Eindhoven through the eyes of DDW Music Festival

In recent years, a strong music programme has been added to Dutch Design Week. This music festival has become more and more an autonomous festival. Eindhoven is known for good music and cool locations, but there is still a lot to be discovered here in the ‘City of lights’. We decided to find out what kind of cool locations this festival has to bring by making a round through Eindhoven.
Café ’t Rozenknopje

Among these spots that locals consider as gems of the city, is cafe ‘t Rozenknopje, or ‘De Knop’ as it is often referred to as. We are welcomed by Niek van de Klundert, one of the owners of the bar who has been here since the the turn of nineteenth century. When you walk into the big white cafe on the corner of the Hoogstraat, you would not expect to walk into such a musical walhalla. A warm, cosy living room where people reminisce passed times. Music by Kevin Morby is being played while we enter the bar, on our left there is a small, intimate stage and upstairs we discover a beautiful hall where the bigger concerts take place. A big light room with high windows and a stage with classical arches over it. De Knop is open seven days a week. It is a place to drink, eat and every day there is something going on here.  

Authentic atmosphere

Niek took over the bar about two years ago and has been booking a lot of acts since then. “Every friday night, we have vinyl DJ’s and all the furniture is moved aside for a dance. Saturdays and sundays, we usually have bands playing either downstairs or upstairs. I still organise the wednesdays as well, and the Effenaar does a monthly show. When it comes to the music scene this region is really tight-knit and we work together to bring in particular foreign acts. We offer them multiple stages in nearby cities and offer them a place to stay as well.”

Many bands and bookers noticed this and a lot of them come here. The cool thing about the Rozenknop is the authentic cosy atmosphere. It is laid-back and no nonsense. “It has been here for so long, that it has become a cornerstone of the neighborhood. That is a role we take very seriously. We are full every day of the week. Starting around five, when people return from work, you see the locals dropping in. On monday, we have dinner with all the locals and you can really see the diversity: couples, expats, singles, older folks, young kids; you can find anyone here. And they all go well together, thanks to the music we play here.”

From choirs to progressive country

DDW Music Festival has recently been added to the long list of activities going down in this bar. “The room upstairs can be used for anything from film screening, pub quizzes, dances, parties to choir evenings”, Niek explains. “This October will be the first time we take part in DDW Music Festival. I am really curious to who of our locals will go to what shows. I myself cannot wait to see Garrett T. Capps. It is so cool he is going to be here. He is kind of a seventies cowboy and a fantastic musician.”

During DDW Music Festival, Garrett T. Capps and Van Common will perform on Tuesday October 23, and Honey Harper and Wildwood Kin will perform on Friday October 26.

'T Rozenknopje
Patrick Spruytenburg
TAC (Temporary Art Centre)

We leave the cozy living room of ‘t Rozenknopje and take a five minute stroll over the Mauritsstraat until we see the huge football stadium. Directly opposite to the stadium where PSV plays is TAC, short for Temporary Art Centre. We are guided through the premises by artistic director of TAC, Astrid Riona Cats. She brings us through the long white corridor that leads to the lovely bar and restaurant with doors to the pittoresque inner garden. It is definitely a cool place to hang out.

Astrid explains how TAC began. “The name refers to the initial temporal idea behind TAC. We are a breeding ground for artists and designers that innovate visual arts. There are eighty studios here. All kinds of artists, from architects to VR-designers, can work on the future of their patronage”, Astrid explains to us. “The fun part about it these days is there you see more and more crossovers between the arts, music also plays a big role in that. We are one of the main locations of DDW, so DDW Music Festival was an obvious next step to take. This way, we can add innovative music to our programme.”

Design & Society

The shows will take place in the large ‘Tuinzaal’ (garden hall) as seen in the photos. The Courtneys, Lada’s Golden Arches and Someone will play in this dark, exciting space. “The music always fits in well with our programme of the day. I love to finish my evenings here with a drink and a good band. Sometimes I see the music programme and I think to myself: ‘aare you kidding me?!’ Last year we had And So I Watch You From Afar playing here, and I have all their records at home.”

