If you're new to Rotterdam, you probably don't know where to go for a great night on the town. At first sight, it may seem as though the port city, with its tall skyscrapers and office buildings, doesn't have much to offer in terms of music. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. Just ask Oana Andronache!
I’ve recently moved from Constanta, Romania to a new city in the Netherlands, the ‘up & coming’ world city of Rotterdam. Already after 4 months of exploring the city I’ve seen many new and interesting cityscapes unfold in front of me, not to mention many of the new concept cafés and imposing architectures that have blown my mind. I have also made a handful of new friends open to share their Rotterdam secrets and pleasures.
Rotterdam appears to have a healthy art/music scene with lots of different artists and performers who love to share the best of their multi-talents. Biking everyday up and down Rotterdam bike paths I've also noticed many attractive advertisements all around the city for the Rotterdamse pop week. Already curious about this event my friend Elma Plaisier, an established local singer-songwriter and frontwoman of the band Half Way Station, let me in on the programme for this year’s annual event.
The Rotterdamse Popweek exposes an eclectic “music scene’’ which hosts many different kinds of musicians/performers from in and around the city. Being a curious person I went out to witness this for myself and enjoy a few nights out in Rotterdam. I also hoped to familiarize myself more to the rawness of the Dutch culture as well as try to understand the difference between the Romanian & Dutch music culture.
After having scanned the RPW programme I noticed that some of the music style descriptions were similar to some of those back in my country. There were also many that were very new to me, making me very curious. On the whole I was looking forward to hear some great new music, taking part in my first event in Holland and exposing myself to the current Rotterdam music culture.
Popquiz & Rotterdam Music Awards
Friday, October 28th was the first night of de Popweek. The night’s event was the ‘Popquiz & Uitreiking Rotterdam Music Awards’, in which prizes are given to several keyfigures in the music scene of Rotterdam. Accompanied by Elma, I was introduced to the cozy venue of Rotown, a popular local bar and music café located on the Nieuwe Binnenweg, Rotterdam.
Upon my arrival, Rotown was already full and I was immediately impressed by the electric energy of the room which was preparing for the Popquiz to begin. Along with Elma I assembled myself into a team hoping I could contribute to the quiz with my knowledge of music. My first impression was, ‘wow what a great atmosphere and exciting event!’
After the Popquiz fun I had the pleasure of attending the follow up event of the Rotterdam Music Award nominations which raised the level of electricity in Rotown. Musicians and Bars from Rotterdam were nominated for different categories. I also enjoyed photographing this event. The nominations finished off with a performance by a local singer/songwriter, that goes by the suitable name of ‘Goodnight Moonlight’. Sorry to be honest though; he was playing a style of music that wasn’t really my cup of tea…
All in all, my first experience with the Rotterdamse Popweek was a great one! I left Rotown happy and impressed with the positive energy and general comradery of the popquiz and the awardshow; a great introduction and first time for me attending such a notable event.
The Soundtrack of a Revolution
The following week, on Wednesday November 2nd, I continued my Popweek exploration trying to expose myself to something new that I would not normally attend back in Romania. I chose a HipHop event at Bird.
The event was called: ‘’The soundtrack of a Revolution’’, a new multidisciplinary concept where the hip-hop music and dance mix together. Again, I was charmed with as strong first impression of the space & atmosphere of this popular Jazz & Blues Club/Bar & restaurant located on the Raampoortstraat. Bird’s venue program also looked quite healthy and full of interesting weekly events.
However, when I arrived there weren’t so many people around, only a few enthusiastic dancers moving their bodies to the rhythmic beats of the local hip-hop music. The event wasn't really what I expected. More dancing than music experience for my taste. So I left early from the event after having digested my fill of the local HipHop beats. Overall there were só many events to see and experience during the Popweek, and I wish I could have had the opportunity to experience more, but maybe next year. I can definitely say that I am already looking forward to it!
Every year Popunie organises the Rotterdamse Popweek. For 10 days, a spotlight is shone on the very diverse musical scene the city has to offer. During the Popweek, all of Rotterdam's music venues join forces and open their doors to welcome thousands of visitors.
p.s. Is the information in this article incorrect or outdated? Please let us know.