Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Dour festival revisited / Blunderpop

This weekend, the little Belgian village of Dour is host to another edition of the infamous Dour Festival. Dour Festival programs a whole bunch of alternative and up-and-coming bands on 6 stages over a period of 4 days. The God Machine played there in 1993 and Sophia in 1997 and 1999.

First time I went to Dour Festival was in 1993 as I wanted to see the then still very unknown Therapy? and The God Machine. The God Machine gig was absolutely legendary. It was the most intense gig I had ever seen. I also met Robin there for the first time, though I doubt it he still remembers. He wanted to go for a quiet stroll around the festivals grounds but was instantly recognised by me and a friend and of course we wanted him to sign our programme, which he kindly did but then hurried back to the backstage area. So we just decided to bother Jimmy Fernandez a bit. :-) (You can see a scan of that programme HERE).

After that brilliant 1993 gig The God Machine had been booked to play Dour again in 1994, but then Jimmy passed away and the God Machine’s gig was cancelled. The very night The God Machine were supposed to have played the festival, me and that same friend went back to the camping site and put ‘Scenes from the second storey’ on the stereo which we had in the camper. We sat through the whole album headbanging to the music in remembrance of Jimmy, last year’s gig and of what could have been that night. I’m pretty sure we must have looked utterly ridiculous, but I still vividly remember those 78 minutes to this day and cherish them deeply.

Why am I writing all this? Well, I just stumbled onto the Blunderpop site, which collects funny rock n’ roll stories. Anyone who’s seen Spinal Tap knows what I mean. The Blunderpop site features a hilarious story which embodies what Dour festival is all about.
Last year Dour had about 128.000 visitors but in the early nineties Dour was still a small festival with only a few thousands spectators and a very hippie feel to it. It was not too organised to say the least and loads of things went wrong. Harmless stuff like timetables constantly being changed , massive fence-hopping, people publicly shagging all over the place, all toilets being filled to the brim after only one day and no one to empty them, to more serious stuff like big fires on the camping ground, firemen getting shot at, a girl getting raped on the camping… Crazy shit.

Anyway you can read the Dour Blunderpop story here:

I haven’t been to Dour Festival since 1997 so I don’t know how things are right now, but according to these stories, things haven’t changed that much:.
Its all in Dutch but I can tell you that most of the stories include excrements (I don’t think you want to be the person who was inside the portable chemical toilet that got pushed over), naked people, public sex, throwing stuff at each other and all sorts of combinations of these (let your imagination work). I’m telling you: there is no other festival like Dour festival. Legendary stuff.


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