The 20th Anniversary of Intents Festival took place June 2nd to June 4th in Oisterwijk in the Netherlands. What started off as a small local Caranval festival in 2004 has grown into one of the most well known hardstyle festivals in the world. From state-of-the-art production, mind blowing visuals, immersive thematic experiences, and our favorite hard dance artists, Intents was one for the books!
Amy Melissa Farina
We made the epic journey from Den Haag to our accommodations in Udenhout (about 7 kilometers from Intents). We opted not to camp but rather to stay off-site in Udenhout at a bed & breakfast as I was celebrating my own anniversary (nine years together with my boyfriend!). Furthermore, we got rides each day from the accommodation and then it was about a 25-minute walk to the festival from the Kiss & Ride. Walking to the festival, it was really cute to see children from the community selling soda and candy for partygoers. It was very hot, so I really appreciated that Cola Zero for the long walk!
When we arrived at the festival grounds on Friday evening, we entered through the camping entrance. The campsite is called IntentsCity and once you arrive there you’ll see why. Although this was my second time at Intents, in 2015 I only went for the Saturday, so this was my first time experiencing IntentsCity. I have to say in my 13 plus years of attending festivals I’ve never seen a campsite so well organized.
IntentsCity is more than just your traditional festival campgrounds in the fact that there is so much to do. There’s a cinema, a stage, a general store, and a myriad of activities. From giant beer pong to obstacle courses to Wie is Het (the life size version of the game Guess Who), there were plenty of fun things to do outside of what you traditionally see at a festival. One major takeaway from this festival is that it’s so much more than just the music and there were a lot of options of things to do if you wanted to take it easy, even hot tubs!
Intents took place in a large grassy field in Oisterwijk. The venue was very lush and green. I was pleased to see that there were very little cups on the ground. This demonstrates Intents’s commitment to sustainability through their various recycling initiatives. Throughout the weekend there were people collecting trash and recycling (easily identifiable with LED recycle signs). They also employed the recycle token initiative to encourage people to return their plastic to the bar before receiving their next drink. At one point I forgot my recycle token and had a hard time finding any plastic cups on the ground to return to get a new drink, that’s how clean it was!
One distinguishable aspect of Intents their commitment to the theme. This year’s theme was Kingdom of Unity celebrating 20 years of Intents Festival. Walking around the festival you really did feel like you were in a fairy tale kingdom with all roads leading to the mainstage which was an ornate castle.
Furthermore, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the festival there were banners of photos from the festival mainstage from its inception in 2004 to today. It’s amazing and inspiring to see how much this festival has grown!
Food & Drinks
Intents had a very diverse selection of food and drinks. The cost of one token was 3.80 euros (around $4 USD). A beer or a soda was a token, water or a hard seltzer was a token and a half. They even had a shot bar and alcoholic ice cream popsicles (I enjoyed an espresso martini shot and a few of the frozen Flugel popsicles)!
For food there was everything from your traditional fries with mayonnaise and sandwiches to real BBQs, poke, nachos, sausages, ribs, and more! We really enjoyed the beenham sandwich, BBQ chicken thighs and fries with mayonnaise.
The mainstage this year was a Royal Palace, picture Cinderella’s castle but with hard dance! This massive realistic castle was the centerpiece of the festival hosting some of the biggest names in the scene.
The Dynamite Stage, also known as the Majestic Kitchen, was where you could find the hardest music at the festival. From Frenchcore to Uptempo kicks, if your heart beats at 200 beats per minute then this stage was for you. This was also the stage where you could find the giant 20-year anniversary birthday cake!
To the side of the mainstage was The Great Hall adorned on each side with photos of famous painters. Behind the DJ booth were LED photos of DJs with the photo of the DJ who was performing at the centerpiece. This stage gave 100% Harry Potter vibes.
The Fanaticz stage, Town Hall, was for the die hard Rawstyle fans. This stage looked like what you would find in a medieval town square with a large clock, with small towers along the sides and mill wheels. No small detail was left out when designing these stages!
On Saturday this stage was the Outrageous stage and on Sunday it was Relive. Also known as the Court Jester stage (no explanation needed). This stage hosted a mix of genres all the way from Freestyle to classics, to Uptempo.
On Saturday this stage was the home to some of the hardest names in the Uptempo scene. On Sunday this stage hosted multi-genre dance music.
Karnaval Festival Feestcafé
It wouldn’t be an Intents party without a feestcafé! This indoor mini tavern was the place to go for your traditional Dutch music and party hits.
