18 & 19 / November / 2016
Nestled in between huge industrial warehouses, logistic management offices and gigantic storage facilities lies the village of Ruigoord. Originally a shipping port for west Amsterdam, the small settlement was intended to be destroyed in order to make way for a bigger port to accommodate for the ever growing city, and in turn, its ever growing house prices. However, expansion plans were stalled in the early 1970’s and seizing the opportunity for affordable housing, a group of artists and musicians pitched up with the ideal of starting a community – which was established and incredibly still lives on today.
And it’s the history behind the event that is what makes Georgie’s Wintergarten festival so special. From the moment you walk through the entrance gate and under the massive wind turbine (which could have almost been purposefully installed for the spectacle), you feel a part of something. This event isn’t based on promoting branding or generating gross profit margins, it’s a celebration of togetherness through music to be enjoyed by the locals and the spectators – encompassing everyone for the weekend in a community – celebrating the absurd and welcoming the foolish.
The line-up, spread over two days, incorporated big name artists and smaller, more niche acts, with the central stage ran by Familiar Music inside the rustic church in the centre of the town. With an input from local promoter Nightcare who brought jazz and funk to the proceedings, to ‘De Opera’ stage hosting the likes of Optimo and Midland – the variety for such a geographically small festival site was really impressive. The Tipi complex provided a blinding lighting display, taking place in a structure that anywhere else would have looked out of place, remarkably settled in to the warm illuminations, roaring open fires, and laughter of the Wintergarten festival site. Other stages hosted the likes of Manamana, Tsepo, Marcus Worgull, Beesmunt Soundystem and Auntie Flo – demonstrating the calibre of electronic music, which was heavily contrasted by the meditation workshops and art installations that took place around the site.
The inclusive atmosphere of Georgie’s is something to be relished, taking place on a site with a rich cultural history of rejecting the norms and focusing on the unique. For one weekend in November, punters are invited to be part of a community which welcomes the eccentric – and against a backdrop of great programming in the hidden town, it makes visiting the Wintergarten a very special experience.