Three weeks ago I visited Nijmegen. I returned yesterday because I wanted to go to The Valkhof Festival. The town was much busier than it was on my previous visit and it wasn’t just because of the music festival.
Every year in July Nijmegen hosts the International Four Day Marches. It’s the biggest multiple day marching event in the world and this year is especially important because it’s the 100 year anniversary.
The Nijmegen marches begin tomorrow and end on Friday. By the time they have finished the marchers will have walked 120-200km, depending on their chosen category. Every man that takes part has to strap at least 10kg marching weight to his back. Female participants can do so as well, but it’s not compulsory.
Although the marches do not start until tomorrow, Nijmegen has already taken on a party spirit. The streets were packed with people and there were live music shows and other forms of entertainment all over the city. There was even a fair, with more live music, down by the riverside and the local casino had organised a large Ferris wheel elsewhere near the river. Everyone was having a good time and it was a great atmosphere, but I’d returned to Nijmegen for the Valkhof Festival so I spent most of my time in Valkhof Park. A few weeks ago, it was raining, the park was nice and quiet, and there were not many people around. Yesterday the sun was shining and the park was packed.
The Valkhof Festival is always scheduled to correspond with the festivities that accompany the four day marches. This year the festival started on Saturday and the music will keep on playing until late of Friday evening. I am too busy writing to go to the Valkhof Festival every day. I chose to go yesterday because because The Common Linnets were playing and they were the group I most wanted to see.
I was a little late arriving at the park, so I missed the first number, and it was not possible to get close to the stage because The Common Linnets are very popular here in the Netherlands and they put on such a good show their popularity is not at all surprising.
Unfortunately, I could not stay and see all the bands because, although the train service is excellent in the Netherlands, I am presently living in a town that does not have a train station and have to make the final leg home via bus. Missing the last bus would result in a 20km walk.
I stopped long enough to see the American group Los Blancos though, and was totally blown away by a Belgium group called Lili Grace. They have a unique sound. One song they performed could best be described as “haunting”, and the rest of their music was so different I have no idea how to to describe it, but I liked it.