A leading festival should be able to speak for itself. The Amsterdam Roots Festival does that in several languages and styles with music from all parts of the globe and portrays our global community with fascinating diversity from far away and from close by. The festival presents artistic talent in the areas between tradition and renewal. Sparking energy through the numerous crossovers between cultures and styles.

The Amsterdam Roots Festival is a festival with a long history of presenting big-name artists, innovating co-operations and still pulling more and more spectators. During the last 20 years, the festival, in all its various forms, has grown into one of the most captivating World Music festivals in the Netherlands.

Dubbed as the ‘festival of inspired devotees’ the first edition 1983 called Africa Roots Festival started in the Melkweg. The term World Music had not even been invented, but in small circles the rumours spread about an extremely danceable African pop music. Slowly but surely, names of certain artists became familiar: Fela Kuti, Franco, King Sunny Adé, Salif Keita, Manu Dibango… Artists, who in Africa were already pulling millions of spectators.

During the celebrations of Amsterdam Capitol of Culture in 1987, the Melkweg organised Amsterdam Roots Meeting ’87, a large-scale feast with music from all corners of the globe. A new community was targeted; the diverse nationals living in the Netherlands. Furthermore popular music styles were budding from other parts of the world which was new to ‘western ears’. This is how the first World Roots Festival came into being – a musical world trip, visiting the most remote cultures and styles. In the first ten years of World Roots, different venues such as het Concertgebouw and de Melkweg presented the stage for worldly musicians while in the Vondelpark, open air performances were held until 1998 it was decided to work in co-operation with Sugar & Spice from the Holland Festival and the Tropical Institute, and so was the Amsterdam Roots Festival born. Through the years, the festival has grown into the most prominent festival in Amsterdam with an annual turnover of roughly 60 concerts at various locations in the city and a huge open air event (free of entrance) in the Oosterpark with performances divided across some 6 very different podiums with performers from all quarters of the world: Roots Open Air. Nowadays the festival attracks about 60.000 visitors, of which some 50.000 for Roots Open Air, and has become one of the biggest world music festivals in the Netherlands.

For the complete line-up check out: amsterdamroots

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