The 2019 edition of Lowlands impressed in delivering the “complete” festival experience…
“At what other festival would you get to see A$AP Rocky twice in two days?” asked Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker at the twilight of their headline show. Well, none, but it wasn’t just a double whammy appearance from one of the most topical rappers in the world right now that made the 2019 edition of Lowlands so special.
Whilst Lowlands doesn’t have a particular focus musically, the lineup offered up artists across the sonic spectrum; something for the mainstream and something for the heads. Of the moment names like Fontaines D.C and Black Midi ensured the festival had its finger on the pulse, while the inclusion of mainstream stars like New Order and Billie Eilish drew in the masses. Elish’s aura was something to behold — her every twist, turn and snarl, in tandem with her witch-house-tinged pop, was mesmerising and purposeful.
I wouldn’t describe Mike Skinner of The Streets in the vein, yet his stage presence was equally captivating. Tracks like ‘Don’t Mug Yourself’, with its buoyant bassline, were hammered out with clout and precision, with that characterful monotone formula.
Jon Hopkins was another highlight. He rattled through a Singularity-dominated set, flitting between introspective ambient and rib cage-rattling acid and techno. It was like nothing I’d heard before; IDM, but in its own unique spiritual domain.
But whilst there are many festivals managing to boast strong lineups, not all can deliver the full experience. Lowlands, however, offered up a range of activities to keep a warm and bubbly crowd engaged across every corner of the site. There were saunas, lakeside bars, sit-down restaurants, a giant Pac Man grid and a mysterious circus tent (crammed with cabaret, magic shows and poets) named Sexyland.
Safe yet unpredictable, intimate yet vast, Lowlands is a gem still largely untouched by punters outside of Holland; surely it’s only a matter of time before word catches on.