to choose from. From chips in a paper cone to a Dutch Weed Burger, from a Venezuelan dish to Moroccan cuisine, and from lobster to frozen yoghurt. Whatever you fancy, there is a food truck that can whip it up for you. Our golden tip for after dinner is to head down to the wine bar. As you sip your wine, you can enjoy the sun setting behind the lake.

When the evening starts, the music takes over, with well-known and unknown bands playing on three stages. When there is an act playing on the main stage, the other two stages remain empty, so that festivalgoers will not miss any of the headliners, courtesy of the organisers! There are also many dance venues on site, ranging from small tents to a cosy terrace area. The ‘Wilde haren x Desperados’ hip hop stage and ‘Le Salón,’ where you never know what you are going to get, are great places for those who want to dance. Evening smoothly turns into night, which is when night-revellers can enjoy the original night programme. Last year, DTRH’s night offering featured Australian DJ/producer Flume, who turned the tent upside down, and Nijmegen’s finest, Reza Athar, who was every bit as good with his original sound and unique sense of melody. And then it’s time to go to bed, or is it?

Like in previous years, the expectation is that Down The Rabbit Hole 2017 will surpass last year’s edition. Come check it out!

Blog by Bram Collé