By Jase Walker

Updated Jera On Air 2024I’ve been to a lot of festivals over the years but Jera On Air 2024 was my first ever European/Dutch festival and while I was there I had a thought that I wanted to write-up a bit more about the overall festival itself and how some particular bits stood out to me that positively affected the experience overall (with a couple of minor criticisms).

Overall some of these things are more minor in the grand scheme of everything but the impact they had was a stark contrast to the ÜK festivals I’ve been to and I think the ÜK could probably learn some good lessons from Jera’s example.

I’ll headline each bit that stood out to me and of course this is going to be a heavily subjective bit of talking and I may not hit absolutely everything but I’ll at least talk about what specifically stood out to me.

Token System

So I do have mixed feelings on this because on one hand I feel like this messes with your ability to keep proper track of your spending while at the festival but on the other it made the whole process of buying food and beer extremely quick because there’s no reliance on people fishing out change or or figuring out why their cards declined or why the card machine is suddenly just not working. It keeps the denomination to a low number and chucking someone one ticket for a small beer or two for a large is much quicker generally than waiting the excruciatingly long time for a contactless terminal to realize it needs to find its connection again.

Token prices were roughly €3.60 for token, with the ability to pre-order for a small discount.

Some examples of food prices for example were a kebab for three tokens, frites with sauce at 1.5 tokens, half a pizza was 2.5 tokens, so overall it’s not badly priced as far as a festival goes.

Cup Deposit Scheme

This is the first time I’ve really seen a cup deposit scheme at a festival, in the way that Jera does it anyway. The cups are your bog standard, regular plastic cups, there’s no decoration or collectability in this but there is a small bit of value attached to them that it encourages people to not throw them on the floor as if you lose your cup or did not hand it in for a deposit token in return, you have to pay half a token for a new cup.

Sometimes getting the deposit token back can be a pain in the arse but Jera makes sure that the bars are adequately staffed so you don’t really need to wait long, and there’s people on the gates for the arena on the way out later at night that are there to do the token exchange as you leave.

The result was a pretty immaculate festival grounds area. They did have people doing the litter picking pretty often but there was clearly a huge incentive to not throw cups on the floor when you’re done with them as is always the case at every single ÜK festival I’ve been to.


Jera On Air had the single, absolute best, showers and toilets I have ever seen at a festival. Not only were they generally clean but there were so many of them it was rare that I ever had to queue for any length of time and that includes the showers.

To describe the sort of scene, the campsite toilet and shower area was on a raised platform so it was above any potential runoff and gave a stable surface to walk around on rather than being subject to the steadily worsening ground conditions of thousands of people walking around on mud. Absolutely incredible idea really. The showers did look a bit grim by the last day but I was mainly surprised by there being so many that any lines quickly went down and I think the longest I had to queue was ten minutes on the busiest time I’d seen them.

The toilets in the arena were similarly fantastic too, and on the way into them they had misters blowing cold mist down across the entrance so you got a lovely fresh blast of cold air as you walked through which was fantastic on the hotter days at the start. Again similar planning with a huge amount of toilets in blocks and urinals opposite and I don’t think I ever saw a particularly large queue for the women’s toilets either. Overall fantastically well planned and made having to take quick nature breaks an absolute breeze.

Stage Flooring

I have never seen this before at any ÜK festival. Every tent had wooden boards for flooring which in some ways did have it’s issues which made it a bit easy to trip if one of the wooden planks stuck up a bit further but this in my opinion is absolutely genius thinking.

So a good example of why I thought this was fantastic was I went to ArcTanGent in 2019 and that festival was one of the worst washouts I’ve been to (you’ve obviously never been to Steelhouse, Jase – Ed): it was catastrophic how much the rain fucked the ground. I distinctly remember watching Sleep Token and I could feel my feet (thankfully in wellies) slowly sinking into the ground to the point where I was rooted to the spot.

So while the rain did cause some puddles and the like to form in one of the tents, everyone had a solid floor to walk on. This really is something I think other festivals need to take note of, it’s such a simple change but the quality of the viewing experience when people don’t have to worry about potentially losing a shoe to the ground swallowing it up or differently abled people with crutches or wheelchairs not having to worry too much about their equipment becoming wrecked by the mud is truly enriched.

I would seriously urge ÜK festivals to consider this themselves; it’s a real game changer.

Staffing Levels

Jera On Air had easily the most well staffed food stalls and bars I’ve seen recently also. I rarely had to wait more than a few minutes for a beer, there were several bars around the stages as well as inside them. Each of them running a slick operation where there were dedicated pourers and servers which, along with the token and cup deposit system, led to a quick and painless process of getting your next drink.

It never felt like I was going on some sort of wild sojourn to grab a beer at a bar that was ten minutes walk away from the stage I was at, it was a less than five minute round trip, no stress at all.


Jera’s layout is extremely simple and avoids choke points. The big two stages are right next to each other and alternate while the Hawk and Buzzard stages were at opposite ends with a slightly longer walk I suppose but did a great job of separating out the noise between the stages.

The food was sensibly placed with two ‘court’ areas both with shaded seating in the immediate area for people to sit down and eat. And two separate ‘market’ areas for band and other merchandise, easy as that. No issues getting around, there’s facilities on the way in both directions, the token machines are many. The bottom line is that it was easy to get around and know where you were going.

I have one particular criticism however when it comes to the layout. I think it needs more ‘boarded’ pathways around the arena, and what I mean is there’s a metal floorboard that ‘snaps’ together like Lego that I have seen elsewhere that I think would make it far easier for disabled access. Despite the (admittedly fantastic) efforts of the festival to keep the arena walkable after all the rain over the weekend, the arena was pretty hard to get around due to the ground becoming mushy with everyone walking on it so I can only imagine the difficulties that differently abled persons would have had.

On-site medical

This particular experience I suppose is very specific to myself but I have sleep apnoea which makes sleeping at festivals a bit of a challenge so I have to make sure I have my battery charged for my CPAP machine or it makes the festival experience extremely rough. Partway through the festival my charger for my battery decided it was going to give up and stop charging at all so of course that makes me panic. I was directed by the press team who had been helping me out with charging the battery the day before (which is massively appreciated!) to go to the medical team on site and explain the situation. The coordinator immediately understood what I needed and put me on a short trip to Jera’s Mission Control and explained to the security heads what was needed and they sorted me out and were able to charge my battery! Hooray for a full proper night’s sleep for the whole festival. So massive thanks to everyone who helped me with that, you’re all incredible.

Overall Experience

The sheer ease of getting to the festival site from Amsterdam going to Deurne and getting the shuttle bus and getting in, pitching up and getting stuck into the festival really got things off to a good start. But being able to quickly duck back to camp or get food/drinks in the middle of band sets or while walking to different stages and generally get around really made Jera an easy festival to enjoy.

I cannot overstate how much of an impact that ease can have on a festival experience. I didn’t feel inconvenienced at any point, rules were sensible and politely enforced, thoughtfulness with the festival’s design, and just flowing through the entire weekend is going to set the bar for what I would expect from a festival extremely high.

Jera On Air is a fantastic festival and I’ll be trying to convince as many friends of mine back in the UK to join me next year as well.

Roll on 2025, I’m already booking the weekend off.

  • Jera On Air 2025 takes place 26 – 28 June.
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