About twenty percent of all TAC’s yearly visitors come in during the Dutch Design Week. So saying that it is quite an important week is almost an understatement. “Visitors range from people from all over the world, from professionals from the creative sector to local people dropping by. At TAC we want to show every single visitor that design can mean a lot more than “Hey, that chair looks nice” and we feel the same about the bands that play here. These bands are not merely here to entertain you or fill up the silence while you are drinking your beer. Everything we do here is to to show you how culture can shape everything around you; your entire perceivable surrounding.”

An ideal climate

During our interview we see Astrid's eyes light up every time we touch the subject of DDW. She is obviously looking forward to the big week. “It really is a week where everything comes together. Our goal at TAC is to create the perfect climate where artists and designers can flourish and where their work can come to its own,” Astrid explains. “We make sure that the artists do not fall short in anything that can help them achieve that. On the other hand, I like to be overwhelmed by the music programme. DDW Music Festival never seizes to amaze with their bookings. I have already made a couple of new discoveries.”

Someone, Sheverine & Hypergoods are playing at TAC on Wednesday October 24, The Courtneys & Mourn on Friday October 26 en Lada’s Golden Arches & Elsa Lester on Saturday October 27.

TAC @ DDW Music 2017
Elke Teurlinckx
Stroomhuis

Another two minute walk from TAC in the direction of Eindhoven Central Station brings us to the Stroomhuis or ‘Electrics House’. A place well known for its infamous parties and long history in the underground scene. This place guarantees the best garage shows, hip hop parties, hardcore concerts and anything else that can be associated with Eindhoven’s underground scene. We wander through different rooms with Meis, one the programmers and driving forces behind this location. The stacked up backstage slash living room slash workplace, the several bedrooms and the huge kitchen are all examples of how special and rare this venue really is. One of the authentic, weird kind you don’t really see anymore.

“The energy comes from the soul of this place”, says Meis as we sit down in the empty concert hall, surrounded by mural paintings and hundreds of bits and bobs lying all over the place. The venue that oozes so much raw freedom at night, actually is quite pretty in daylight. “When the sun starts to set and the light changes, you really get this ‘silence before the storm’ vibe. It is really magical”, she tells us. “This building used to be part of Philips, like so many other spots in this city. When it was squatted around the turn of the century, it became the Stroomhuis. It started with a group of artists and designers, but Andre Amaro, a familiar face for many in Eindhoven, ended up staying longer and started organising events. These were predominantly techno parties in the basement, but that got complicated due to health and safety regulations. Now, we use this big space for concerts.”

Community

The set-up of Stroomhuis shows that this place is run by a community that shares a love for music. “Downstairs there are a couple spaces where bands on my label Bagdaddy Records rehearse. These bands do not just rehearse though. They also help organising the shows we house here. Whether it is working behind the bar or cooking for the bands that play that night, they are always willing to chip in. And we need their help, because we do this without any kind of help or subsidies from other parties. And that is the cool thing about this place, it is a hub and a second home for a lot of people. Bands like to come back here, because they are treated like friends over on a visit. They can stay over for the night, get their breakfast in the morning; we make them feel at home”, says Meis. “Of course, we have our shortcomings, but we compensate that with how we do things. Whether their show draws a big crowd, the bands have a good stay, because we give them the love and attention they deserve.

All-in-one

During DDW Music Festival Stroomhuis will be one of top locations. They will house five evenings during the week and their programme consists of some big names. “This kind of festival is really cool for us, we see a lot of new faces during these evenings.” And ‘a lot’ is definitely true in this case. We remember seeing huge cues outside of Stroomhuis last year. Cues of people who had to wait to get in, because the shows were completely full. “Those nights were insane, and some nights this year might go down like that again”, she laughs.

Black Acid, Rey Tranquilo, Ocho & lbs are playing at Stroomhuis on Monday October 22, Ancient Shapes & Fontaines DC on Wednesday October 24, A Giant Dog & Hater on Thursday oktober 25, Viagra Boys & Jagd on Friday, October 26 and Ploegendienst & Rascalton on Saturday, October 27.

Stroomhuisje @ DDW Music 2017
Max Kneefel