Similar to the the trend in the Netherlands, our Southern neighbour is also spawning a range of dance music communities and promoters for those smaller cities that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with the dance scene. Nevertheless, it’s those projects that are the backbone of the proliferation of underground music. Not all good electronic music, parties and festivals from Dutch soil are exclusive to Amsterdam, and the same goes for Belgium and its cultural hotspots Antwerp and Brussels. One of those examples in practice is SOBER, one of the new promoters in Belgium’s bustling nightlife, who have made successful attempts in putting their city of Turnhout on the map.
SOBER is the first organisation to bring house & techno to the city of Turnhout. Philippe Boermans, one of the founders, explains that SOBER was created first and foremost “[…] as a statement. To show that this kind of music should also have its place in smaller localities, and not just the big cities.” Since its 2013 initiation, SOBER has gone through a lengthy growth, and have hosted events with clear cut programming that has included artists like Compuphonic, NT89 and goldFFinch – no doubt the least DJs to be found left of the dial. This is the realisation of SOBER’s subgoal after one of their nights: to try and school visitors in dance music through carefully selected line ups with artists that are making a difference in the industry nowadays.
SOBER’s event roster doesn’t just range the vicinity of Turnhout by the way, the Belgian player has also hosted in bigger cities like Antwerp and Leuven every now and then – at one of those events the headliner was Joris Voorn.
For their next event they will make their return to Turnhout though, in the form of Turn Out City Night 3.1. For the occasion, they have selected a mix of promising electronic bands and DJs to run the night. Four stages will make up the playground that is De Warande this Saturday, October 31st. The main room of the venue will be lent to Vuurwerk and Tout Va Bien, two bands that the organisation has a lot of belief in: “Tout Va Bien is a very progressively minded act, they have played pretty much every European festival this year. Their musical profile lies somewhere in between Bon Iver and James Blake. Vuurwerk on the other hand, although equally promising on a musical level, is incredible regarding the visual spectacle they offer during their performances, in such a way that it really adds another dimension to their music.”
In the ‘Foyer’ brothers in arms Tsepo and Konstantin Sibold will guarantee for a solid B2B performance, while the main room will be taken over by SOBER and DHA after the bands performances for some solid house work by Detroit Swindle and Prunk, two acts that need ample introduction.
The next steps for SOBER after their event this weekend are clear, as Philippe tells us: “Our focus in the coming year is to try and perfect our curation, to draw in those artists that we admire personally. This is a tough job of course, especially when you’re operating from a city on the fringe of dance music culture.” But with the right attitude, he believes this to not really be an obstacle: “After putting in the effort we’ve also been able to pull in Detroit Swindle, and I’m sure we can bring our message across to a lot of other artists we want to welcome here.”