Lonely Planet Writer

Introducing Mandala: the festival designed by a four-year-old is coming to the Netherlands

There’s something about summer festivals that make perfectly reasonable adults revert to a child-like state; frolicking around a campsite in a costume without a care in the world. To a seasoned festival-goer, it seems only natural that the Netherlands’ newest festival was designed by a four year old.

Julia's design which kick-started the festival.
Julia’s design which kick-started the festival.

Two years ago little Julia Mingers brought her father Marcel a drawing. She explained it was “Mandala, a festival for you and me and all nice people”. Now the drawing is becoming a reality as the Mandala Festival runs from June 3-6 in the Dutch village of Wanroij. The end result is remarkably close to Julia’s original vision, complete with a forest, beach and a lake. In fact, Julia is so organised she even included a car park into the original drawing! To make Mandala a reality, Julia needed some adult help and that’s where her father Marcel stepped in.

Julia and Marcel.
Julia and Marcel. Image by Mandala Festival Facebook

It’s probably no surprise that Julia is proving herself adept at festival planning. As the founder of events company Extrema, her father Marcel has been a successful player in the Dutch festival industry since 1992 and Julia has always been around huge events and the months of preparation it takes to organise them.

The end result is a family-friendly festival full of music, art, games, workshops, sport and plenty of colourful entertainment. Instead of traditional big stages, the festival will be full of 13 unique “tribes” each with their own concept. Punters are encouraged to explore the smaller areas and discover new music; from beach parties to pop-up gigs in hidden tree-houses.

Ralin Express will be just one of the performance artists at the festival.,]
Ralin Express will be just one of the performance artists at the festival. Image by Ralin Express Facebook

The festival is, of course, very family-friendly and children are allowed to explore the entire site, while after dark they can enjoy a special playground. Tickets are available for €50 for an adult and start at €10 for a child and increase according to age.