Festival: Bospop

It was my first time at Bospop, of course I’m not a newbie to the whole festival scene but every festival is different. Although I do have to admit that this one was quite similar to Pinkpop when it comes to the atmosphere and the type of audience. But of course the music is kind of similar as well. The festival is a lot smaller than Pinkpop in size and also in the type of bands that come to perform.

This year I didn’t go to Pinkpop because I’d already seen a lot of the bands in twelve times that I went to the festival and the bands and singers that I hadn’t seen yet were not exactly on my list of need to see – yes, I’m talking about you Justin Bieber!

However by going to Bospop I was able to heal my festival-heart! In more ways than one, I got to see some new bands which I’d never heard about before. Enjoy some classic bands and of course see Beth Hart.

 I arrived at the festival terrain – of course I was wearing one of my Beth Hart shirts! That is the benefit when you work for the company which prints the t-shirts for Beth Hart! That is a total coincidence by the way and not the reason why I work there. Anyway, I was wearing my shirt and I arrived at the road which led to the parking lot but was also a road through to some town. So valets had to ask everyone whether they wanted to park or where just driving through. One of the girls walked up to my car, she laughed and said; ‘With that shirt I don’t even need to ask if you want to park! Have fun!’

The second time that happened was at the gate. The woman who checked my ticket and did the security check told me that the rest of the fanclub was already inside. It made me smile Beth Hart has a very loyal following and at one time I was in the highest ranks of that fanclub. But due to personal reasons I decided to step back. However knowing that she still has that loyal group of fans rooting for her is always good to hear because in my opinion she deserves every single speck of fame and so much more.

But lets start at the beginning…

Stevie Nimmo Trio

When I arrived at the festival the Stevie Nimmo Trio was performing and the trouble is that they opened, and I had never heard of them before. So they really needed to warm up the audience and if the music isn’t familiar that’s quite hard.

Xander & the Peace Pirates

The second band I saw was Xander & the Peace Pirates, and let me tell you about this band. I had never heard of them and didn’t know their music, so I had literally no idea what to expect. Keith Xander the front-man of the band plays the guitar and he sings. Nothing special, I hear you say and you would be right about that. However Xander was born with only one hand. So he has a hook attached to his right arm and when he plays the guitar there is a plectrum attached to the hook. The music was cool, I really enjoyed listening to it. But just imagine I can’t manage to play the guitar with two hands, let alone with one hand and a hook and have people like Joe Bonamassa and Joe Satriani admire you.

Laurence Jones

Another performance which I really liked was Laurence Jones. Obviously a very young guy but the music he plays really spoke to me. He plays the blues, which I really love. This guy sure knows how to play that guitar! If you ever have the chance to see him live make sure you see it!!! I was really pleasantly surprised, this is why I love festivals I’d never heard of Laurence Jones but I have seen him life and I’ll be sure to check his music on Spotify.

Blof

In my opinion you can’t go wrong with a band like Blof in the afternoon especially when the weather is nice and warm. Everyone knows these songs, it’s a very well known Dutch band. And you can always spot people singing along, we know these lyrics. The songs are classics after all.

Vintage Trouble

What a show! That really is all I can say. This bands front-man is a true entertainer! He was literally everywhere – even between the audience at one point in the show. That is what you want to see if you go to a show!

Delv!s

The same that goes for Laurence Jones goes for Delv!s. The music was awesome, he has a beautiful voice, a rich and warm voice. He is a singer with a very bluesy voice but the music he makes with his band is also influenced by gospel, electronica and jazz. Which makes for a very pleasant combination.

The Pretenders

They have been around for almost forty years and that is what you can hear! They have made quite some classics that everyone knows and that really is what works at a festival. If everyone can sing along. I mean ‘Don’t get me wrong’ is about as old as I am, but you know the tune.

Beth Hart

It had been quite a while since I last seen Beth Hart perform live. For some reason whenever she was in the Netherlands I wasn’t able to go and I really hated it. I missed her! Because I love this woman. I think that this was my eighteenth performance of Beth Hart. So yes, I am a huge fan and I loved every concert I’ve seen so far. But this one was special!

Beth Hart was on a roll! From the second she stepped onto the stage till the moment she left. She was on fire! She looked amazing, she sounded better than ever before. She was joking around, she reminisced. She talked about the time when she thought that she had no future and how that first concert in Paradiso in January 2004 changed all of that. And I was there that first time in 2004, her reminiscing and telling us how that performance changed her life. It made me feel really emotional, honestly I had tears in my eyes. That story combined with how strong she stood there made me feel emotional.

There are so many examples of artists ( singers / actors / performers ) who struggle with the same struggles she does and who don’t make it out on the other side better and stronger!

