Last Saturday we attended the Blown Away festival. The Blown Away Advanced Culture Fest is all about the crossover between modern and classic music, dance and art. The festival took place in an old deserted warehouse, surrounded by cranes and all kinds of industrial structures. This is what we’ve experienced.
The boys from Venour and the theater collective Macabre hosted the boat, which transported us to the venue. Venour and Macabre organized a boat rave to welcome all visitors and made a successful attempt to set the mood. With a selection of like-minded people gathered on the boat it almost felt like a field trip we remember from our younger years.
As we entered the venue, we were quite overwhelmed by the warehouse itself. Back in the days, the warehouse was used to dock submarines, so you can visualize the size of the location. The area was split into two sections. One section was all about food, the other section was home to entertainment and art.
We started our Blown Away experience with a stunning performance by Conny Janssen Danst. This dance group performed a modern dance piece called ‘How Long Is Now’ a selection from their show, which they showcase throughout the Netherlands. It was our first encounter with live modern dance, and we were genuine impressed by it. The group danced inside the crowd, which made it very intimate. The music by Alamo Race Track that complemented the performance resulted in an inspiring experience.
The food area was provided by the guys from ‘The Food Line-up‘ who we’ve seen on several festivals this summer. They are known for a variety of stalls filled with a delicious selection of food. The other part of the food area was a stage called ‘The Last Supper Dinner Catwalk’ hosted by Ted Langenbach & Pietra Ligura (from the infamous Now & Wow). This 30 meter dining table was used as a catwalk. Around the catwalk artists were busy creating art, which they obviously directly showed to the visitors.
After we filled ourselves with some tasty food, we were excited to check out the 4D sound system. In addition to the normal sound system, there was a construction with little speakers inside mounted all over the dance floor surface . This setup resulted in a unique sound experience.
The main show started with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the famous Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The orchestra played some classical pieces, executed in three segments. Once the orchestra finished a segment, a DJ picked it up from there.
It was quite an experience to hear the orchestra play in such an unusual setting. During the second session, they played a track from Stimming. It was striking to hear a piece of electronic music played by an orchestra.
We also had a look around the art exhibition. Artists exposed their work in a freight container, an original décor, which suited the surroundings well. We checked out some cool animations, 3D visuals and played a game created by students of the Willem De Kooning Academy.
After Stimming his set, the orchestra played their third and last session. During the last piece, the crossover between the orchestra and Secret Cinema began. The orchestra combined with the sounds of Secret Cinema and the 4D sound system was an exciting combination to witness.
We experienced the festival as something unique, which definitely differs from most festivals we visited this year. The crossover between different forms of art and in particular the formation of the crowd (young and ‘old’) was interesting.
But it’s safe to say the crossover between classical music and electronic music was disappointing. The transition from the orchestra into the DJ sets was unsatisfying. Overall we had a great day and were blown away at times and we really encourage this unique concept. We are interested to see what the organization has in store next year.