A couple of minor skirmishes aside, the Liberation Day festivals in the north on Saturday were big successes this year.
UPDATE: Wednesday, 9 May, 4:24 p.m.
According to Sikkom, two 17-year-old young men from Leeuwarden at the Liberation Day festival in Groningen were beaten up by a group of about eight other young men. One of the 17-year-olds, whose name is Emir, suffered a concussion and multiple cuts and bruises. The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. at the Sena stage, and the young men who initiated the attack have not been identified.
Original story below:
The Leeuwarder Courant reports that prime minister Mark Rutte lit the symbolic liberation torch (after some technical difficulties) in Leeuwarden to kick off the nationwide festivals on Saturday. Around 100,000 visitors attended the Leeuwarden edition, and the festivals in Groningen and Assen both had huge turnout: there were between 135,000 and 150,000 festival-goers in Groningen, and 40,000 in Assen, which tied the record for biggest turnout in 2014. Around one million people attended the festivals nationwide.
Dagblad van het Noorden writes that according to Nathan van Gelder, the director of the Assen edition, the great weather conditions and a strong line-up of musical acts contributed to the massive turnout. This year’s helicopter act – Dutch rapper Ronnie Flex and his band Deuxperience – travelled to Assen and Groningen to take the stage, and festival organisers planned performances by other headliners like Famke Louise at other stages to distribute the crowds more evenly.
In Groningen, festival director Diederik van der Meide says that the huge number of visitors to the free festival resulted in record-breaking sales. Organisers installed entrance ports at several stages in order to keep the crowd size under control: the Urban/Sena stage was temporarily closed on Saturday afternoon to prevent overcrowding.
Given the size of the crowds, there were notably few incidents. Around 50 visitors in Groningen became unwell due to the heat, but Van Der Meide says that was fewer than last year. One young man sprayed another young man with pepper spray at the Groningen festival and was kicked off the premises. Fencing was knocked down at the Urban/Sena stage and several visitors fell, but there were no reported injuries. Three people were detained at the Assen festival for disturbing the peace.
Video source: Bevrijdingsfestival Groningen