Issue 15 8/2000
It is always not easy to start a new folk festival - especially if you plan to start it directly as bigger one...
In the Netherlands this year three big folk festivals took place for the first time ever - Tilburg International Folk Festival in January, Sterren in Drenthe Festival in June and Eindhoven's Folkwoods Festival in August.
From the music point of view all three were very strong, featuring many first class bands and musicians. All of the festivals had the focus on European music - a good decision in our opinion! It is good to see European music taking more a center stage position in the world music market - and with European I mean a broad selection from Flanders to Ireland, from Hungary to Sweden and from France to Portugal.
Two of the festivals were a success audience wise - the third a disaster. Tilburg International Festival and Folkwoods Festival in Eindhoven began early with their campaign, big parts of the line-up were early booked, so that flyers could be made, they announced their festivals in newspapers and magazines. With the result that many people have heard of these festivals before the first edition took place - with an excellent line-up and good organisation people will come to the first edition of an festival!
Sterren in Drenthe festival - a festival with a charming concept, being decentrally located in diverse places of a whole region - has made nearly no advertisement or announcement (FolkWorld being one of the very few exceptions). And - as you can imagine - the audience did not come. Often less than a dozen people came to the concerts - some examples: the German famous trio Liederjan attracted two people to listen to, the Whisky Priest had no audiance at all. A lot of bands were flown in just for their gig at the festival, and then they had to find out that they had to play in front of a very small audience...
It is tragic to see something like this happen to a festival with an interesting concept and an excellent line-up. And this only because they made no announcements or advertisements. But the organizers were lucky, because the European union has financed this festival; so they will not have to pay back for this disaster for many years (the EU invested several hundred thousand EUROs into the festival!). The European Union secured the funding for (at least) the first three years, so the festival can and will happen for a second time - hopefully then better anounced and more successful...
But let us come back to the more successful festivals - it is great to see that it is possible to start successfully a new mayor folk festival in Europe. You need a good concept, a good team to do all the work and of course good marketing (with early flyers, anoucement in newspapers and magazines, a godd homepage. etc.)
Tilburg International and Folkwoods were very well organized - best wishes to those who are involved, you have done a great job!
And until in your region a new big folk festival starts - why not go to see those in the Netherlands, it is really worth it!
Your FolkWorld Editors.
Photo Credit: (1) La Bottine Souriante in session with Dervish at Tilburg International folk festival
(2) Hoven Droven at Folkwoods Festival
Read the reviews of the three festivals:
Tilburg International festival, in issue 13
Folkwoods festival in Eindhoven, in this issue
Sterren in Drenthe festival, in this issue
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To the content of FolkWorld online magazine Nr. 15
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