The Boombox stage was bigger than previous years (and bigger than at Karnaval). Expanding from a shipping container to an open-air stage. As always, this stage is for the up and comers in the scene.
If you wanted a bird’s eye view of the festival this was the place to be. You could climb up into an overlook deck to get that perfect photo.
IntentsCity (camping stage)
At the heart of the campsite was the IntentsCity stage. The colorful metropolis was the place to be!
Visuals & Sound
The visuals at Intents were next level. From insane laser shows to LED visuals, to of course the fireworks at the end show, the visuals were on point from start to finish. The sound throughout the festival was crisp, no complaints, hearing protection, however, was 100% necessary as the sound was BOOMING everywhere you went.
Atmosphere & Organization
The festival was very well organized, everything was easy to find with proper signage and the maps for each day located in the festival app. Around every corner there were small details I really appreciated such as the girls walking around with glitter that you could apply on your face for that real fairy look. They also had plenty of sunscreen application stations (which was handy since it was so hot!). The weather was perfect which is something we can’t take for granted here in the Netherlands.
There were exciting attractions such as a Fun House and the Ferris Wheel. At night the Ferris Wheel would illuminate different colors! There were also plenty of places to sit and chill. At some points it was very busy and crowded, which is no surprise as the festival was sold out but at no point was it so crowded that you couldn’t navigate the festival. The vibes were great at the festival as well, everyone was friendly. The crowd was also super diverse ranging in age from 18 to 75 plus! I think this was the most age diverse festival I’ve attended in the Netherlands which was great to see that people enjoy this music at every age.
I saw a ton of amazing sets this weekend but for the sake of time and space I will just focus on a few.
Act of Rage
One of the first acts of the weekend I got to experience, and it set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Act of Rage kicked off my weekend with bangers such as Raging Reckless and my personal favorite Road Rage. The crowd screaming to MOVE B**** GET OUT THE WAY and I was here for it.
Sickmode tore down the main stage on Friday dropping bombs like Go Crazy, Make it Pop, and Full Tank. It really is something special to have a crowd so diverse all doing the klaplong and singing along to Go Stupid, it really shows that this music knows no boundaries.
It’s 100% pure energy every time from Mish, making her one of the artists on my “must-see” list for every festival. Mish’s set included some of our favorites like Hollaback Girl and Wannabe! This set was so much fun I didn’t want it to end!
One of the most talked about artists at the moment Aversion played three sets this weekend. During his Saturday set he had us screaming along to Linkin Park’s Numb. As the sun began to set over the stage raw beats and fists filled the air. Everyone went insane to Darkside, Aversion really knows how to captivate a crowd. It was my first time seeing him live but certainly not my last!
Partyraiser & Major Conspiracy
Partyraiser, Major Conspiracy, and Da Mouth of Madness destroyed the Dynamite Stage. When they dropped Trip To Holland I thought the roof of the tent was going to collapse. Between the bass and the intense stomping from the crowd, it was pure madness.
Phuture Noize & B-Front
Phuture Noize and B-Front was the place to be on Sunday afternoon. They dropped fan favorites such as Drift Away and From Star to Stardust. These two hard dance legends had the crowd going hard on the final day of the festival.
One of the highlights of the weekend for me was seeing one of my favorite DJs of all time BillX! BillX seamlessly mixes together Frenchcore, Uptempo, Hard Tek and Pystrance (all my favorites)! He had us bumping to Pagan Totem and Halibo.
Not one but two epic end shows! Each night the sky lit up with fireworks and lasers. On Sunday night I have to say that is the most fireworks I’ve ever seen at one time in my life. It was by far one of the best end shows I’ve seen. The fireworks and pyrotechnics were so synchronized and shooting above the castle was the picture-perfect end to the perfect weekend.
There is something really special about Intents that sets it apart from other festivals and that’s its close attention to detail and commitment to the theme. When you set foot inside Intents you really felt like you were in a fairytale land.
I had an incredible weekend and I only have one piece of feedback, at times the walking paths were a bit unsteady. Attempts were made to secure the walking paths to the ground, but it was definitely easy to trip especially when it was crowded. One suggestion would be to add lights or something to distinguish where the path ends from the grass to avoid people tripping and falling.
In conclusion, Intents is one of my favorite festivals hands down. There is really something for everyone at this festival and I am definitely adding it to my list for next year.