Welcome to the Village is a ‘new generation’ festival organized in Leeuwarden. Not so much focussing on a huge main act, but on a good strong concept: a festival-area that was set-up like… well, like a village. A square where you can grab a bite to eat (local -organic, ecological- products) or get a massage and a little out of the way a tent where Groningen’s Vera was pressing shirts and bags in Welcome to the Village style. Around this and some other attractions were 5 stages. Two for the bigger acts and 3 for various other interesting acts. All acts fitting to some extent under an alternative/indie moniker. And if it got too hot you could always sit on a beach of take a dive in the lake. An easy going festival with an easy going hip young crownd: Welcome to the Village!
Unfortunately I missed the first day of the festival (wich ended with And You Wil Know Us By The Trail Of Dead… and We Were Promised Jetpacks), but meant to make up for it on Saturday. Arriving at a little after one in the afternoon, picking up my press-pass going through customs at the gate, I found my FileUnder colleague and was told we were ushered to the tent-stage, but it wasn’t really clear why. The gig at the main stage was cancelled. In the tent we were told that some serious weather was on it’s way and -better safe then sorry- we were going to hide out in the tent. Cosy :)
Also it wasn’t such a bad thing for Bloodboxred: they got the whole festival going crowd as an audience. Hailing from Leeuwarden they had a home-advantage, but man were the good. Duo rockers with a female singer/guitarist and a male drummer that rocked his kit like being posessed. Halfway through the set however te festival was stopped. By orders of the police due to the weather. The whole festival area was cleared and we got thoroughly soaked while making our way to a nearby zoo for shelter. Impressive rolling clouds though. Once the festival was restarted, Blackboxred continued where they left of. Only more intense! Simply fantastic, I loved it.
Luckily the rest of the day was mainly sunny. Because of the rainfall the Coast gig was rescheduled to the very very end of the day as they had another gig to get to. And The Pussywarmers from Switzerland played an impromptu unplugged set outside the Vera-tent (Schaaphok / Sheepsden).
On the main stage outside Tessa Rose Jackson -aided by a terrific band- plays a cheerful folky pop set. The rain is soon forgotten and the festival is back on a pleasant track.
Back in the tent it’s time to get your feet moving, time for a chunk of Ska music with Mr. Wallace. High tempo, lots of energy and an enormous amount of fun.
Back outside on the main stage Mister and Mississippi played a folk-set that brings the landscape of California to mind, or Crosby, Stills Nash and Young. Great (harmony) vocals, easy going slow pace but rocking out to keep you from drifting of completely. I was really happy to see them pley a full set. I missed their gigs and only say them play a very short set on Record Store Day so far, so I was looking forward to this very much and I’m pleased to say I loved every minute of it.
Back in the tent Navarone plays a slick, tight strong rock set and had the audience eating out of the pals of their hands. Great vocals!
Then back outside again. In 1990 an obscure band from Joure/Friesland released an album called “Barefoot and Pregnant’. It’s now being re-released and the band William Seen’s Transport Music, helped by a group of guests plays ‘Ode aan de Serenes’ and it is magnificent. It’s miraculous for the simple fact that Jelle Paulusma and Anne Soldaat 0f also disbanded Daryll-Ann actually share a stage again. That’s like David Gilmour and Roger Waters sharing a stage, or Slash and Axl Rose! Musically it is fantastic and I’m baffled by how fantastic Anne Soldaat is on guitar. Superb!
But the day is far from over and I head back in the tent only to get my eardrums blown out. Karma To Burn has the gear tuned on overdrive. Like Blackboxred it’s a duo again, but all male this time and fully instrumental. Also the guitarist plays Les Paul and the one thing I have noticed is that Fender guitarist generally play fast and furious in these setups, Les Paul guitarist have a more laidback attitude. Difference in material I guess. But impressive set nonetheless.
Outside another band from Friesland: Daily Bread and they gave an awesome performance! Interesting to see how they’ve changed from that little fragile band back in 2009 to a band that fully deserves this main stage. Mainly new work and old work updated to the new sound they reigned the festival area.
Back in the tent desert rock from the land that brought us Ikea took over the stage. Desert rock from Sweden? Yup, and they’re damn good at it. The guitarist was all over the stage. It might have been a good idea to rename the stage to Jumpstage, I can’t recall a single band that was on this stage and did not have any jumping musicians on there. But back to Truckfighters. A loud, heavy Stoner set and it was fantastic.
Then eventually back outside again for the last gig of the day (well for me anyway). Beans & Fatback played a really really really good set of raw roots music, bluesy, jazzy and with soul and heart. Perfect ending of the day.