8 June 2017: Taking Stock of moers festival 2017
Dear members of the press,
Three days after the finale of the 46th edition of moers festival we’d like to take an initial look at the results of our work. In spite of the short time the festival organizers were given to prepare, a mere six months, Tim Isfort, Claus Arndt and the whole team are extremely satisfied with how moers festival 2017 unfolded. As Tim Isfort announced there would be when assuming his new position in December 2016, this year there were a number of changes under the new artistic director and festival management. These included for instance an additional stage in the middle of the audience seating in the festival hall, a significantly expanded accompanying program featuring concerts and other events outside of the main festival hall as well as a controversial examination of the term “jazz”.
One of Tim Isfort’s central aims was to attempt to recapture the original spirit of the festival. This was reflected artistically in two major categories: the program within the festival hall and the program outside of said location. For the program within the main hall, it was unmistakeably clear that Moers remains a place for the search for the new. Musically speaking, a great deal of space was created for the unexpected, as the artistic director observed: “There were an incredible amount of great encounters featuring artists from a very wide range of genres, who opened themselves up both to the old and the new (or renewed) idea of Moers. You’d just come from shaking Anthony Braxton’s hand and then right after that Michael Gira from Swans walks by. Two musicians that couldn’t be more different from one another, but both of them were totally open,” as Isfort remarks.
Another of Isfort’s aims was to reconcile the residents of Moers with the festival, intending to reach them through additional programming that was to be largely free of charge. The fact that these plans proved successful is not only evidenced by the many personal expressions of gratitude within the audience feedback – it is also reflected in the attendance figures. In addition to the 8,000 guests in the main hall, around 5,000 guests attended events at the additional locations in the downtown area. In total the organizers estimate that there were good 30,000 guests on the festival grounds as a whole, which can be attributed among other things to the attractively designed area around the festival hall. The merchants there welcomed the mixed configuration of the festival village, featuring both food and non-food stands, as well as the stage at the village square surrounded by self-built seating furniture. Managing director Claus Arndt also stressed his satisfaction with the fact that the location in front of the festival hall has once again become a place that offers guests compelling reasons to spend time there. “We had a fantastic atmosphere in the festival village all weekend long, and even the police, the fire department, security and the medical service all reported an exceptionally calm and peaceful Whitsuntide weekend in Moers,” according to Arndt. Michael Schatta from the on-site medical service reported that there were only two acute medical cases over the course of the four days, both of which could be treated immediately, as well as an upended hippopotamus – the performer inside the giant puppet from the Australian Snuff Puppets wasn’t injured however and merely needed to be righted again. The city park on the castle grounds, serving as a connecting link between the festival hall and the downtown area, was also home to performances this year, including a singer/songwriter stage and a sculpture exhibition featuring renowned international artists.
The only downside for long-time festival enthusiast Claus Arndt was the fact that his role as managing director didn’t allow him enough time to watch the concerts. “Still, I was lucky enough to experience some of my dream picks, like Braxton and The Bad Plus for instance, and I also got to make some surprising new discoveries such as Yegor Zabelov, Rubatong and Dorian Wood with Ensemble Crush.”
Thanks to the continued co-operation with the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM) all of the concerts could be seen on the live stream on the moers festival website. Among those tuning in for instance were fans from the USA who were able to watch the premiere of Ingrid Laubrock’s orchestra project online (supported by the Kunststiftung NRW): the world paying Moers a visit and moers broadcast out into the world. The cultural radio broadcaster WDR3 also broadcast live from moers festival on Saturday as well as recording further concerts for later broadcasts.
Press contact moers festival:
Eva Marxen eva.marxen(@)moers-festival(.)de
Festival office: Ostring 9, 47441 Moers, tel: 02841 3673675