“Watdajel..” If you pronounce it with the Spanish ‘jota’, it becomes Spanglish for “what the hell..!” Because where on the planet do you find giant, moving eyeballs, psychedelic grafitti, a virtual reality bike and vintage cumbia together in one place? Flabbergasted already? Welcome to the most innovative, most extravagant celebration of creativity in Utrecht, Amsterdam and surroundings!
The former edition in July had the Peruvian global bass heavywheights Dengue Dengue Dengue!, right after I blogged their ‘Serpiente Dorada EP’, and I missed it.. So I promised myself that I would attend next time, no matter what.
This time, it was in an industrial hall not too far from my house. When I entered, I stepped into a magical world, in a dim light with spots that drew the attention to the different artworks that were positioned around the hall in such way that they created little corners, microclimates with their own characters. The bar, foodcorner, the chill-container and the DJ booth from where jumpy techno grooves filled the hall, were pieces of art by themselves.
The concept of fusing of art and music into a whole experience of creativity comes from Peru and is, according to organiser Jesús, much more common in Latin America. “When I came to Holland, there was nothing quite like what I knew from there, so I thought, let’s create it myself.”
All the contributing artists are young pioneers from the surroundings of Utrecht and Amsterdam in the personal network of the organiser. In one corner, the collective Creative Transformation offered a combination of bodypainting, shisha, massages and energetic stones. In another corner, there was a hometrainer-like bike with a virtual reality mask next to it, where you could take a hyper-realistic bike-ride through a grim cyberpunk city where you were followed and observed by enormous eyeballs floating through the air.
I walked towards one of the benches in the middle of the hall, where people flocked together to chill, chat and eat their food and ran into two familiar faces I happened to have met only two days earlier in a random snackbar after which we went for a beer. They encouraged me to climb the virtual reality bike myself and enter this impressive world, wandering through dark deserted alleys with in the background still the techno grooves, which overpowered the murmur of voices and made the experience even more immersive. And when I put off the virtual reality glasses, I couldn’t help but wonder what you would see if you removed the glasses of our own world…
But the best surprise of all was that they were friends of the DJ collective behind what appears to be the most thriving global bass party in Utrecht: Safari in het Bos (Safari in the Woods), who would spin tropical grooves all night in the upstairs area, featuring guest sets of Scarab Soundsystem, Edgar Nevermoo and The Rockers Domtown!
I got the opportunity to have a beer together and ask a couple of questions about this wonderfully successful concept. That interview will appear on the blog soon!
Shortly after the interview, Edgar opened with an all-vinyl set of delicious, nostalgic Colombian vintage cumbia to fill the place with tropical happiness and warm up the area for the more bassful work that would follow later.
I asked organiser Jesús if he has any more surprises in store for us and the readers of Generation Bass in the upcoming editions.
He smiled. “Extending the network, involving more varied forms of art, especially performing arts like theatre and dance.”
And when I asked a visitor how she would describe your overall impression of this festival in one sentence, she did it in one word:
We’ll keep you updated about the next edition!
Check out a little photo report here that I made with my phone!
The proyections on the spheres moved, and winked
Glow-in-the-dark grafitti in the chill-container
Me in virtual reality
Upstairs area, turned into a rainforest
Dj Edgar Nevermoo behind the turntables