After three decades since he organized Amsterdam’s first legal “houseparty,” Rocco Veenboer is stepping down as the director of his beloved Awakenings. At the age of 55, Veenboer believes it’s time to pass the torch of responsibilities to the new generation.
The name Awakenings was first introduced during Easter 1997 for a techno-only party held at Amsterdam’s iconic Gashouder. Following its success in Amsterdam, Awakenings went on to grace other monumental venues like Eindhoven’s Klokgebouw and Rotterdam’s Graansilo. However, it’s the large-scale weekend festivals in Spaarnwoude and Hilvarenbeek that Awakenings is most renowned for, drawing tens of thousands of attendees each day.
Over the past few decades, Awakenings has evolved into the largest event brand in the Netherlands, boasting a staggering 300,000 annual visitors. Veenboer reflects on the journey, saying, “In 1997, we hosted just three parties, with a combined audience of around 10,000 attendees. We were also one of the first to emphasize the importance of audiovisual experiences. Looking back, we’ve had the privilege of hosting over 3.5 million people at Awakenings. It has been an incredible few decades. I’m grateful that I lived in Amsterdam in 1988 and was part of the musical house and techno revolution.”
While Veenboer is stepping down as director, he won’t be entirely absent from the party scene. He will continue to work as an advisor at the techno empire until 2027.
Rocco Veenboer’s contribution to the electronic music scene and the legacy of Awakenings will undoubtedly be celebrated for years to come. His decision to pass the reins to the new generation marks a significant turning point in the history of this iconic brand.