If the Northern Park (Noorderplantsoen) wasn’t already one of the most relaxing places to hang out during the summer, it certainly was the place to be during the annual Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival. Every year in august the park is transformed into a wonderful world filled with tents, lights, decorations and loads of happy people. On top of that: it’s free to attend and lasts for ten days!
While the summer holidays were slowly coming to an end and the introduction activities for the universities were already starting; Groningen said goodbye to the summer with a big bang. The programme began every afternoon and would go on until midnight. During these hours it was possible to visit theatre performances, dance exhibitions, movies or gigs. In addition, Noorderzon also hosted more unusual festival events like science and art exhibitions and book readings. As a result, everyday a steady stream of visitors would pour into the park to enjoy everything the festival offered. More than 125,000 people attended in total!
Every night at 22.30 there was a rush hour when the free music show at the main stage started. Attending this performance offered a unique experience. This stage returns every year and is called het dok (the dock) and most artists performing there were surprised when they saw water in front of the stage instead of a crowd! The people enjoyed the show while they were sitting or standing by the pond or chilling comfortably on one of the large platforms with bars. The line-up each year consist of a fine mix of local and national heroes and international up and coming bands like for example this year’s Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes from Los Angeles(US) and CSS from São Paolo (Brazil).
The festival was fun to visit even if one did not attend any performance or show but simply walked around the decorated park, watched the light reflection in the trees or relaxed with some friends. One of the most stunning decorations was a beamer projection on the fountain which could make it seem like a man was walking on water or showed artistic movies especially created for the festival. Overall, Noorderzon made us happy here at Groningenlife!
By: Ido Venhuizen