Tribfest at Sea & Amsterdam

Ever heard of a festival at sea? No I don't mean a shanty festival about the sea. I mean on the sea. This weekend a few friends and I popped over to Amsterdam on the ferry, which we've done a fair number of times since our late teens (read: 20 times!) but this time was different.

That's because this mini cruise was hosted by Tribfest, the world's largest festival for cover bands that takes place in East Yorkshire every August.

Normally at Sledmere Estate, it's the typical mix of big tops, marquees and a field full of tents but this time it was on the North Sea sailing to Amsterdam.

For the full weekend on board the ferry we had entertainment by some of the most amazing cover bands, from The Beautiful Couch, to the Four Kicks, a Kings of Leon tribute.
A dutch dash is normally a pretty fun affair on board the ferry anyway, with lots of drinks and antics, but this time there was awesome music to dance to. As we set sail, the party was in full swing and we hardly left the dance floor, other than to get a drink.

Although the sea was rough that night, we barely felt it as we whirled and twirled around the dance floor, barely letting the smile leave our faces.

Occasionally we'd pop up to the deck to get some very fresh air. There's nothing like the biting November air of the North Sea, let me tell you.

After finally getting to bed in the early hours of the morning after an amazing night of music, we were woken rudely early by the bing bongs, as we've come to affectionately name them. Starting from 6am (which is actually earlier with the time difference) and getting progressively louder until you can ignore them no longer.

We stumbled out of our cabin beds, which were compact but serviceable chatting excitedly about the night before. Grabbing a pastry and a coffee from the cafe, we waited to disembark and head over to the Dam for the day.
A couple of the party were still a little tipsy from the night before which made for good comedy value and soon we were on board the coach.

We made a beeline for brunch at Bar Boca's needing to line our tummies and set us up for the day. The portions of fries and mayo were enormous and very welcome, as were the full fat cokes we downed.
Next we headed into the characterful old cobbled streets, stopping to pop into the odd shop that caught our eye. November is a great time for starting Christmas shopping and we made the most of the delicious offerings in Amsterdam.

We all bought Stroopwaffles, gooey, caramel wafers that you place on top of a steaming mug of coffee and watch them melt.
Needing a little pick me up, we found a cool old pub, or Brown Cafe as they are called here, De Drie Fleschjes, which is the oldest pub in the Dam. We sat back and relaxed with an ice cold Dutch lager or a coke for those who could not face more booze.
Later we strolled the canal taking in the beautiful ruined facades of some of the town houses and counting the many bridges and bicycles we saw.
We've done many of the tourist haunts on our previous visits, but no visit is complete without taking a wander through the Red Light District for a giggle.

This time we wanted to go a bit more cultured and visited the funky Gallery Paul Andriesse full of exquisite works of art.
Soon it was time to head back to the ferry, feeling tired but looking forward to another night of entertainment. This time as well as enjoying some bands we also took to the cinema room where they had stand up comedians. We chortled the night away, popping back out to the main stage every now and then to see another amazing cover band.

Have you ever been to a festival at sea? Any good Amsterdam haunts I can add to my list for next time?

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