The first edition of The Dordtse Matsuri, with Dordtse as the abbreviation for the city where it was taking it place, Dordrecht, was doing well in terms of weather, the sun was shining and the temperature rose to about 27 degrees Celcius. Visitors around the Energiehuis (Energy House) were welcomed by a number of stalls on the square. From Japan-related products to food and drink, the intention was to start the atmosphere outside already. Inside the building, it was open enough to wander around thanks to the various stairs you could take to go upstairs. It felt a bit like the beginning of the Abunai! weekend, where many get lost in the various corridors.
You can walk up and down stairs until you come across a number of spaces with indoor market activities, a photo exhibition and a gameroom. Some locations seemed to be a bit hidden, like the karaoke, but it will also have to do with the fact that the Energiehuis, where Bibelot is located, is unknown to many visitors and the references were not always clearly visible. The location has an industrial look, has a number of open areas where the light comes in well and enough space to grow for an event like the Matsuri.
But the matsuri feeling seemed to be a bit missing, as there were little decoration and markers that you were on The Dordtse Matsuri. In addition, the location was so large, so you basically met few other visitors. This almost made it look like the building was empty, but once you arrived at the interesting locations such as the Power Stage and Main stage, you could see where the visitors had walked to.
Speaking of which, the interesting additions to The Dordtse Matsuri were the musical acts and the room filled with several games to play. The musical performances took place on the big Main Stage and the audience seemed to fill up more and more with each act. The Japanese band HighTechLowLife was allowed to perform in the Netherlands for the second time and showed the same show as at Abunai, with the same message to save the planet. For those who should have missed Abunai!, De Dordtse Matsuri was a good choice to see this band from Okinawa live. VII ARC was a worthy ending of the matsuri with a heavy show. They had previously performed in Bibelot, but then it was in the basement, where they showed how they had grown. They showed this again on the Main Stage. The gameroom used the Power Stage, where the dance floor and stage were fully used for various games. Once inside, the atmosphere was good and you could be convinced to try one of the games.
That The Dordtse Matsuri had a small outdoor market and indoor market was interesting, it is a bit different from the Japanese markets in The Netherlands. But with this beautiful weather, it is perfect to enjoy a matsuri outside as they know it in Japan. Maybe for next year and hope that the weather again shows itself to be on the right side.
Photography: Francisca Hagen (AVO Magazine)