More than 3.000 young people at YO!Fest 2017 in Maastricht

More than 3.000 young people at YO!Fest 2017 in Maastricht

On February 7th, 2017, 3,000 young people from all over Europe gathered in Maastricht, Netherlands for the YO!Fest 2017. Exactly 25 years after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, the European project is facing multiple challenges. For one day, young people had the opportunity to reinvent and rethink the models we live in.

The YO!Fest is the annual political, musical, youth-led festival of the European Youth Forum. For its 8th edition, it took place in the framework of the programme of Europe Calling! and was organised together with the City of Maastricht and the Province of Limburg.

Young people must have more opportunities to express their concerns and raise their voices on the issues that matter to them. YO!Fest was a unique event that provided thousands of young people with the space to directly engage with decision-makers through more than 150 activities, from conferences to interactive workshops, thought-provoking debates and discussions, and to “#YouthUp” Europe, making it a better place for young people.

This year, the YO!Fest was built around 6 core themes: Rights, Peace, Participation, Sustainability, Inclusion and Health. Ideas raised throughout the day were discussed in a giant plenary bringing together more than 1500 young people and some high level speakers such as MEPs Marietje Schaake, Brando Benifei, Svetoslav Malinov, and Alaa Murabit, global Sustainable Development Goals advocate. The outcomes of YO!Fest will feed into a Youth Forum position on the future of Europe, and support our advocacy in the run-up to the 2019 European Elections.

This year, the Youth Forum was extremely honored by the presence of the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, at the YO!Fest.

In addition to engaging debates and in-depth conversations, the festival also included plenty of live music. The Generation Maastricht YO!Fest Concert, a European music festival organised in collaboration with Muziekgieterij Maastricht and Jeunesses Musicales International, is held on the evenings of Monday 6 February and Tuesday 7 February.

Luis Alvarado, President of the European Youth Forum:

“We are the most pro-European generation. At a time when the European project is at risk with extremely high youth unemployment, the rise of populist and xenophobic discourse, and a clear lack of ambition from our leaders, we need fresh and radical ideas from young people and youth organisations to bring positive change to our societies. 25 years after the signature of one of the major European treaties, it is time to #YouthUp Europe!”

About the European Youth Forum:

The European Youth Forum is the platform of youth organisations in Europe. Independent, democratic, youth-led, it represents over 100 National Youth Councils and international youth organisations from across the continent. The Forum works to empower young people to participate actively in society to improve their own lives, by representing and advocating their needs and interests and those of their organisations towards the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. For more information, visit

About #YouthUp:


#YouthUp is a Europe-wide campaign powered by the European Youth Forum to crowdsource the best ideas for a more inclusive politics in Europe. For more information visit:

EU festival marks 25th anniversary of Maastricht treaty signing