When it comes to large scale events, the “best of” conversation tends to swing itself towards areas of high subjectivity…how we define what we “like”? How our personal finances affect our decisions? What kind of core values do we look for? Many questions, none of which with easy answers.
Well, with that in mind, we’re hoping to put a few events on your radar that are (admittedly) subjective to our writer’s tastes, but with a focus on all of its aspects. Hopefully it will make your decisions easier, highlight some interesting festivals you may not yet be familiar with, highlight events with core values, and (of course) showcase some of the best lineups of musicians, activities, side events the have to offer.
A few days ago we introduced you to Baja’s Genius Loci Fest. A meditation and mindfulness festival on the West Coast beaches of sunny Mexico. Today, we’re crossing over the Atlantic and returning to Europe, looking at an interesting event in our southern neighbor, Belgium. Over this upcoming weekend, 23-25 July, the country’s Castle Ribaucourt will be transformed into a full on festival experience, now in its third year. The event is Paradise City Festival and we’ve had this one on our radar since we discovered it.
First off, the music. A quick look through the lineup (which you can see below) will yield an immediate reaction towards the melodic side of the dance music spectrum (barring certain exceptions). For anyone familiar with Amsterdam’s The Gardens of Babylon event, you’ll find many of the like minded artists that have come through its sold out nights – Acid Pauli, Jan Blomqvist (here, with band in tow), Stavroz, YokoO, and the likes. Of course, the heavy hitters come in the form of frequent Amsterdam favorites as well – Ame, N’To & Joachim Presents Sinners, John Talabot, Agoria, &Me, Andhim, Frankey & Sandrino, Patrice Baumel, Konstantin Sibold (here, going b2b with Kosme), and others. For the Techno, experimental, and more left field heads, Paradise City will over Recondite, Omar-S, HVOB, Giorgia Angiuli, and about 25 more names across its two days. As you can see, there’s a slice for everyone here, musically….what else would you expect when stage hosts are some of Belgium’s best – Roots of Minimal, Ketaloco, Nico Morano, and Love.
Activities at Paradise City and non music highlights really start with its location. Its vast camp ground surrounding the beautiful Castle Ribaucourt provide opportunities as extensive as one’s own imagination. Wander through its 900 years of history, where royalty, celebrities and some of histories most important figures walked through its halls. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even run into a ghost or two.
When not walking (or dancing) make sure you’re eating because their will be several selections of fully organic, fair trade offering, including a fully functioning Paradise City Restauraunt on site run by Chef Sofie Dumont. Aside from the restaurant’s full three course meal, there will also be a variety of more standard festival fare on hand, including some of Belgium’s pioneering food trucks.
Each morning, the camp grounds will host wake up yoga and mindfulness sessions with yoga teacher and healthy lifestyle coach Goedele Leyssen. The classes will be a part of Paradise Inn – the festival’s green and eco friendly camp site aiming to preserve nature and embrace a leave-no-trace and zero-carbon-footprint…and if you still need a break from the seasonal living at the camp site, you can always walk through the the Paradise City Comfort Zone for a recline, some drinks and good food.
Finally, what values does the festival hold and how do they relate to yours? Well, I don’t know about you but, for me, and now more than ever, the environment holds a front and center focus. Paradise City takes their environmental policy very seriously, having outlined a detailed 10 point plan as to how it maintains its sustainability. In fact, the festival won the OVAM Green Event Award in 2016 and looks poised for a repeat showing this year. Amongst its initiatives (which you can see in full here) are locally sourced, organic food options, comprehensive recycling practices, cardboard tents for camping, and renewable energy sources, amongst others.
With Paradise City festival imminent, make sure you head to its ecologically focused three days in Belgium. You’ll be happy you did and you will feel good about yourself for doing so!
Featured Image: John Staples