Every year around September I find myself having a hard time. School’s started again, the sun is slowly fading into the background and I along with all my friends tumble back into the realisation that real life starts again. But then there is a positive thing about September. There are always a couple of rare days in this month, where the scenery reminds you of the fantastic summer that you’ve just had. It’s always a day that sun shines again and the drinks flow freely, which makes people forget about their bosses, homework or whatever trouble is going on in their lives. This September I had this day on a sunny Saturday at Frank Festival in Frankendael Park.
When I walked around the grounds of the festival site, which took no longer than five minutes, I noticed a perfect kind of balance. A perfect balance between children playing and their parents drinking. Between good food and beautiful vintage clothing. Between people dancing and people peacefully lying down in the grass listening to the music in the background. Frank Festival goes back to basics with good music, delicious food, fine art and reasonable prices. Especially with that last bit, the reasonable prices, Frank is a welcome antidote to all the big, commercial festivals we’ve seen all summer. At Frank you can get a beer for 2,50, just the way it should be. And even a ticket for the festival was only five euros with the option to contribute more, to really make the visitors think about how much they’d want to support this small intimate festival, instead of paying 50 euros for a big, gated, mass-festival.
It took me a while but I found out that if you walk away from the field, there was a trail that led the visitors to a small island next to the big field where all the people were. This trail ended at a small, partly broken down fort where photos of the talented Iris van Vliet were being shown. In the fort, a small group of people were sitting down, listening to several writers reading their short stories. It felt homely – just like the entire festival did. I must say, the setting looked like something out of a fairy tale. Especially when I looked away from the fort, back at the field where Frank was celebrating his festival. There were guys dancing with their girls as if they were the lead in a romantic 1950’s film. There were children running after their Frisbees as if it was the last time they’d ever play again. Friends enjoying their burgers, wine and shrimps as if they hadn’t eaten in days. Everyone’s joy seemed to be lifted to a new high on this sunny Saturday. This setting, of the people having a good time and the sun shining down upon them was beautiful to watch. The only reason why I went back to the Festival site was because of the music. Zitakula was playing – a band that knows how to get a crowd going. It was nice to see how in a matter of seconds, Zitakula managed to get everybody up to the stage to dance their asses off. Including myself.
“You need less, you want more, you need less.” Those were the lines of one of the songs they sang and the crowd sang with them. When they sang this I couldn’t help but think of other festivals in Amsterdam. It seems as if we always want more when it comes to festivals – more stages, more people, more lightshows, more DJ’s, everything must be more. But just like Zitakula sings; we need less even though we think we want more. Frank Festival is the living proof. Good food, good music and good people. That’s all it takes to become friends with Frank.