On July the 5th , 6th & 7th , beach Nes on Ameland was under the spell of a great festival: MadNes! What is MadNes? They promote this themselves as a surf, skate and music festival, but in my opinion it is so much more! So every time I told someone where I was going I said “Some sort of extreme sport music festival”, which might not have been entirely in place, because it really is much more than just that as well!

I had heard of the many clinics you could sign up for, but had not kept an eye on this start date. Oops. Almost everything full. Only a few places left: wave surfing on Saturday and painting a skateboard on Sunday.

Because of the marriage of our sister(-in-law), we had to miss the first day of MadNes, yet we were part of a beautiful wedding. Anyway, on Saturday morning we got in the car early, from Rotterdam to Holwerd was the idea, but somewhere around Amsterdam we discovered that I had forgotten the tickets. Shit … And they really had to be on paper to be scanned. Fortunately we were able to print along the highway at the Starbucks! And on we went. Parked the car, took a boat, rented bicycles (I hate cycling), checked in at the hotel and finally arrived at MadNes in the early afternoon! Let that party begin!

We each got 2 bracelets, one for our evening meal & one that we could pay with. Money could be transferred to the bracelet through an app or exchange machine. But unfortunately .. No internet on the beach, so on to the exchange machine & charged. We had 1.5 hours before our wave surfing clinic would begin and took advantage of it by exploring the grounds and eating a snack. Man there was so much to see and do !! I saw skaters go crazy on the half-pipe, people wriggle around in all sorts of bends with yoga, an obstacle course that was stormed by both adults and kids, wave and kite surfers who went wild on the water behind the festival & a BMX clinic, check. I want to participate in that no matter what. But fck … Couldn’t sign up for that remember…? Right.

Time for our first clinic. Wave surfing. I dressed up in a way too small children’s wetsuit, Chris in a way too large men’s wetsuit, both full of holes. We were not that smart to bring our own wetsuits. “Phew, this is going to be cold,” I thought. The large group of people in way too small and large wetsuits was divided among the instructors. Grab a board, here you have a brief instruction & off you go. Too cold? I was so busy getting washed by the waves that I didn’t notice anything! But how nice it was !! A number of our group were really good at it, including Chris. Yes, they managed to stand for a while. Me… well, I just felt like a seal not made for wave surfing. I was finally able to catch a wave, riding the board on my knees instead my feet and ended it with a face first crash. Completely exhausted and satisfied we came back. Taking off that too small wetsuit … that was a drama. And cold. But taking wave surfing lessons is perhaps something we will do this summer thanks to the clinic!

Time for food. Hmmmmm .. Delicious stuffed tortillas with beans, meat, vegetables and rice. Loved it. After another round of walking we arrived at “De Rits”. Where Jasper van der Veen, a comedian, made us laugh, followed by an evening full of good music & dances! How wonderful to get to know these great bands and how strange that I have never listened to them before !! We enjoyed the performances of Starfish, Hackensaw Boys, The Phantom Four, Bukahara & The Stiff Joints. In the meantime, Chris got the illusion that he could tame the half-pipe, his ego got hurt but we fixed it by enjoying ourselves at the “children’s” skate park. By midnight it became difficult to stay on our feet … Okay, Let’s be smart and call it a night. 30 minutes of cycling back to the hotel. Tipsy & with a headwind. On the way to the festival we went up and down on hills… now it seemed like we were just going up hill. All the time. I hate cycling. When we arrived at our hotel we took a night bath to celebrate that we had survived the ride, then our lights went out.

After a short night, a nice hungover breakfast and another bike ride we were back on the festival around 11:00 am. 1, 2, 3, 4 Red Bulls we drank. YES! I already hoped that many hungover festivalgoers stayed in bed longer, and my prayers were clearly answered.

We were one of the first to zip-line over the festival. What a kick! That BMX clinic? I followed that! As a substitute for someone who was probably still sleeping in his bed. Super cool!!

After a walk Chris and I were persuaded to participate in the Monkey Cage! (Some sort game of tag.) I was completely destroyed, had sand in all kinds of places where I didn’t want it to be, but I had a great time as well! After the Monkey Cage we were hungry. And thirsty. Fortunately there were enough food stands where we could fill our belly. We nodded in a few more Red Bulls and threw ourselves on an indo board for half an hour while salsa dancing took place in the other half of the tent. Time for my last clinic, painting a skateboard. I had taken my skateboard with me and painted a “dragon” on it in 1.5 hours.

What a great festival. Unfortunately we arrived at the end of the festival and we had to hurry to catch our boat.

I had not been to a festival for years. Partly because I am terribly impatient, I don’t like to wait, I quit smoking (and I was afraid the desire would be hard to fight at a festival) and I also often find it a bit on the expensive side. But MadNes, you are worth it all. I had a wonderful time without the waiting, desire to smoke, but full of fun! There were a lot of other clinics that I also wanted to try, such as archery, yoga, slackline, surf rafting, mountain boarding and so on. Unfortunately. You can’t have everything.

So that means only one thing: Until next year MadNes!

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