Koekoek in the Utrecht Nest

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Today we are pleased to introduce Dionne , who is 25 years old and figuring out life. Which is her favourite thing to do, because nobody knows what is going to happen tomorrow. She studied Cultural and Social Development in Utrecht and that’s now the basis of most of the things she does on a daily basis. And Dionne like goats, a lot. Dionne is one of the inspirational organisers of Koekoek and here she tells us all about it. If you are jaded after Christmas this will be just what you need!

Tell us a bit about koekoek

For three months, every weekend, Koekoek 030 Festival travels through unique and the most striking locations in the suburbs of Utrecht. The goal is to surprise visitors with a collection of talented artists from the Utrecht music, art and design world. Twenty-six of the most striking, new or yet to be discovered places in Utrecht will open their doors during Koekoek 030 Festival.

Every Saturday and Sunday in January, February and March the festival surprises its visitors by taking them through the city to special places in all corners of Utrecht. Locations of different creative young entrepreneurs will be transformed during the weekends into a pop-up stage for musical acts. There will also be exhibitions of young talented Utrecht artists and designers.

How would you describe it, a festival? A show?

I would describe it as a traveling festival. You can enjoy us for 3 months, every weekend. So there is no more reason to get bored in those months because we present you with 26 new locations where you might not have been yet in our beautiful city, and next to that you get to explore new music and art! All for free.

What is your favourite part of the performance?

I love how everything comes together and that it’s all done by people from Utrecht. The location, the designer and the musicians.

What does koekoek mean?

This festival is brought to you by Stichting Vreemde Vogels. In every city we have different bird names for the festival. So we have Vlaamse Gaaien for a city in Belgium, Storks in Stores for the city of The Hague, Duifies for Amsterdam, Pica Pica for Rotterdam and now Cuckoos for Utrecht.

What will be the highlights?

I have to say that all our locations are highlights, but there is one in particular for me, one I’m very proud of. We get to play in the tropical greenhouse of the Botanical Garden at the Science Park. The scenery is beautiful, between all the beautiful tropical plants. It will look like a fairytale. And we arranged that there will be no entrance fee that day, because normally you have to pay to get in.

How did you get into this?

My friend Marcel, who is one of the founders of the festival asked me if I wanted to help with a new festival in Utrecht. I said yes and here we are.

What brought you to Utrecht?

I started my studies here. I was born in a small town 20 minutes from here, but never really went to Utrecht in my youth. So it wasn’t my plan to go to school here, because I found Amsterdam or Rotterdam much more appealing. But the study that I wanted to do was the best in Utrecht and that turned out to be one of the best choices I ever made in my life.

Describe a perfect day in Utrecht?

I really love winter. There are those rare winter days in Utrecht when around 7 pm the Oudegracht is deserted. It’s dark, the lights are on, it’s cold and the town is quiet. That’s my favourite time to be there. Because it’s so peaceful. No tourists, no shopping folks, just the cold, the lights and the Oudegracht.

Does Utrecht inspire you?

Yeah lots! There is a lot going on in our town. Creative spots with the most awesome creative thinkers and makers are sprouting like mushrooms from the grounds. And with that more and more places where you can drink coffee, work and be surrounded by other creative people who work for themselves. I really believe in co-creation and I think these kinds of places stimulates that!

 Where is your favourite place in Utrecht?

I really fell in love with de Nijverheid at the Nijverheidskade. It’s a creative hotspot with lots of awesome artists. The place is filled with cool art and in the summer you can swim in the canal. A few weeks ago they opened up their café so now you can go there for a cup of coffee and lunch. So if you need some inspiration, I recommend you go there! On January the 5th we open Koekoek030 festival at 5 pm in the afternoon at their place. They will serve dinner and we bring you some great music and art.




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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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