The main difference between Pinkpop and Bospop is the size of the festival, it’s about half the size. And that is noticeable in just about everything. The tent stage and the main stage are right next to each other and the performances are back to back instead of simultaneously, which means that you can easily catch all the performances during the day. With Pinkpop they have two big stages and a tent (and maybe even a second one). With that many stages there are always choices you have to make. And things you can’t see because of the time table, which is always a shame. So in that regard Bospop was definitely better. But Pinkpop is where my heart is, I just love that place!

 

June in hindsight

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I know it has been a while since June ended in fact July has already ended and we’re already on August fifth when I start writing this. The reason for that is that I want to include my vacation in the ‘June in hindsight’ post.  There is no real reason to write a post looking back on June when I can’t include links to my vacation posts.

Hanson – the 25th anniversary tour

On June second I was able to go see Hanson for the 25th Anniversary Tour! Yes, they have been a band for 25 years and I have been a fan ever since I first heard Mmmbop on the radio. You can say whatever you want about Hanson but I love them and I still listen to there music, there old songs as well as their new stuff. To those who have no idea, Hanson has made six studio albums. And they have always been active with their own fan network, producing songs, doing tours, setting up their own beer company as well as their own festival and raising their families. These guys have been busy, but no matter how busy they have been they have alwys made time for their fans and charity projects.

I was super excited to see them once again and I’m sure that I will be there when they come back! I’ve been a fan of Hanson for twenty years! That realization makes me feel old. But what can I say it’s the truth!

Graffiti festival

Every year during the month of June there is one weekend were graffiti artists from all over the world get together in my hometown to give our bike roundabout a new look. DJ’s play music while the artists create their magic. Underneath you’ll find a few pictures of the amazing and almost unbelievable creations. This year the theme was ‘Step into the Arena’ – some of the artists took that literally.  The two gladiators in the arena are by far my favorite creation. These guys where actually spray painting themselves onto the wall as gladiators!

City trips

There were no city trips during the month of June because I had planned my vacation to Sardinia at the end of this month. You can read my complete day by day travel log here: Saturday – the meeting, Sunday, Monday – the beach day, Tuesday, Wednesday – mountainbike trip, Thursday – boat trip, Friday – the inland excursion, Saturday – saying goodbye. I had the best time at my vacation, the group I stayed with at vacation was awesome. I’ve met some amazing people! And we had a lot of fun!

As you can see June was the month I wrote the most posts about! It was an extremely busy yet very fun month!

Looking ahead:

Well since July has already happened it’s not all that hard to fill in what’s going to happen.

  • Beth Hart at Bospop! My festival heart has been healed – or should I say hart?
  • Surf afternoon with my vacation friends – or our first mini-reunion!
  • Setting up plans for a second and real reunion!
  • Spending a lot of time writing my vacation blogs.
  • Having meetings with my writer friends at the library on Friday nights!

Sardinia – July 1st

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When I started with this adventure I had no idea what to expect. But it was the best choice I could have made for myself. The people I met were truly amazing. We were a group between the ages of 26 and 49. But everyone managed to get along and we had lots of fun. We all wanted it to last longer. But July first was the day we had to go home.

We spend one last morning at the beach, we had lunch together at a restaurant. And then it was time to go back to the camp side where we had to pick up our belongings and get back on the bus to the airport.

Promises of a reunion were made and we would send our pictures to each other through WeTransfer. We did and I have now about 2000 pictures to sort through to make a vacation album, which is certainly something I want to do. Because this vacation was definitely something I want to cherish.

Goodbye Sardinia! I’ll miss you …

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Sardinia – June 30th

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Friday came around and that meant that we were going on our inland excursion. A bus picked us up at the campsite and would drive us around all day in the Province of Nuoro. Mario who picked us up on the first day and who gave us that marvelous wine-tasting was also the person who would be the guide on this trip. Marco is an awesome guy, who has a very special way of explaining things. He constantly forgets details and then gets back to them right in the middle of telling something different. Which makes for some very laughable random comments. As you can imagine we had a lot of fun and even though some of the information was very serious Marco knows how to keep things interesting.

Irgoli

Our first stop was at a small town where a lot of the houses are painted. Initially it was a way of protest mostly towards the government of Italy since Sardinia always felt left out when choices were being made that would have an influence on all Italians. It kind of reminded me of Greek Fresco’s. They where all over the town in all different shapes and sizes. And all so in different styles. Some where old while others were painted a year or two ago.

Tomba dei Giganti – Giant’s grave

One of the stops was at the Tomba dei Giganti – translated to Giant’s Grave – which sounds like something straight out of a novel. It’s not however, it’s a graveside which belongs to a civilization which long ago lived in Sardinia. The graves were build in the Bronze Age by the Nuragic civilization, they were collective tombs and there have been about 800 discovered in Sardinia. Which is a huge number if you think about it! Sardinia is not that big! The centerpiece is a stone a couple of meters high, the top is rounded and in the bottom there is a whole cut out. Behind it is the grave chamber, meters deep with graves on either side of the small corridor.

