Discovering ZeeZout Festival
[winter edition 2017 review]
For a festival passionate highlander as I am, living in The Netherlands can put you into a very difficult situation: hundreds of festivals, where should I go? I’m always spoilt for choice.
In this article I’m gonna review a good one: a “one-day festival” where you can find really high-quality stuff.
If you wanna see how locals play, without going to illegals or clubs, this must be the place.
1, 2, 3, ZeeZout: here we go!
– Location: Het Rijk van de Keizer – Haarlemmerweg 711, Amsterdam (NL)
– Timeline: 12:00-23:00 (+ night programme: The Italo Disco Special at De Marktkantine)
– Spaces: 4 Stages + food-truck area + indoor chill-out area
– Capacity: 1000
– Sound system: Funktion-One
– Stages: ARENA; GARDEN; DEPOT; CANTINA.
– Entrance fee: 34-36 €
– Pictures: Allowed
– Rating: Strongly suggested
Sjors (Production Manager)
ZeeZout means sea salt. It started back in 2011, the 6th of June, as a genuine beach party for friends in Delft.
A fascinating mix of music, BBQ, friends and surf lessons.
Its (almost predictable) natural course was moving from the beach to clubs: from Delft seashore to the Woodstok’69 Beach Club of Haarlem and later on in Amsterdam.
This happened due to word of mouth of a strong community of followers and supporters. A lot of guys who gradually moved from Delft to Am for University or a new good job.
This festival is all about the music: no distractions, no workshops or other activities. Everyone is focused on this real music experience.
That’s why we bring only the real artists we like: we wanna keep this event as real as it was the first time.
We invite artists to stay at our place just chilling and spending time together, knowing each other. We try to create a friendly and familiar connection with them. They must feel at home.
Another key factor is a good connection between the audience and the performer: they have to be, and they are always located, on the same level.
Structurally talking, we prefer to work with more than one stage (we have four of them). They are small, to offer the best balance audience/stage.
In our lineup we have a small number of big names (still not VIP mode) and many high quality real artists, locals and emerging talents. ZeeZout is running a Music Label as well, releasing only local artists
Can I tell you something personal? my favourite stage [and I can agree] is the 4th, the smallest: Cantina.
[this makes me smile: back in the days, I started my profession, organizing parties, in a proper cellar room, in Italian “cantina”]
– How did the festival improve year after year?
It improved step by step, in little things and details (for instance building a wood made lighted symbolic tunnel connecting stages), always keeping the starter soul solid and burning.
Nowadays during the festival there are almost 50/60 people working, while the proper office team is composed by 5/6 people.
With the production of the winter edition, that takes place in March and is always in the same location, we averagely start in December. For the bigger and more complex summer edition, always different or differently developed, we work all the year round.
[With this all being said, thanking Sjors and the whole staff for their familiar hospitality, I finally explore the festival itself: an amazing experience! All at once I notice a familiar face, a real world traveler like me, booked literally all over the place: so I decide to have a talk with…]
– Have you ever played here before?
Yeah, I’ve been working with ZeeZout for a long time, more or less 4/5 years that we are partying together. I’m super proud of them!
I just had a little walk around, to see them, feeling people going for it and enjoying: 4 stages, day time, it’s amazing.
– What do you think about their format?
I think it’s the way to go: keep it small, not so big. Every stage has the right amount of people, 200/300 people.
– Comparing this edition to the beginning ones, can you feel changes?
Yeah, they got more and more attention, also because they keep it real and stay with the line-up. What they want is always being very correct with the line-up.
– So we can say you appreciate the new artists they are introducing…
Yeah! In the line-up only few big names and mostly new talents, mainly local, I think it’s great!
– Are you gonna play again?
Absolutely! I feel home here!
[I take a picture for my collection and I keep on flying in that thrilling atmosphere. I meet and get to know hundreds of new people: going into festivals alone, I’m always looking for new faces to have a talk with. As a last act I wanna assist to the performance of a genious – one of my favourite artists – aka “synthesizer man”. After his fabulous set, I finally have the pleasure and the honor to interview…]
– Is this the first time you are playing for ZeeZout?
Yeah, first time for ZeeZout.
– How has been your impression: when you arrived and now that you are leaving?
Well when I came here I had to acclimatize, it was very busy, you know, at 6 o’clock. After a few drinks I was acclimatized. Then I started playing and people liked it so…
– You felt good vibes?
Yeah I guess so, but I must say, people in Holland… in other countries people freak out more, you know? For exemple Glasgow or Dublin, you know
– You liked this small stage, DEPOT, where you played?
I play everywhere. I didn’t really see much so.. I see now, it’s still pretty big. It seems a bit of a strange location: that’s nice.
[All excited and still full of positive energies I decide to follow the programme.
After the proper festival I move to the night program: ItaloDisco at DeMarkantine. Way more vintage, still sick af!]
What I learned at the end of this story?
A festival is something made home, but still temporary: a spot of warmness in this always colder age.
This is genuine one guys, trust me !#followthefrog