Jacques Reiners, head of Studium Generale, looks rather calm on this Thursday morning. The programme was finalised a long time ago: “When the Executive Board gave us the go-ahead last February, I already drawn up a list of potential guest speakers, bands and stage artists. I immediately started sending e-mails and making phone calls. The speakers, many of whom are Maastricht researchers, agreed without exception. There are even researchers who said that they want to participate in the 2018 edition of the festival.” It has actually been decided that a PAS Festival will be organised next year as well. Reiners, visibly chuffed: “Did you read the programme booklet? Did you see what it says? The continued existence of the PAS Festival is guaranteed until the UM's 45th anniversary.” That means until 2022. Unfortunately, he won't experience that himself as head of Studium Generale. He ‘must’ retire in June 2018. “I will make the preparations for PAS 2018. I went to seven festivals during the summer to check out bands and street theatre groups.”
Again, there is a lot that the public should not miss, says Reiners. He mentions acrobat Mauricio Cugat, who makes all kinds of shapes in the air while hanging by his hair. “A single hair can carry a weight of about 100 grams” the programme booklet states. So, a full head of hair should be able to deal with a lot more. Another performer is the night mayor of Antwerp/storyteller Don Vitalski, who uses sound and images to shed light on the life of musician Prince. There is also traditional blues and jazz by Bruce Ellison and the Jellodies, or the swinging SuperSka, the band that performed at the UM staff party last year.
What he is most proud of? The opening performance on Thursday evening by writer and artist Armando and Ukraine accordionist Oleg Lysenko: Ik hoorde dat er geluisterd werd. Apparently, Reiners is not the only one looking forward to this “crossover between literature and music,” because the tickets - there are 175 seats in the courtyard of the Student Services Centre - have already ‘sold out’. Reiners: “Entrance is free, but full is full. We even have a lot of people on the standby list.”
Why should students go to the PAS Festival? Reiners: “They can meet people from Maastricht. Normally they live their lives parallel to each other, but here they can meet. Much of the music caters for a younger audience, certainly at the Minderbroedersberg and SSC courtyards, but also in the Faculty of Law's small garden, where singer-songwriters perform.”
Employees, Reiners continues, have the opportunity to meet researchers from other faculties or departments and hear about their work. “The academics who give lectures, on their part, feel that it is great to meet the audience. They don't often have that kind of contact, when really that is who they are working for.” And the citizens of Maastricht? “They are enticed by PAS to finally step into those buildings that they only know from the outside.”
One other thing, says Reiners. He points at his text in the programme: “We cannot promise that the weather gods will be as kind to us this year as they were last year. But what everybody does have power over, is his or her mood: so, allow the sun to shine in your heart and come and enjoy the PAS Festival.”