Psy-Fi Festival, one of the biggest trance festivals in Europe, will get under way next week in Leeuwarden – but this year is set to be the final edition of the music event in the city. The festival organisers have confirmed that they are in talks with another municipality about hosting the event there as of next year.
Festivals at De Groene Ster such as Welcome to the Village and Psy-Fi have been bumping up against more and more limitations in recent years, being forced to stop plugged in performances after midnight out of consideration to nearby houses. De Groene Ster is a 1,000-hectare recreational area east of Leeuwarden with lawns, beaches, swimming ponds and walking paths.
Psy-Fi organiser Wiebe Kootstra tells Omrop Fryslan that the legal headache of the location has promoted them to look elsewhere, and to seek guarantees that similar stipulations will not stymie the event. The festival is especially popular outside of the Netherlands: around 80 percent of festival-goers come from abroad.
Leeuwarden festivals have repeatedly met representatives of the municipality and an interest group called Groene Ster Duurzaam in court over the years. Groene Ster Duurzaam wants to ensure that festivals on the grounds will not have amplified performances after midnight and the enforcement of lower decibel levels.
Psy-Fi followed the rules last year, but the event organisers have confirmed that 2019 will be the final edition of the trance music festival at the current location. Kootstra says the rules have had an impact on ticket sales: “Last year, we sold 12,000 tickets, and this year, we only sold 10,000. If it keeps on like this then we’re just going to end up bankrupt.” The biggest crowd in the festival’s history was 17,000 attendees. The first edition of the festival in 2013 was held in the Stadspark in Groningen.
Kootstra told Omrop Fryslan that he cannot confirm any details about where the festival will relocate to, but tickets for the 2020 edition are set to go on sale in October. The municipality of Leeuwarden is currently working on a new policy for De Groene Ster to permit the festivals to continue there, but Groene Ster Duurzaam has already indicated plans to oppose any such proposals.
Correction: The first edition of the festival was held in Groningen, not in Leeuwarden. The text has been corrected to reflect this.