Le Guess Who? is a music festival like no other. Taking place this week from Thursday 7th – Sunday 10th November, LGW is set to bring artists and spectators from around the globe.

Tickets are now running low – so what do newcomers to this pioneering festival need to know?

LGW is city-wide

Set in the heart of Utretcht, a Netherlands festival only half an hour from Amsterdam, it’s a city-wide celebration of world-wide music.

During four days, Le Guess Who? takes over the city center of Utrecht with over 150 performances set to electrify pop venues, theaters, churches, galleries and warehouses.

Satellite events with music, film, visual art, photography and markets appear at cafés, hotels, restaurants, wharf cellars, de Neude square and the hidden corners of the city.

Sons of Kemet – Le Guess Who? 2018 – © Ben Houdijk

It’s genrebending

The festival features an eclectic range of non-western sounds, jazz, folk, ambient, drone, avant-garde, and modern compositions.

There’s some front leaders from contemporary pop and rock culture too, but for the most part, the festival is about bending the barriers of genres, testing the extremity of collaboration between wide-ranging artists, and defining what counts as music in the 21st century.

A wander through the festival’s main arena ‘Tivoli’ could take you from free jazz, to Afro-psychedelia; punk guitar fused with Native American drumming, to an entire orchestra performing variations on one single note.

BCUC – Le Guess Who? 2018 – © Tim van Veen

It’s led by its artists

Every year, a few key artists are selected to invite other performers to come to Le Guess Who?.

They’re responsible for creating a program of music that inspires them personally and influences their own musical tastes – or simply that they would love to see live.

Initially LGW was led by one curator per year, increasing to three curators a few years ago.

This year, there’s curated programs from six artists and collaborations: the pioneering voice of Mali, Fatoumata Diawara; Dutch fashion radical Iris van Herpen & sound artist Salvador Breed; Norwegian multi-disciplinary artist Jenny Hval; psychedelic/kraut mystics Moon Duo; New York avant-garde composer Patrick Higgins; and shape-shifting electronic producer The Bug.

Clearly, curation is the future of LGW – and for good reason. It gives synergy. It encourages the collective. It feels decidedly democratic to allow artists to give a platform to the musicians they themselves love.

Lonnie Holley – Le Guess Who? 2018 – © Ben Houdijk

It’s not just music…

…and it’s not just at night, either.

Along with exploring the festival program, visitors of Le Guess Who? 2019 can also immerse themselves in various activities during the day throughout the city of Utrecht, including the festival’s ‘Untitled’ program. 

This year, Untitled will include a three-day film festival, featuring the work of groundbreaking film and documentary directors; exhibitions from Icelandic embroidery artist James Merry, and South-African visual/multimedia-artist Gabrielle Goliath; a sonic healing session by spiritual jazz artist Angel Bat Dawid; and, in collaboration with Kickstarter, live interviews and print exhibitions hosted by The Creative Independent and local print studio Kapitaal. 

Movie theater Springhaver presents a three-day program with films and documentaries, partly related to artists performing at the festival, including Babylon (Franco Rosso), Black Mother (Khalik Allah), Closer To God (Annette Berger), The Burial of Kojo (Sam Blitz Bazawule), The Devil and Daniel Johnston (Jeff Feuerzeig), Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story (LUCA Productions) and Zerzura (Christopher Kirkley).

Every ticket sale makes a difference

Le Guess Who? cooperates with The Dutch Council for Refugees for the ‘Grant an Entry’ initiative, which gives visitors the option to buy an additional day ticket for a refugee residing in The Netherlands who would like to visit Le Guess Who? but does not have the financial means to do so.

Tickets are running low but are still available for a 4 day pass and individual day tickets. Find out more at the website – https://www.leguesswho.nl/tickets-2020-test

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