My folking weekend with the Dutch (and Belgains)
Trip Start May 25, 2007
73Trip End Oct 29, 2007
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I know what you are thinking. And you're right. I don't have any camping gear with me at all. No tent, sleeping bag, mattress, nothing. No matter, Simon, in one of his few lucid moments, managed to set it all up for me. A good guy, he is. It was really good to see him again.
The festival was in a park right in the middle of the city (there is no countryside in the Netherlands, I was told) but people just camped there
The question you may be asking is "what are Dutch people like at a weekend long festival?" The answer is simple: The same as in Canada, only everyone speaks Dutch. I knew that everyone would speak English, but it didn't really dawn on me that to each other, in a group of friends, they would speak their native language. So for the entire weekend, and mainly when we were at the campsite, I had very little idea of what was going on. Only every once in a while would someone translate, or have an English conversation. On the upside, now I could probably pick out a Dutch speaker with my eyes closed and my hands tied behind my back.
It wasn't all like that, though. Most of them were really good, when we were hanging out listening to the bands or chatting with only a few people, with trying to get to know me or chatting about whatever in English. A few of the people, along from Simon, I got to know decently well and really enjoyed their company. They'd be the kind of people I'd have as friends back home. So I enjoyed that.
As for the music, most of the bands/acts I saw were really good
Some other random thoughts and happenings:
- I also had the good fortune to see some other friends I had met previously. Jolein and Tine and I stayed at the same hostel in south France. They live near Antwerp, with is near Eindhoven. So they made their way to Eindhoven and we got to hang out again on the Friday night. It was good times just like before: joking around, making fun of each other, telling travel stories. The highlight was Jolein deciding that I hadn't learned enough Dutch so we ended up in children's bookstore. The two of them, including the guy working in the store, had a great laugh at me trying to read the books about farm animals and the one about the farting frog. Apparently I have very bad pronunciation. But it was in Dutch. Go Figure.
It was great seeing the two of them again
- I've never been surrounded by so many hippies in my life as I was at this festival. Everyone was happy and enjoying themselves and causing no problems. A product of the peaceful nature of folk music, I wonder.
- One main difference between this and other festivals I've seen in Canada is that many people brought their whole family. There were a lot of kids there. We, as alcohol fueled young adults, were asked several times to keep it quiet and respect the Kinderkamping. I can't imagine this happening in Edmonton. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
- The second night I was there I ended up with a roommate, who proceeded to use the tent for purposes other than sleeping. It was looking like I was going to get pushed out of my tent and have nowhere to sleep. But the other guys just said " take this guy's tent. He had to go home so he's not using it." So I ended up in another man's tent in another man's sleeping bag. But I was alone, so don't worry.
- I did get to walk around and see much of Eindhoven, as well as the suburb of Veldhoven, where Simon is staying
- The headline act of the FolkWoods Festival was an odd and to many an unpopular choice. After 3 days of folk bands and acoustic performances, they get a very popular heavy metal band to finish things off. They were so totally out of place at a place like this, but because of their popularity with so many other people they managed to put a few more asses in the seats. The band itself was also odd because it was very heavy drums and bass, played by a bunch of '80's leather-pant wearing long-hair banging guys, but fronted by a beautiful woman with a beautifully operatic voice. I think that most of the people who watched them, myself included, were focused on her and ignoring the guys (and the music). It was an odd end to the festival.
In all, had a really good time, and made some more interesting friends. Again I want to thank the band for letting me crash their party and steal their beer, and for Simon for making it happen. There is a chance I'll be back that way at the beginning of October because the Tragically Hip is playing in this very city. That would be a good concert, and I'll get to foist some more great Canadian music on these people. Here's hoping it happens.