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After two cosy familiar editions the festival now will be held a bit bigger in several venues in the heart of the city. The music program centres on several cornerstones: Jazz, Classical influenced Indiepop, Chamber Pop, Post-punk, Techno, Dubstep, and Minimal Wave. Many leading innovatory music producers such as Holly Herndon, James Ferraro, Julia Holter, Modeselektor, Nils Petter Molvaer & Moritz von Oswald, or Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer will perform live. Furthermore the legendary Belgian R&S Record label celebrates its 30th birthday during the R&S Records x REWIRE dance night and will showcase artists like Lone, Space Dimension Controller, and dBridge. Beside music the festival features again contemporary art with several exhibitions, screenings, and performances. For those who want to look behind the scenes of one of the most ambitious festivals in the Netherlands just scroll down beneath the flyer and read the interview with the REWIRE artistic director and music curator Bronne Keesmaat.
11/08/2013- 11/09/2013 - REWIRE - The Hague - NL
Hey Bronne – can you introduce yourself for us a bit? Where are you coming from, what is your occupation?
Bronne: I'm Bronne, artistic director and music curator of REWIRE Festival. I live in The Hague, the third largest city of The Netherlands, on the South-West coast of Holland. Next to my activities for REWIRE Festival I'm a freelance music promoter.
What is your musical background? What was the impetus behind the launch of REWIRE Festival three years ago?
Bronne: I've always been fascinated by sharing the music that, in my view, needs to be heard. This was also the reason I started DJing in 2001. From 2007 until 2008 I ran a small music blog with the same motives. I used to work for a visual arts initiative in The Hague and was asked to organize a festival where young local visual artists could present their work in a wider context with music and a more easy going approach than found at institutional art spaces or museums. This resulted in two successful editions of Wired Festival, a small scale festival with local visual artists and music. When the initiative stopped receiving governmental support in 2010 I left the organization. I decided to start my own organization and build on the modest success of Wired Festival. The only thing that is reminiscent today of the former Wired Festival is the name: REWIRE. The name rewire represents the idea of making new connections every new edition.
What is the difference between REWIRE and other festivals?
Bronne: REWIRE Festival is about experiencing artists of the highest international quality in an intimate small scale setting. We do not present spectacle, but try to focus on small gestures.
What do you try to achieve when you mix art exhibitions and music?
Bronne: The exhibition at REWIRE serves as laboratory for critical reflection within the festival. For us it is interesting to see how music festivals and contemporary art exhibitions compare. In festivals, both time and space are more limited. With the help of block schedules, visitors put together their own programs and hurry from artist to artist in the hope of not missing anything, while it is in fact impossible not to have missed something. This results in a completely different audience dynamic than at an exhibition, where works of art patiently wait for visitors to come and see them. For a festival, there is an urgency, a need to 'be part of it'. Time frames are more compact, the program much fuller and the changeovers faster. The encounters between makers and audience, between members of the audience themselves, eating and drinking, being there together is always a greater factor at a festival than at exhibitions, where the coming together is usually at the opening or finissage. What can an exhibition learn from a festival, and what can a festival learn from an exhibition? These are questions that we asked ourselves as we were putting together the program. Our music program was organized the way a curator would design an exhibition, while the exhibition, Momentum, investigates how art can thrive in a society that is increasingly focused on living in the here and now, and therefore it borrows elements from the festival format.
This years program is bigger than the last two years and has a strong concept. Can you tell us a bit about the idea behind this years edition?
Bronne: This year, the music program is more extensive than ever before, and it centres on several cornerstones: Nordic Jazz, Indie Classical, Chamber Pop, the Collaborative Programme, Post-punk, and Minimal Wave. It also highlights a number of interesting electronic producers who are developing as against-the-grain singer/songwriters. The central exhibition, Momentum: As Art Has To Happen Now, will be on view for a full five weeks. During the exhibition, there will be an extensive series of workshops for secondary school students and an interesting, parallel program with lectures, presentations, screenings, and performances.
How would you describe the musical bandwidth of REWIRE?
Bronne: Wide but rigid. The focus points differ each year, as we look at a few relevant developments instead of booking all cool new acts available. Due to this we do not present an overview of the current music landscape but instead we pick a few interesting and relevant genres or connections.
You come from The Hague – can you tell us a little bit about the music scene of your city?
Bronne: The Hague is nationally famous for its Rock scene but internationally we're more recognized for our underground electronic music. And of course The Hague has some fine electronic music artists, such as Legowelt, I-F, Xosar (adopted), young talent FilosofischeStilte and I like what the Bakk collective are doing, too.
Do you have a "wish list" of musicians you'd like to see perform at your festival?
Bronne: Which promoter wouldn't?
What’s the best thing about your job?
Bronne: Curating the program, most definitely. Organizing and managing a festival is sometimes daunting and stressful but ultimately gives you a feeling of intense satisfaction, working with a team of young people is very inspiring.
What’s the worst thing about your job?
Bronne: The paperwork a festival produces is immense, I rather avoid it.
Can you give some advice to someone who is interested in starting his or her own festival?
Bronne: The most important thing is to keep reminding yourself why you are doing it. You will be asking yourself this question frequently, so you'd better have a good answer ready.
What was the first festival you ever went to?
Bronne: Some small festival in Dordrecht back in 1991/1992 I think. It was just on my doorstep. Most bands played Nirvana covers if I remember well.
What is your best memory from REWIRE so far?
Bronne: Personally I was very happy with the 2011 edition, it all came together nicely. The performances that year by Peter Broderick & Machinefabriek and Nils Frahm & Anne Müller were mindblowing. Both in my top 10 of best concerts I've seen over the last couple of years.
Are there any artists you’d like to book for Rewire but you couldn't? If so, why?
Bronne: That's always an issue for a promoter and most definitely when you have to compete with Amsterdam. Holland is a small country so many acts just play one show here and management mostly prefers Amsterdam.
Who are you most looking forward to see at REWIRE this year?
Bronne: I'm looking forward to the entire festival of course but I'm especially curious to see the Nordic jazz program and the Momentum exhibition.
How is music a part of your life?
Bronne: Without music, life would be a mistake a wise fellow once said.
If you could spend a night partying with one of your idols, who would it be?
Bronne: I do not have idols.
At least, What are you current top 6?
Nils Petter Molvaer & Moritz von Oswald - 1/1
The Dodos - Carrier
Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld - Still Smiling
Julia Holter - Loud City Song
James Ferraro - NYC Hell 3:00AM
Stellar OM Source - Joy One Mile