Monte Gonare

The next stop was Monte Gonare, a mountain in a beautiful environment we were told that once we reached the top we’d be able to see one fifth of the island. The uphill route was literally hopping from one stone to the next. There was an obvious path, but it wasn’t straight and it wasn’t easy to walk on, the path’s were filled with stones. But it was beautiful and we could see a lot of the surroundings because we rounded the mountain as we got higher up. On the top is a beautiful church, Marco opened the door but before he did that he banged on the wood. There was a beautiful, deep echoing sound. The acoustic sounded great. Once inside, one of the girls in our group sang two songs, it was absolutely beautiful. Especially because she is an amazing singer – even Marco who has been to this place so many times was visibly touched. He also asked us all to sit down in between two of the benches in the middle of the church. He closed the door so we were sitting in complete darkness. Once our eyes adjusted to the dark he opened the door on the opposite side of the church. At first we were completely blinded by the light, next we were treated to a gorgeous view of a true masterpiece. One view on heaven and earth.

On our way back we made one last stop Orosei, where we ate an ice cream and in some cases two ice creams. It was simply delicious! According to Marco the best ice cream store on Sardinia.

Limoncello tasting

Once we came back to the campsite we had time to eat and then get ready for the evening. Part one of the program was a Limoncello tasting! Yes, after our wine tasting we were now going to try five different home-made limoncello’s. We started with a regular limoncello, then we tasted a creamy limoncello (which was really good and by far my favorite). Followed by a limoncello with pomegranate, one with lemon and mandarine mixed and one with only mandarine.

And then …. disco!

Yes, disco! We ended our last night with a disco! It was so much fun, admittedly at first we all laughed about the idea but ‘cos it sounded so child-like ‘disco’. But it was the perfect ending of a very fun vacation. All we had left was our last day at the beach and our flight home.

 

 

Sardinia – June 29th

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Thursday was the second free day in our vacation, but this time we choose to go on an excursion by ourselves. We could add all kinds of different activities if we wanted but we decided on a boat trip. During the trip we’d be able to see the island from the seaside and we would go to three different beaches which could only be reached by boat.

Apparently I’m one of those people who get seasick. I know that I’m not too good with buses and I kind of figured that the same thing would go for boats but I’ve never before felt so miserable on a boat. So far I’ve been on a couple of trips from Den Helder to Texel but that it only a twenty minute crossing I guess that it’s not enough time to feel miserable. I’ve also once made an overnight trip from Rotterdam to York in the UK, I remember not feeling to great then either however those boats are probably a lot more stable. If you ask me this one seemed to roll over the waves from the left to the right and from the front to the back. I was really struggling. It was one of those boats where the top deck is flat and we – our group of fifteen people – took up a large part of the floorboards, we were sitting around waiting for the boat to arrive at the first beach when one of the people in my group suggested for me to lay down. I’m so glad that they told me to do this because I was almost instantly feeling a lot better. So the rest of the boat trip I spend laying down on the floorboards only to get up when we stopped at one of the beaches.

The beaches we visited were absolutely stunning! All three were very different but all were beautiful in their own way.

Sardinia – June 28th

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Ever since I read the what activities we were going to do on our holiday this was my favorite one! I loved the walking down the hill, I absolutely enjoyed myself during the water sports. I was sure that I would love the boat trip and I always enjoy cultural trips so Friday would also be no problem for me. But I was looking forward to this day the most. The mountain bike trip!

I don’t know if I ever talked about this on my blog – I honestly don’t think so – but I have my own mountain bike. I’ve had it for a couple of years now and I love it. I really enjoy going out on my bike into the woods and just feeling the ground under your wheels. The cracking and crunching sound that branches and stones make underneath your wheels, I love it. It’s so relaxing.

So the chance to do this in another country in different circumstances and of course a different environment really appealed to me. I couldn’t wait to get on that bike and get going. We had to get up at seven in the morning … scratch that we had to be at breakfast at seven. So we could leave on time and get back before the day was getting too hot.

I think that I was ready to go at six this particular morning, but I guess I was the only one. So I spend some time reading a book in the hammock, while I waited for the others to go and get some breakfast. At seven thirty breakfast was done and I was completely hyped up. We received our bikes  – which were of really good quality, we all got a 29er mountain bike with all the good stuff on it. I myself have a 26 inch bike (which refers to the wheel size), and I always wanted to try out a 29er. Especially because they say that these bikes have better grip, are easier to ride because they can take obstacles with more ease and they in general are less prone to flipping you over the steering wheel. They ride smoother, it’s easier to get out of sand and it rolls through rough terrain easier. I was ready to experience all of that and more.

