Remember that enthusiastic report that Jan van Offeren made for us of his visit to Trolls & Légendes? Well, he also visited CELT-N-FOLK at Poppodium De Meester in Almere, and he was just as enthusiastic in writing about that!
You can read about his first real encounter with Sowulo, about his relived RASTABAN experience and of course his love, Cesair, and how they once again rocked the stage with their musical perfection and their vibrant stage show.
Of course he also speaks of the performances in the smaller room by Tipsy Gipsy (BE) and Robert den Hartigh (NL), and also gives tips for those interested in going to the next edition of this great indoor festival.
Who among us dares to claim that indoor theaters are only a pass-time to ease the waiting for the outdoor festival power? Not me any more…certainly not after Carolien and I visited the, to us so far unknown, CELT-N-FOLK in Almere! This might just be the exception(al) to the rule, but at the risk of sounding like a cliché, nothing could be farther from the truth. It is a beautifully set up indoor festival, easily reachable and with loads of parking space, I’ll advise you to park in the nearby parking garage, cheap and safe!
The entrée fee was, especially in pre-sale, a nice and friendly €7, €10 at the door, for which one got to see and hear a lot of beauty! We were very much on time, partly because of an early departure, and partly because of the ease at parking. The doors opened on time by a friendly yet stern security guard. Just to be safe I had decided to wear my every day clothes and after my experience at Trolls et Légendes I had left my arms and armour at home. Carolien was allowed to bring in her (large) purse, even though it did have to get checked first.
The first room we entered was upstairs. It wasn’t overly large but decorated completely in Folk-style, immediately feeling very familiar. Drinks could be purchased with coins that could be bought from a machine. These could not be changed back for money at the end of the evening, which could be an inconvenience to all but regular visitors, as they would be able to use them on any other night. The music here that played between and after the performances was good and certainly adapted to the event, to give some examples: Irfan, Faun and Stellamara.
Sowulo were the first to perform and gave a beautiful show, preceded by a gorgeous ritual. We had never seen them perform even though, at the advice of the “well informed” we had bought their music at the Gothic & Fantasy Beurs in Rijswijk. Their music, mainly instrumental, is very appealing! The live performance was very good, though just like with the other bands the transition from music into “the talk after the show” would leave us shaking from the bass, if just for a moment. But I’ll say that Sowulo is a great addition to our “knowledge bank of bands” with their mainly very calm music.
During the breaks, because of the resetting of the main stage, one could enjoy performances by Tipsy Gipsy (BE) and Robert den Hartigh (NL) in the smaller room, which was certainly worth it. These will one day certainly outgrow these smaller rooms. Though I could not listen to everything completely due to circumstances, what the hammer and anvil in my ears did pick up certainly was a well-forged sound!
The second act of the evening was RASTABAN. Just like during the previously mentioned Trolls & Légendes, where I saw them a first time, a very complete show where, despite the fact that this was an away game for the mainly Belgian band, they spoiled the crowd and really gave them lots of joy! I’m already anxiously awaiting there next CD, even though we only purchased our first one this evening! So RASTABAN, we will keep a close eye on you!
As last act for this evening Cesair was to turn off the lights but, and I suspect some degree of chauvinism in this, before the lights went off (or on, actually) they did manage to energise the crowd even though they had been tired after a long night of Folk, and the audience spontaneously joined in all forms of joy and happiness. With their beautiful sounds, singing and show, and their joyful appearance, they brought the audience into motion and ecstasy, and they were rewarded (like the other artists) after an even more enthusiastically played encore with a long and amazing applause.
Whomever says that Pagan Folk isn’t much, I’ll certainly disagree with them, especially after an evening like this, with 3 bands of this calibre, and some great up and coming artists. I would recommend anyone to get to know this great music, and a world where one keeps meeting beautiful and happy people!
Thank you for reading this, and I hope to see you at a next festival, where we can just be ourselves and can be amazed that joy can be experienced in such a versatile way.
– Jan van Offeren