Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes
It’s Thursday evening, 28 February. Students cycling among shoppers on their way to one of the eleven acts to be performed during Stukafest – the student room festival. The first round starts at 20:30hrs, but just a few minutes before that, the room where the musician Mixendorp is to perform is not full. “Maybe people couldn’t find it,” says the Stukafest volunteer at the door. “Even we cycled round three times.”
In the meantime Mixendorp, a man in his fifties with long hair and a large beard, makes a start from behind his mixing console. “I use music that I have made and collected over the past thirty years, mainly blues, and I mix it all together. It is different every time,” he says later. When everyone is inside he picks up his guitar and plays along with the music. Film images appear behind him. Visitors tap their feet in appreciation.
Some of his inspiration comes from recordings from the nineteen forties, singing black prisoners and farmhands working the land. “I have taken the liberty to imagine how it would have sounded if they had had instruments.” After the last song, they all quickly collect their coats: it finished ten minutes later than planned and the next performance is waiting.
This is given by Harrison Thomas, Arts and Culture student and singer/songwriter. He is performing tonight “with my good friend Lars.” They play their own work and cover songs. From Wanna be like you from Disney’s Jungle book to Bohemian like you from The Dandy Warhols and Beck’s Nausea. The last two come directly after each other. “Well that’s a bit of a mood swing,” says Thomas. “Sorry to do that to you. We would have done Bohemian mid-set, had we remembered or been in any way professional.” The performance has an all-around-the-campfire kind of atmosphere, which is particularly noticeable with the sing-alongs like the last one: You can’t always get what you want by The Rolling Stones.
The last stop is in Hotel Ossenkop, known by many students for its parties. That is also what the German drum band Barulheiros is trying to achieve. The audience first needs some encouragement – “can you all just take one step forward? And another one?” – but then they happily jump along to the energetic drum music. At the end everyone is so enthusiastic that they shout from the bottom of their hearts “Zugabe”. “In German, would you believe it,” the lead man grins and starts a new song.