We obviously all love festivals here, but one of the issues with so many new ones popping up all the time is that sometimes its hard to distinguish one from another. A festival that doesn't have this problem is Milkshake Festival.
Set in Amsterdam's Westerpark, the festival is perhaps the liveliest, most celebratory in the world. People of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations travel from all over the world to be themselves and let their inhibitions go while getting down to some seriously infectious grooves.
By all reports it's a blast (just look at their photos), so we wanted to learn more about what goes into putting it on. Luckily the team behind the festival is as outgoing as the event itself, so to get to the bottom of how Milkshake came to be, the thinking behind it, and what might be in store moving forward we went directly to the source.
Here's what Milkshake's Online Marketing and Brand Manager Sinan Seyhan had to say.
Can you describe the ethos behind Milkshake for people who might not be familiar with the festival?
Milkshake festival is a dance festival that has been created from the thought 'nothing should be a must, anything is possible'. Milkshake festival shows that entertainment, taste in music, choice of clothing and status has nothing to do with sexuality.
Life is just a party thanks to the great diversity of skin colours, religions, sexual preferences and male and female forms. Milkshake wants to celebrate the city’s initiatives and is an impetus to bring courtesy and friendly manners back into society. Thick, thin, small, large, gay, straight, trans, black or white: people are the salt of the earth and this is what we celebrate!
What am I going to find when I walk into the festival?
A feeling of freedom and joy. You can be yourself without judgement or labels of society. Just be you and enjoy the music.
Has the festival being a hit changed how you approach putting it together? What to include, what image to project, etc.
Not at all. We’ve been doing it our own way and will always keep doing that. Staying true to ourselves, which is very important to us.
With so much political turmoil these days, more than other festivals Milkshake is held up as a beacon of self-freedom and coming together. Do you see the festival as a political statement?
Yes and no. Foremost the festival is an electronic dance event where we celebrate all genders, sexualities and so forth. We want the visitor to feel free without stress of daily life. That’s the most important to us. But on a bigger scale we do want the city of Amsterdam to acknowledge us. Amsterdam was once the gay capitol of Europe. We want to put it back on the map. Also with our ad campaign we want to remind the residents of this country that The Netherlands is a free country with equal right for everyone. It’s good to be part of a city dialogue.
Was creating a positive space and being a champion of freedom and acceptance an original intention for starting Milkshake?
Yes, we wanted to have a festival environment where it’s okay for a gay couple to hold hands and kiss without being called names by haters. A place where you can express your identity as you feel it without problems.
The festival has a very open atmosphere and is accepting of all races, preferences, religions, etc. What would you say to people who are a bit uncomfortable with that?
Come and experience that mutual respect and acceptance is the key to freedom. If you can’t relate, please stay home.
What's one of your favourite memories from a past Milkshake Festival?
The first year, when everything came together, when industry people said we would not make it. For the first time to experience that symbiosis of collaborators, artists, visitors on a field with that much love for each other was amazing.
The Dutch electronic music scene is second to none. Can you highlight a local artist on the bill we should know?
So many! Esther Duijn, Carlos Valdes, Sandrien, Remon Lacroix, Job Jobse. Interesting fact, we always have a 50/50 female male DJ’s and artists at Milkshake which is very unique in a male dominated industry.
Any hints you want to give our readers about this year's edition? New features, etc.
Everything is a secret! We try to keep as much as possible a surprise.