Next october, a new edition of the fantastic bal folk festival Cadansa will take place in Duiven, The Netherlands. A quite big and magical event only Dutch could have invented.
These past years, I have attended to several events in The Netherlands, from the regular bal to bal folk and blues festivals, and even huge pagan music festival. And I really think Dutch have “a special way”, a “special touch” to organise cosy and nice events.
A Dutch taste for quality
When I think of Cadansa, I immediately think of “quality”. The bands are usually very good, although quite mainstream. So you may have heard them before during the year, but still the line-up is always so tempting it would a shame to miss such good music and dancing. The event drags a lot of good dancers from all nationalities of Europe. The sound is very good, the floor is perfect and everything is done the Dutch way with a perfect meticulousness and timing. For sure they thought of everything.
What’s so special about the organisation?
As it’s one of the last festivals of the season, it is quite cold outside and for camping addicts like bal folk dancers, there come the necessity to find shelter for the night. Cadansa is the only festival I know that made a deal with a four stars hôtel including a spa, huge rooms and late brunch. These past years, several unofficial and spontaneous jam sessions took place in these rooms with the musicians from the different bands. High quality conditions for a bal folk festival. Other cheaper possibilities are proposed along like sleeping in the school or camping in a farm or renting a bike (that’s very Dutch).
The Netherlands is a pretty country. You can see very clean little streets with pretty houses decorated with orchids in the windows. Everything is nice, clean and healthy (except frikandel). And so is the festival with cosy corners to play games, rooms to take a nap or the round fireplace in the old place where you could eat your gluten free cookie / vegan cake / hot veggie soup, or drink one of the 10 different beers the bar and the adorable volunteers can provide. Bonus for the guys making the homemade hot chocolate.
One particularity of Cadansa is to put each edition under the sign of a mascot or a cute theme, and to develop everything around it. It always looks beautiful.
That’s how you find yourself wearing an octopus tshirt, taking a nap on a comfy mattress and pillows in an ocean themed nap room, displaying images of The Little Mermaid and projecting bubbles images in the dark, or sleeping in a hedgehog’s nest.
A Dutch way to have fun
With the idea of making you feel at home, Cadansa provides you a great deal of games and side activities so you will meet people besides the bals. Amongst other things, we can list :
- A few good workshops but not too many, which I find great,
- An amazing silent disco with headphones and 2 dj competing to put the best music ever (bal folk music or not)
- The blind dancing game, where you have absolutely no idea who you are dancing with, 3 dances for leaders, 3 dances for followers, with an amazing intimate atmosphere – in fact, I consider that moment as the heart of the festival.
- The blind dancing bench you can sit whenever you want, blindfolded, and let unknown dancers pick you for a dance,
- The bingo challenge, who will encourage you to invite whoever wears a red shirt, or whoever being 10 years older than you…
- A pool party (yes)
- The photobooth !
A Dutch way of dancing ?
Since I started bal folk, I often heard about that great myth “the Dutch way of dancing”. Of course it’s a generalisation and nobody dances the same, BUT I think Dutch bal folk dancers are the most hugging people I know and their manner of dancing kind of reflect that. They like to improvise a lot, and to dance close. They like “neo dancing” and the line-up usually follow that scheme. So their way of dancing traditional and/or breton dancing might sometimes lack of rigor even if they have their own funny, happy and relaxed way to dance it.
I will finish by saying that Cadansa, like most Dutch events, reflect the spirit of these joyful and warm hearted people that Dutch are. Because of the idea that a good festival must be the sum of good music, good venue, good accomodation and good atmosphere, and stay to a human size. That festival is and will stay high in my list of amazing festivals I cannot miss.
To know more about Cadansa
Bal folk festival, The Netherlands
Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/Cadansa/