Inspiring conclusion to the
Brightlands Pinkpop Challenge

The Brightlands Pinkpop Challenge generated over a hundred ideas. Two ideas for Pinkpop really stand out, and it’s no coincidence that both are designed to make the festival more sustainable. The first idea involves solar energy that provides enough electricity for the music and light shows at the various stages and perhaps for the entire Pinkpop festival. The second one provides for festival tents for visitors made of biodegradable materials in order to reduce the environmental impact. These are the two ideas generated by the challenge that hold a particular appeal for Pinkpop and which the festival organizers will also explore.

Getting started

Pinkpop boss Jan Smeets: “When you organize a festival, you naturally think about how you can minimize your impact on the environment. These are ideas we can act on. We currently use diesel generators which make a lot of noise not to mention the fumes and odor they produce, just to provide enough power. How great would it be if the sun could just provide us with free energy? We're definitely going to look into this.” Jan Smeets didn’t want to make any predictions just yet about when exactly Pinkpop might be running on solar energy. 
The festival tents made of biodegradable materials are also explicitly on Pinkpop’s wishlist. Jan Smeets: “This would really help make the mountain of waste created during Pinkpop considerably smaller. This really appeals to me.” 

Bright Ideas

Bright Ideas. This is a good way to summarize it. Only time will tell in what form and when we will see these exact ideas at Pinkpop or at other festivals. There is only one conclusion we may draw from the words of Pinkpop icon Jan Smeets during the final session: the Brightlands Pinkpop Challenge and the innovative ideas have given Pinkpop a lot of new inspiration. The world's oldest festival has gained a whole series of new perspectives in the fields of sustainability, health, the use of smart data and healthy nutrition. 


Summer of '69

During the conclusion of the challenge at the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo, the “Summer of ‘69” was the dream for the future. What will Pinkpop be like in 2069? The challenge has yielded a great harvest of creative and innovative ideas, many of which have been depicted as cartoons. Many of these cartoons may be found in the special book on the Brightlands Pinkpop Challenge that was produced as a limited edition. Jan Smeets and Brightlands deputy Joost van den Akker were officially presented with the first copies.

Sustainable dreams

Four Brightlands experts took a closer look at a few of the ideas: Richard Ramakers of AMIBM (Aachen Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials), Christopher Sparks of HIVE, Mark Post of MosaMeat and Bart Verlegh of Innoveins. Writer-philosopher Govert Derix shone his philosophical light on the range of innovative ideas. Their reflections may also be found in the book of Bright Ideas. In his assessment, philosopher Govert Derix observed that “the Brightlands Pinkpop Challenge offers plenty of refreshing input for a complete Boulevard of Sustainable Dreams.”

Mega brainstorm

A few hundred people participated in the challenge, applying their passion, pleasure, knowledge and skill. The first ideas, suggestions and, in some cases, a nearly complete plan, were the products of the mega brainstorm event held on May 10 in which almost a hundred talented youngsters aged 16 to 18 participated at the Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen. During the three days of the Pinkpop festival itself, visitors also came up with a series of valuable suggestions, often born from practice and spontaneous inspiration.  


“The Brightlands Pinkpop Challenge was a fantastic project that generated so many fun, crazy, simple, complex, innovative, good, bad and many other types of ideas. It depends on how you want to look at it. Equally important to me is to see how enthusiastic the future generation is about the challenge, since most of them have never even been to Pinkpop before. Working together on innovation and looking beyond the boundaries of time brought out the best in these young people and made this project a unique learning experience," according to Maurice Olivers of Brightlands. 


In the run-up to Pinkpop, the 3D-printed guitar had already attracted a lot of attention when it was presented at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus. CEO Bert Kip presented this unique anniversary-edition guitar to Jan Smeets, who then handed over the innovative musical tour de force from Brightlands’ 3D printing lab to Lars Ickenroth. As the designer, Lars was there at the birth of this guitar and it was also his idea to have Brightlands make the unique instrument. As guitarist of the band Mt. Atlas, Lars Ickenroth completed the circle by playing a few songs on this guitar at Pinkpop. The 3D-printed guitar was interesting enough for the Belgian VRT news to dedicate a news item to it two days later.


At and around the completely renovated Brightlands Stage, there wasn’t just plenty of attention for the bands and solo artists such as Eurovision Song Contest winner Duncan Laurence; the Brightlands selfie contest was yet another bull’s-eye. Not only was it a lot of fun for all the people submitting their selfies, it also made the two winners of the free tickets to the 2020 edition of Pinkpop each day of the festival really happy.

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