A few weeks before we pack our bags and head to the Netherlands for a quick trip, we managed to have an interview with Dutch Doom Days organizer, Pim Blankenstein, to discuss a few things about the festival:
Infernal Masquerade: Can you tell us a bit more about the history of Dutch Doom Days and how it all started?
Pim Blankenstein: Sure, it all started in 2002 when I (Pim) wanted to organize a show for my band Officium Triste at Baroeg. Together with the then booker of Baroeg (René Veerkamp) we decided to turn it into a daylong event with bands such as Pantheist, Jack Frost, Thee Plague Of Gentlemen and Whispering Forest. We had former Anathema bass-player Duncan Patterson on board as the DJ. For a first edition it was quite successful, so we decided to continue and here we are doing our 17th edition.
Infernal Masquerade: With such a competitive and saturated 'metal festivals' market, what do you think makes your event stand out and popular?
Pim Blankenstein: I think we were one of the first festivals dedicated to doom metal. Back then the now defunct Doom Shall Rise festival in Germany was also starting out and I think you had a couple of doom metal related festivals in the USA. So, from that perspective I think we stand out as being one of the longest running doom metal festivals around. Over the years plenty of other festivals have surfaced. A couple of them even in the same period. Still I don’t see those as competition as most of them are not that close by in the geographical sense. As a matter of fact I think it is great that other organise festivals around doom metal as it is a genre that is not the most popular form of metal. That leads me to saying that I feel we stand out because we focus on all forms of doom metal, whether it is epic doom or funeral doom. In the past we have also booked bands that even can’t be completely considered as doom, but we felt they did fit in the concept. Next to the variety of styles we also want to give upcoming bands the chance to present themselves tom our audience. Last but not least I’d like to add that Baroeg isn’t the biggest venue so you can see the bands up-close and the atmosphere during the festival is very friendly.
Infernal Masquerade: Can you give us some of the behind the scenes things about how Dutch Doom Days gets put together (line up selection, promo, venue, etc)?
Pim Blankenstein: Well, Dutch Doom Days is part of the regular programme of Baroeg. As we are a concert venue we know how things work, so that’s pretty easy actually. We have our own crew (mostly consisting of volunteers) who make things work. It doesn’t matter if it’s a regular gig or a bigger event like Dutch Doom Days where there’s more bands playing. Together with our current booker (Leon van Rijnsbergen) I decide what bands we book. Through the years we made a lot of contacts and there are plenty of bands showing interest in performing. The last couple of years we could book bands on tour, but we also book bands for an exclusive performance at DDD. So, we have multiple options to get a great line-up together. It’s like a cool puzzle each year, but so far we managed to present interesting bands on every occasion.
Infernal Masquerade: From the excellent line-up, which band(s) are you guys most excited to see?
Pim Blankenstein: The correct answer of course is all of them. It’s great to have upcoming Dutch bands like Godenbloed and Beyond Our Ruins on the bill next to a renowned act like Saturnus. From a personal perspective I have to say that I already have seen most bands perform live before, so I know what to expect. Some bands I personally haven’t seen live yet and I look forward seeing those, like Pilgrim and Mare Infinitum. The latter being a Russian band is new to us too, making it extra exciting. Since I’m part of Clouds myself I’m excited to that too. Clouds is an international band and logistically it is difficult to get everyone involved together at the same time. Now they’re on the bill and that creates room for something exclusive.
Infernal Masquerade: What can you recommend the people coming from around the world to do in Rotterdam in their free time? any cool bars?
Pim Blankenstein: Rotterdam has become quite a popular city the last couple of years. Ever since travel guides like Lonely Planet wrote great things about our city we’ve seen an increase of tourism. Since Rotterdam was bombed in WWII it has been rebuilt for decades and now you could say it is more or less finished. So if you like modern architecture you can find plenty of amazing buildings in our city.
There are some areas that are cool with plenty of bars and such, like the Witte de Withstraat or the Nieuwe Binnenweg. The latter with some record stores too and bars like Bar 3, Rotown and Belgian Beercafe Boudewijn. There’s a couple of breweries too. The oldest being Pelgrim which is located in Delfshaven, a part that survived the bombing and shows how Rotterdam was. Kaapse Brouwers is a brewery located in the Fenix Food Court and highly recommended with 30 beers on draft. Then there’s Eurotrash and Brouwerij Noordt too, if you really want to delve in Rotterdam brewing.
Infernal Masquerade: Any last things that you want to add for the eager people that are attending the event?
Pim Blankenstein: First of all I hope that people will enjoy themselves. We have great bands that all get sufficient time to play. Baroeg is a cool venue with a great vibe located in a vibrant city. See you there in a couple of weeks.
Saturday October 28
Vvk €21. Entree €22. Zaal open 13:00
In the Woods... (NO)
Mare Infinitum (RUS)
ALBEZ DUZ (GER)
Beyond Our Ruins (NL)
Sunday October 29
Vvk €21. Entree €22. Zaal open 13:00
Hooded Priest (NL/BE)
Lone Wanderer (GER)
Death The Leveller (IE)
Combitickets Dutch Doom Days: vvk € 36,00. Entree € 40,00.
Day tickets and festival pass available here: https://baroeg.stager.nl/Dutch%20Doom%20Days/tickets