Hard News
By Hard News

What should have been a glorious comeback for CRAFT Festival at a brand new location now ends in a catastrophe. Today it was announced that CRAFT Festival 2017 is cancelled. Next to the festival, this for now also means the end of all other concepts that were held by 13 BV, with events like Damaris, De Tijdmachine and Amsterdam Kookt.

CRAFT Festival

CRAFT Festival already had a wild history. After the first indoor edition of Penoze with the ‘Can’t Remember A F*cking Thing’ theme in 2013, the first full festival edition was held in 2014 at the NDSM-werf in Amsterdam. De rough and unpolished industrial location, de huge atmosphere at the Tijdmachine-stage and a Penoze stage where the crowd went berserk seemed to put the bar up high for this new event. This meant anticipation and expectations were high for the next edition in 2015. 


However, the 2015 edition will be remembered as the edition that was a recipe for disaster. While almost all other festivals cancelled their events on this day, CRAFT Festival decided the show had to go on to offer the thousands of people that were on their way to the NDSM-werf a party that lived up to their expectations. Sadly, that wasn’t the way it went down. The wind shears that gusted over the Netherlands destroyed many of the tents and stages on the terrain. Jeroen Sijtsma, the festival director, personally went on stage and had to break the news to the crowd that the event had been cancelled after all due to the safety of the visitors. The end seemed near for the highly anticipated festival.

Always look on the bright side

The organisation of CRAFT didn’t want to despair. Everything was put into motion to make a new edition possible. The tickets that were sold for the 2015 edition were renewed and everybody received free tickets for the 2016 edition. Loads of support arose from the scene and the visitors and with huge confidence everybody looked forward to the next edition of CRAFT Festival. Even though the 2016 edition – with a fitting ‘Always look on the bright side’-theme – had it’s rough edges due to the aftermath of the year before, the event was a success. On to the next edition, you would say, but however things don’t come naturally to CRAFT Festival it seems. The municipality of Amsterdam caused a major setback by announcing that CRAFT Festival had to leave the location that was the home for the festival since the start.


At the end of 2016 it was festival director Jeroen Sijtsma who announced with great pride that a new location was found for CRAFT Festival. The event would move to recreational area Geestmerambacht, north of the city of Alkmaar. It seemed a great location for a festival, even though the first small complaints arose from the fanbase after the announcement. The new location and date caused some stir and people complained about the greater distance they had to travel and also sounds were heard that the new date wasn’t ideal for them. Nonetheless, people were also compassionate for the choices CRAFT had to make.


When the line-up was announced (with an ingenious puzzle revealing the names), the response was great. The line-up was diverse and each stage starred the biggest names in the scene. Lose Your Mind seemed to have done a great job and the countdown towards the 6th of May started. This year, CRAFT Festival had a new theme dubbed ‘The only way is up’. However during the lead-up to the event, this way up also proved bumpy. Unique promotions were put into motion, with a CRAFT newspaper spread throughout the country and the CRAFTgotchi app that enabled fans to take care of their favorite DJs. Despite all these efforts, the event didn’t seem to gain as much momentum as anticipated. The setbacks from the past like the 2015 storm and the cancelled editions of Reckless and Damaris returned to haunt the organisation and most likely lead to the downfall of 13 BV.


Behind the scenes the people from 13 BV and Lose Your Mind worked overtime to put up an amazing edition of CRAFT Festival, but the ghosts from the past finally urged them to make the hardest decision possible: To end all activities, thus cancelling CRAFT Festival and filing for bankruptcy. Sadly this also means visitors won’t get their tickets refunded.

Statement Jeroen Sijtsma

Jeroen Sijtsma, one of the big names behind the festival and the festival’s creative director, posted a statement today on Facebook (in Dutch) which can be found here. We translated a part of the statement:

This was it. I learned a lot and gained a lot of knowledge. I got to know the tricks of the trade. They can take everything from me, but they can not take my love for Hardstyle and all the people that always supported me from the beginning. Dear reader, I am deeply sorry for not being able to bring you what I so deeply believed in.

Highlights and rock bottom, they are ever so near to each other. We thought we had survived 2015, but it turned out to be the critical hit we weren’t able to recover from. This final blow causes that we simply don’t have any money left to refund any tickets.

To put all this together this simply means: ‘I owe you one’.”

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