Ask most people what comes to mind when thinking of music festivals and the answers are likely to be similar: big name bands, big stages and a vast open space (be it field, beach or forest). While that sort of experience is obviously great, that's not the only form a music festival can, or should, take.
It's important to recognise and celebrate some of the smaller festivals that aren't always able to shout as loudly as those with bigger budgets and grander set-ups. Festivals that have their own unique charm, and portray exactly what is so great about the huge diversity in music festivals across the globe.
This time it's the young Dutch festival Strange Sounds From Beyond. Heading into its second year, this festival has one of the most intriguing lineups around, with Sun Ra Arkestra, Selda Bağcan, and Daphni headlining. With group of artists like that, we had to find out more.
We caught up with SSFB founder Quintin van der Spek and got him to shed some light on his gem of a festival.
Pick a song that embodies your festival
It's eclectic, danceable, energetic, good vibes!
Tell me a bit about your festival site
The festival takes place at the cozy green outdoor site of Noorderlicht, a very unique cafe that’s located at the industrial NDSM-wharf in Amsterdam. Another part of the festival takes place at the concrete terrain of the wharf.
It’s a magical site: it’s industrial and cozy at the same time, and located next to the Amsterdam lake "’t Ij”. Perfect to enjoy an Amsterdam summer breeze, with your legs dangling from the shore into the water, while you enjoy the music with some good food.
When I come, where am I going to stay?
You can stay anywhere you like, there is a boat that’s transformed into a hotel, called “Botel”, next to the festival, but there are a lot of fun places to sleep in the beautiful city centre across the lake.
What kind of people am I going to find here?
You’re going to find fun people who truly love music, and love to dance. For example a lot of people who are going to the #1 Amsterdam club, De School, belong to our most loyal visitors.
What am I going to eat?
You can eat a lot of things, from vegan curry to salads or wraps, French fries... you name it. For the freaks: last year we also had fried insects on our menu.
What kind of music am I going to hear?
You can hear concerts played by eclectic bands who play music from all over the world, but you’ll also hear DJs who’ll play disco, techno, obscure house: everything danceable and beyond.
What's one of your favourite memories from a previous edition?
Omar Souleyman did tear the roof off.
What's the festival's atmosphere like?
Laid back and energetic at the same time. A lot of beautiful people, from inside and outside - who are not busy with being beautiful but just go out to have a fun time.
What is your festival's spirit animal (mythical or real)?