Column: Home Is Where The Art Is

BnB’s Art & Lifestyle columnist Saar Amptmeijer gets in depth on the importance of a festival’s location, decoration, and the way visuals add that extra special ingredient to the overall experience.

In music, every genre has its own specific use of decoration in which elements such as visuals, art installations and performance are essential factors. The way these factors are designed and applied do in some way depend on the musical genre, by which one can say that music is the perspective from which decoration is conceived.      

But what if  the visual side of things are the event’s foundations? What if the event’s musical content is being extracted from the organization’s visual perspective? In other words, what if the process is the other way around when compared to standard events where is the key aspect? Some locations and event sites seem to carry along a certain magical vibe. In this case, decoration is the most important factor in setting up an event because if it wasn’t for that site, there wouldn’t be an event. Whatever is organized on that site consumes some of the magic that covers the area.  

More and more events seem to acknowledge the importance of an event’s surroundings, both intimate as mass events. A good example is this small event that took place in July somewhere in the Netherlands. The location: a fortress on a deserted isle with a limited capacity of only 400 people. During the event one could just wander around  this highly atmospheric ‘Fort Clochard’, by which it became an event never to forget. See it as some kind of a family weekender: it’s not so much about attending, it’s about being a part of it.     

Another example of such a magical place is the Ferropolis site in Eastern Germany, a gigantic lake that used to be a one gaping hole that once served as a lignite mine. This lignite was retrieved with the use of enormous machines, some of which still decorate the area. Throughout the year this area serves as an outdoor exposition site, but one weekend the site marks the location of the Melt! Festival. This event attracts 30,000 visitors, all raving amidst an industrial decorum. One of the stages at this festival is The Big Wheel Stage, where performance take place from within one of these machines. Around it are hundreds of ravers going absolutely crazy. Imagine heaps of metal remarked by a utterly amazing industrial atmosphere and artists such as Pantha Du Prince, Oliver Koletzki and Joris Voorn bringing on the madness. By day the site looks absolutely spectacular but when night falls the event turns into this amazing industrial world filled with metallic monsters and set on fire with the use of light shows and projections. But the Melt! organization  has more tricks up their sleeve apart from this: the area is scattered with various projections and items such as disco balls. A closer look reveals the unique setting and the magic that has been added.

To me, this is what gives a festival that extra touch. Music obviously still is an essential factor but in order to get to a true sense-tingling experience one has to take the event’s setting into consideration too. A location brings along a huge deal of atmosphere, and the atmosphere that is of impact on an event is on impact on me as a visitor as well. Whether it’s a lignite mine or a fortress-,  such places make me forget everything for the shortest of moments and give me the feeling that my friends and me are having our own little family weekender.

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