The formula is clear: are you a pioneer in your own genre, a great broadcast weapon that chains the hits, or are you a legendary act returning to the stage? Then it is very likely that you will come to Schijndel during the Easter weekend for a performance. Brabant’s three-day Paaspop – cheerful, colourful, mix of styles and luxuriously decorated – traditionally kicks off the open-air festival season.

Antoon Transmission Gun photo by Andreas Terlaak

This again attracted a potpourri of names that appeal to all kinds of music fans. Already from day one, fans of heavier guitar work were entertained by Wargasm, Ploegendienst, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Limp Bizkit, spread over three stages. The festival’s younger visitors, on the other hand, charted an entirely different route through the site, beyond the top 40 names and mainstream giants. A nine-year-old boy had his first festive experience with his father in the biggest tent at the festival. Proud: “We just saw Flemming and Antoon and now we’re moving on to Kriss Kross Amsterdam!”

It is a list of Dutch-speaking music stars who emerged during the coronavirus pandemic. They experienced their leeward advances and made giant leaps last year. For example, young singer and rapper Antoon (21) played two nights at a sold-out Ziggo Dome less than half a year ago. Today, as a hybrid-style mixer, he epitomized Paaspop exactly: all boundaries blur, from hip-hop to synth-pop.

Flemming crowd shooter in Paaspop. photo by Andreas Terlaak

The rookie Flemming (27) also operates in that corner. What was also particularly striking is the ease with which they wrapped the 19,000-capacity Apollo tent and nearly full in the early hours of the day with their rapped pop songs.

Shift work at Paaspop. photo by Andreas Terlaak

Then his partner, rapper Ray Fuego, had a tougher time later on The Jack: a slightly smaller turnout for his band Ploegendienst. The band members, including hip-hop formation SMIB, punk duo Aus Raus, and punk band Malle Pietje and the Bimbos, hadn’t seen each other in almost two years, but apparently there was still enough in the tank. Despite the few spectators, Fuego cheered up the audience. Towards the end of the set the reward came: another circular hole.

Visitors dressed in croquettes

Paaspop has peaked in terms of acreage, but the site itself changes a lot every year. Every musical genre has a place. For example, Roxy, for hip-hop and R&B, and The Silver Warehouse, for house, have switched locations and both tents have gotten considerably larger. And there were new settings, like the intimate Luxor.

Once the mud from the heavy rains on Holy Thursday had dried, it was also time to enjoy outside the kiosks. On Saturday the weather cooperated particularly well, the atmosphere was positive and joyful in the Join Us area, the theater and the curio plaza. For example, visitors dressed as a kibble ran through a life-size air fryer. Others were lost in old games like ‘Annamaria Cuckoo’. Laugh!

Easter Doll Visitors photo by Andreas Terlaak

Paaspop also offered stage space for the unusual. In the Loco Royale, the cheesy was central. Where else than in the center of Brabant do you suddenly find yourself at the concert ‘How do you mean Luste Gij Ginne Koffie’? The concert name question creatively replaced choruses from iconic hits from all genres; from hard rock to tear-jerking.

Another eye-catcher: MEUTE on the shelves at Phoenix, with brass instruments on techno beats from the genre’s leading producers. A marching band that took on the DJ duty and worked too. Sure: the best start to a summer music season was again at Schijndel. And the mix of genres was rampant. We will no doubt be seeing him on the outdoor stages a lot this upcoming season.