So we all got on our bike and got ready to ride off. They told us that it was going to be a  thirty five kilometer ride with a stop at the halfway point. This was supposed to be a beginner ride but honestly if this was supposed to be for beginners I really don’t want to see what they call an advanced ride. It was tough! I’m not going to lie about it, it really was.

Picture this, the Netherlands are flat … really flat except for the very south where I’m from and even then nothing close to the hills and mountains of Sardinia. If you have higher and steeper climbs, you’ll also have tougher descents. And that made it all a lot tougher add to that the fact that it was 36 degrees outside and you can do the math. In my group we had a couple of people who’d never been on a mountain bike. As well as a couple who have a cycling bike but I was the only one with any experience on a mountain bike. Anyway our group varied from absolute beginners to slightly more advanced riders. And we had it tough but one of the beginners wasn’t able to keep up with the pace. Besides that she really didn’t like the mountain biking, she was afraid and I can understand that. It’s certainly not for everyone. We all knew that there would be a point at seven kilometers where we could decide if we wanted to go back or continue. She decided that she’d had enough. I think that it’s a good thing that you try something even if you’re doubtful that you’ll like it and even continue on when you’re afraid. She really broke some boundaries, set herself up to try something new. I would never see that as failure, merely as growth. I applaud her, she tried it and it wasn’t her thing there is no shame in that.

After the seven kilometer mark we knew that we had about ten kilometer to the halfway point what we did so far wasn’t really challenging and I was looking forward to getting on with the tougher stuff. Most of us were ready for it. As soon as we left we got some pretty steep climbs ahead of us and now I was the one struggling. I was feeling so confident literally minutes before and when that climb came I knew that I wasn’t going to make it all the way up. Especially because I got stuck in a track which was too sandy. Most of the other people in my group had experience in cycling – they are used to riding fast while I do the mountain biking thing at my own pace because usually I’m on my own when I ride my bike. I was really struggling to keep up but I couldn’t, nevertheless I was enjoying myself tremendously. Most of the ride I was the last person in the line. But I didn’t care. I decided that I was going to enjoy this, no matter what and I was not going to allow myself to be pushed over my own  I wasn’t afraid and I could easily handle the trail we followed. So that sure wasn’t the problem. Once the two men who guided us convinced themselves of the fact that I wasn’t afraid, they gave me the room to ride at my own pace and catch up with the others at certain points. Which was great, I loved it even more when I was riding down the track on my own. It’s what I do at home, what I’m used to. I was glad though when we reached the half way point. It was time to eat and drink something since it was so warm and we’d been so active.

The stop at the halfway point was a beautiful small place, hidden between the trees. It was one of those places where you would have walked or driven past if you didn’t know it was there. Simply beautiful and a perfect place to take a break.

After the break we continued our path through some small rivers, where we definitely had to get of our bikes. We had about seventeen kilometers to go after the break and little by little the terrain changed. From the hills we slowly but steadily made our way back towards the sea and ever closer to our end point the camping side.

The afternoon was for relaxation. I needed it! I’m gonna be honest here, I was really tired and I decided along with most of the other bikers that the swimming pool would be our place to retreat. Besides that I had my massage that same afternoon, there really couldn’t have been a better moment for a full body massage!

While we were at the swimming pool in the afternoon there was a bushfire at the beach and some people who decided to go to the beach were send back. All afternoon we could hear the planes over our camp side while they made their way from the sea in front of our camping to the beach which was in a small bay. Luckily the fire wasn’t too bad and besides us no one seemed really worried. Apparently bush fires happen in Sardinia all of the time. Especially in a dry summer like this, from what we heard it didn’t rain one drop since March. So the drought was at this point as bad as it usually would be in mid August and it was only the end of June!

 

Sardinia – June 27th

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Tuesday was my day off.

Half of our group was going on their mountain bike trip while the other half – including me was going to have to wait another day. We could fill this day with activities, go to the beach and take another go at the water sport activities or we could just choose to enjoy the sun.

People in Sardinia apparently don’t use ATM machines as often as we are used to using them because it was quite difficult to get money. Of course we could have gotten extra cash at the airport but I’m not used to having a lot of cash with me. I prefer to get some more when ever I need it. And I was not the only one, so we took a bus to another town where we could find the nearest ATM machine. So tip for next time, take more cash money … you’ll need it!

Unfortunately the town was small and not very interesting and long before lunch we were done with it and we couldn’t wait for the bus to pick us up and bring us back to the camping site. It was extremely hot, even in the morning and in the town the heat seemed to be even worse. So we were really happy to get back to the camp side where we could cool off in the shade. We decided to spend the afternoon at the swimming pool under the trees in the shade instead. All in all Tuesday was a really relaxed day, we didn’t do all that much. But it was nice after a couple of really active days.