Folk For Charity 2019

Community Centre Swaenswijk in Alphen aan den Rijn has been the at centre of a very special event the past two days. Musicians have played folk music for 24 hours, non-stop, to raise funds for the WWF (World Wildlife Fund). There has been a program full of live performances, lectures and Balfolk and Scottish dance courses.

Tijn Berends is the organiser of Folk for Charity. This is the second year he has organised a non-stop music session for charity. ,,You often see fundraisers like this in other music scenes. Pop music has the 3FM Glass House and classical music has benefit concerts. In September last year, I had the idea to do this for folk music too. The downside is that these kind of music sessions are not very interesting for the public. So we made sure to put a stage somewhere else, so that the audience has bands to visit as well.”

All profit will be donated to charity. This year, two people achieved the goal of playing for 24 hours straight. A lot of musicians had sponsors per hour. Berends will know what the profit is in about two weeks. Last year, €2150 was donated to Giro 555, the Dutch collective of 11 charities amongst which are Oxfam Novib, The Red Cross, Unicef and Terre des Hommes.

The goal of 24-hour non-stop music was achieved. Singer-songwriter Simon Oak was one of the two musicians who played for the entire 24 hours. Last year, only he achieved that goal. ,,I think the non-stop part is peculiar. I like crazy stuff like this; I had to participate.” Oak likes meeting other musicians. He is often found in pubs in Ireland with his guitar, looking for the next jam session to attend. ,,People at a session like this are very approachable. It’s easy to have a chat with someone. It’s funny, because I recognise some people here by their instruments.” Isn’t it hard to make music for an entire day? ,,Well, it’s easier if you are a multi-instrumentalist. For example, I play the guitar and a bit of accordion and flute. And I sing.”

Last year, Folk for Charity was located in a school building. This year it was held in the Maranatha church of Alphen aan den Rijn. There was always someone from the township present during this event, Emile Schoneveld being one of them. ,,We have two-hour shifts. We watch over the coffee corner and make sure everything goes well, “ he says. He had a Friday night shift. ,,Someone from the next shift just arrived. I’m going to bed now, but tomorrow I will be back for the music!”

Will Folk for Charity return next year? Berends doesn’t know yet. ,,This year, it was quite hard to find a good location. I think we will let it rest next year, but I’m sure we will be back the year after that!”