Where last years edition of Dour was the scene of heavy rain, causing knee deep mud pools to arise, this year the weather is much better, to say the least. With sun most of the day and a temperature close to 30 degrees Celsius, it’s the perfect weather for a good festival weekend.
The grounds are surprisingly clean when arriving at the festival. Where most festivals are littered with empty cups, bags and food trays, the main field of Dour looks as clean as your own backyard. Like other events Dour rewards you with free drink tickets if you hand in 40 cups or a full trash bag. Visitors are busy all day collecting as much trash as possible in order to get as many free drinks as possible. The little remaining litter that isn’t collected by visitors is removed by volunteers wearing ‘Green Cross’ shirts, resulting in a very clean festival area.
The vibe is good as the first artists get on stage. Despite the high temperature, Jungle by Night gets the entire crowd to dance to their Afro beat music. The African rhythms combined with very catchy tunes played by the horn section are an instant hit. By the end of the show the Dance Hall is packed with cheering people who just had their perfect festival kick off.
Canadian band Half Moon Run takes the stage at La Petite Maison dans la Praire. The Belgium audience already came to know the band as support act for Mumford & Sons on their European tour. This time their stage at Dour is way smaller than the ones they played with M&S, but that doesn’t seem to bother Half Moon Run at all. The band immediately makes the right connection with the audience, that dances and sings to almost every song. Lead singer Devon Portielje hits every note and the harmonies are overwhelmingly good. The changes in rhythm and the dreamy guitar and vocal parts are picked up easily by the crowd.
BRNS (pronounced as ‘brains’) builds its set carefully. Their rhythmic played guitars get louder with every song. They have brought a wide variety of musical instruments to create their typical sound. Lots of keyboard, synthesizers and percussion instruments are used to bring the songs live as best as possible. Surprisingly BRNS doesn’t seem to use a backing track. They use only live instruments to bring their songs to a climax. The audience goes wild as the band plays their hit song ‘Mexico’, resulting in a shower of water and confetti.
Charles Bradley reminds of the legend himself, James Brown. The way Bradley stands in his blue suit really makes you wonder if you haven’t stepped into a time machine by accident. Bradley did work as an Brown impersonator, as tribute to his great inspiration, but is now back with his own repertoire. His deep voice and the way he sings about the trouble he has seen gets you until shivers run all down your spine. If you’re able to look behind the majesty of this man, you’ll see that he’s not alone. The stage is filled with the most talented musicians, who really hit the groove.
Trying to get back to the Dance Hall, you couldn’t even get half way. It seemed like everyone at Dour was trying to get close to Bonobo. The tent was so packed that a large part of the crowd was standing outside. Luckily tThe music was loud enough to hear it outside of the tent so many people just chose to sit in the welcome evening breeze and think of nothing else than the sweet sounds that Bonobo produces.
Moving with the crowd you see a glance of the populair band, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Whose frontlady really gets the crowd of their feet again. Most people end the night in the Redbull elektropedia Balzaal with Roni Size & Dynamite and Camo & Krooked feat. Youthstar. The heat is almost unbearable in the Balzaal, but there’s no way of getting out. The beat is too strong and you just can’t stop dancing. After you get drenched in your own sweat, you drag yourself back to your tent you see the legendary Wu-Tang Clan. The best of hip-hop is the perfect ending for a long, exhausting but amazing first day of Dour festival.
Written by Rients van Ganswijk & Liza Krudde.