Festival Bruis and Maastricht’s global dimension
October 6, 2009 Leave a Comment
This September had a special meaning to me. It marked the passing of my first year in Maastricht; a wonderful year full of memorable experiences, whether it was meeting new people from all over the world, or benefiting from a stimulating academic system at Maastricht University.
When summer had started, I had been sad to see almost all my friends go back home, one by one. I could not snap out of just how fast this year had gone by. Still, I had the city to comfort me. In fact, staying in Maastricht over the summer helped me discover what it looks like without what had been its defining element to me up until then: the students. It seemed as if over night the city had transformed itself into a very peaceful and quiet place, perhaps closer to its true nature.
Back to school
After some two months of creating my own urban lyricism in Maastricht, the sight of students flooding back into town came as a shock. I couldn’t actually tell if I was too overwhelmed last year by the amount of new details to notice it, or if the number of students really increases with every passing year. One thing is certain – there are so many of them! Their impressive presence alone casts no doubt on their impact on the city.
So when I saw the advertisements for Festival Bruis throughout the city, presented as a multicultural music festival, my first thought was that this seemed the perfect type of event to make all this youth feel welcome (back) in Maastricht.
Unfolding over two days, Festival Bruis aimed in fact at bringing together music lovers of all ages. It also offered a platform for representatives of different – mostly charity – associations to promote their ideas and activities.
I only made it to the festival on the second day. It was a very sunny afternoon when I arrived on the Market square, where visitors were already clustering in front of one of the three stages stages to listen to Kings of the Day. The listing of the bands playing that day was the main reason why I had wanted to come. Apart from Kings of the Day, I looked forward to seeing Mademoiselle K and of course Emiliana Torrini.
Kings of the Day
Kings of the Day is a Dutch band from Vaals, Limburg. Singing in English, Maurice Möllenbeck, Ben Graaf, Jan Bruschke and Bart Finders energized the crowd and many people started dancing to their music.
As the space in front of the stage started filling up, I noticed something peculiar. Instead of fellow students, the public mainly consisted in teenagers. Not only did they like the music, they also knew the lyrics by heart and sang along with the band.
Although gathered in a separate cluster on the Market square, various organisations and associations also contributed to giving the Bruis Festival an open and global atmosphere.
One of the associations was Educat, based around “creative arting”. “Educat was set up as a project by the students at the Art Academy in Maastricht. We were initially four, but now it’s just three”, Ulrike Schattes told me. The Educat project carried out a pilot mission in Lidgetton, South Africa, for children from the very poor local community, where the unemployment rate reached 90 percent.
The art students from Maastricht tried to teach the children how to use their artistic talents, in the hope that they would serve as a stepping stone for other types of development as well. “We were trying to see how to influence an environment with talents”, Ulrike explained. “It breaks my heart to see people living in those conditions, but you just fall in love with them”, she added with a warm smile. What makes Ulrike and her colleagues carry on is a success story: one of the groups they worked with became a well established music collective, who, through Educat’s mediation, became connected to a renowned DJ and now has the potential to grow into a powerful music project.
The next step for Educat is to take the project to new borders. Ulrike mentioned that some of her colleagues were planning to go to Guatemala, to find another location where they will be able to start training other groups of children.
A few stands farther, I met Jeannine, a very particular entrepreneur, since her business idea focuses on fair trade products which are also biological. She has become involved in e-commerce and developed a website where her products are also available, apart from the many physical cities throughout the Netherlands, such as Rotterdam, Den Haag, Amsterdam or Enschede where they can be found in stores. Apparently she didn’t sell that much that Sunday during the festival Sunday, but Jeannine was very happy to be there because she enjoyed the atmosphere of the festival and saw it as good publicity for her business.
I was inspired by the freshness of the ideas promoted at the festival. It’s not the first time that I’ve noted that Limburg’s keenness on encouraging development and green living.
For me, the highlight of the evening was without a doubt the recital of the Icelandic singer Emiliana Torrini. I could not believe my eyes when she actually arrived on stage. It made me extremely happy to see her concert in the almost intimate setting of the Market, because she is famous on the international scene, and I was even puzzled as to how she accepted to come to Maastricht in the first place. I felt a sincere and intense joy as I started floating to her refined melodies.
The crowd was ecstatic. Anna, a 19 year old International Business student who was already a fan, said that the concert was even better than she had expected: “She’s beautiful, just as her music. Too bad the power went off right in the middle of my favourite song”. This was indeed an unfortunate incident, but totally real. The lovely Icelandic artist was hypnotising the audience with her soft, charming voice, when the power cut disturbed the concert. She was very elegant about it, and just sat down and drank tea in front of the fans hooked on her spells, until she was able to take the song from where she had left it.
As for me, I was so delighted to have seen her that I didn’t even care about the power cut. It’s not like you have the opportunity to attend such important concerts in Maastricht every day.
One of her songs, which is my personal favourite, stayed with me almost a week after the event. “Once in a house on a hill/A boy got angry”, it sings.
I left Festival Bruis wrapped in tranquility and a general state of wellness. I enjoyed this start into the new academic year.
By Catalina Goanta
Catalina Goanta, a Master Student from Romania at the Law faculty in Maastricht, is fascinated by the biorhythm of Maastricht.