Since 2012, the general arts festival Explore the North has been held in Leeuwarden each winter. The programme is more extensive this year in connection the LF2018, so here are some highlights of the most English-friendly acts across the city.
Explore the North features music, literature, theatre, dance, visual arts and experimental art in unusual places throughout the city. This year’s edition coincides with number of other recurring city events, such as the Noordelijk Film Festival, Kunstmaand Ameland and the Luna festival and Media Arts Festival. All of the cultural activities being held throughout November are part of Re-opening, which is the name of the last hurrah of the LF2018 year with an eye toward the future.
|Win a spot at Explore the North
Similar to this year’s edition of Welcome to the Village, a new piano audition challenge is being held on the piano at the Leeuwarden train station to win a spot in the Explore the North line up. Piano players can record their own performance at the LF2018 piano at the station and submit it to social media to be eligible for a chance to play during the festival.
This is the sixth edition of the largely free festival, and you can check out the full programme online (in Dutch) to see what strikes your fancy. Here are some the best things (in English-language or with a low language threshold) about this year’s extra special edition of the festival according to Leeuwarden-based Suksawat:
The three-day festival is actually ten days long
Even though the official programme runs from the 22nd through the 25th of November, several events happening during Explore the North already technically kicked off on the 15th, including the “Foreign Tongues” dance performance by Austrian dance company Liquid Loft.
Plenty of voodoo
The festival has a number of different themes, and voodoo is among them for the 2018 edition. During the final party of Explore the North, freelance journalist and Afro-Carribean music expert Leendert van der Valk will be coordinating a musical lecture called the Vaudou Game, interviewing Haitain roots band Chouk Bwa & the Ångstromers, and post-industrial ritual act from Tunisia, Ifriqiyya Electrique.
Japan has a prominent place in this year’s programme thanks to a collaboration between Lân fan taal and EU Japan Fest. Japanese noise rock band Bo Ningen and Frisian poet Elmar Kuiper have created a brand new piece for the festival, and Frisian string quartet Risata is working together with Japanese producer Anchorsong. Sundays & Cybele, a Japanese psychedelic rock band will be getting their jam on at the Z building on Friday night.
Mechanical Ecstasy by Club Guy & Roni
In the Harmonie performance hall, dance troupe Club Guy & Roni is working together with Slagwerk from The Hague to bring an intense dance party to the stage on the 22ndof November.
Get down and dirty in the Poetry Darkroom
In a pitch black underground bunker built to withstand the Cold War, sensory deprivation takes over as hidden figures walk through the darkness and overwhelm visitors with poetry (in Dutch). Creepy, but cool.
This Ferris wheel of hammocks is returning to Leeuwarden: earlier in the LF2018 year, the Relaxerette popped up in the Prinsentuin. This relaxing contraption was also a part of the Noorderzon festival in Groningen over the summer. You can just go for a ride, or listen to stories and sounds to transport you to another world.
Expedition in your own city
A Guide To Leeuwarden will be hosting special tours in the city during Explore the North, revealing the capital’s hidden criminal history and escorting you to intimate performances in off the beaten path spots. Signing up beforehand is required.
|Northern Times reader and contributor Fatim E Chaki is involved with the LF2018 Lân fan taal project and shared several highlights in this year’s edition of the wintry festival.
Photo exhibition and live presentation
Where? Obe (Oldehoofsterkerkhof)
When? 11 November to 8 December
What time? 10 am to 6 pm
Writers from Iraq, Belgium and the United States joined Dutch artists to immerse themselves in Leeuwarden to create a story about what inspired them in the city. The resulting “city portraits” are on display at Obe, a specially designed exhibition space by new media collective WERC. On Thursday, 22 November, contributing artists Erik Vlaminck, Arjan Hut, Wiebe Kaspers, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Chantal Rens and Anne Margot Stapert will be on hand to talk about the stories and their process in the project.
De Stadskas Festivalhart
A green house in the city
When? 15 – 25 November
What time? 12 pm to 12 am
Cost? Free (or whatever you want to spend on drinks or food)
The Stadskas is the place to find information about every aspect of Explore the North, purchase tickets and pick up wristbands for for Explore, Liquid Loft, AquaSonic and Young Explorers. The greenhouse is also a great spot to meet up for a meal, a drink, a celebration or a chat. Together with the Stadsoase, Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018’s Fuck Up Nights, New Faces and the Popfabryk, a new programme is on at the greenhouse every day throughout the festival. Boekhandel Van der Velde will also be presenting book signings on site with authors involved in the Explore programme.
Liquid Loft: Church of Ignorance
When? 15, 16 and 17 November
What time? 7:30 and 9:30 pm
Cost? 15 euros
Six members of the Austrian theatre and dance company Liquid Loft will transform the beautiful Westerkerk in Leeuwarden into a market square for various languages, a moving Tower of Babel of sorts, during the Church of Ignorance. This performance was also a highlight of the Oerol festival on Terschelling this summer. The theme of the show is “Foreign Tongues” and is inspired by the wide range of regional languages across Europe.