Spoffin 2013

By Dmitry Kann 5 min read This post in Russian 0196

It’s August again, which means festival time in Amersfoort! In the beginning of the month there’s usually the world-famous Gay Pride in Holland. The main venue is, of course, Amsterdam, but many other cities, including Amersfoort, hold smaller parades. However in the beginning of August I was in Tyumen, so I won’t tell you anything about that.

Latin music festival Dias Latinos (here's my post of two years ago) also usually takes place in Amersfoort in August. Sadly enough, the economy impacted by the financial crisis didn’t allow to organise such an event this year. However, an alternative event named Plazas Latinas (“Latin Squares”) was organised instead. It has been given a different name to distinguish it from the main, full-blown version. Plazas Latinas has happened in the weekend before (August 17-18), but I didn’t see a lot, so there’s not much to write about either.

This post is about the street arts festival called Spoffin. This year its second edition ran on 22-25 August. And I must admit, the quality of the shows was as high as ever. The programme consisted of two major sections: IN for experienced, professional artists and OFF for young and green yet talented.

Most performances were free for everyone. They’re given in the open air in the streets and squares of the old town. Here I’d like to share some interesting things I got to see.

Sid Bowfin

The Briton Sid Bowfin, who describes himself on his own website as “UK’s silliest violinist”, was, according to the polls, the public’s favourite.

What you see on stage (and sometimes out the stage) is only remotely related to music. Sid’s show begins with him standing in the crowd, innocently asking who’s performing.

Then he starts bugging the audience and occasional passers-by:

And, finally, he jumps onto the stage, but keeps doing the same thing: comments on everything he spots around, argues with the audience and so on.

When someone comes late, he could say: “You’re very late, but don’t worry. I’ll start over again,” and then join them:

The most of it is improvisation, and a hilarious one. Watch and enjoy:

He gave another show on the second day of the festival—he repeated a couple of items, save for his comments, of course.

Just around the start time a marching orchestra called Blaas of Glory was loudly playing The Final Countdown by Europe nearby. Sid couldn’t neglect this, of course. He even played along a little.

Here’s all the footage of the violinist:

  • Day one:
    • Part 1 — Eine kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart;
    • Part 2 — Spring Allegro from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi;
    • Part 3 — Summer Presto from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi Вивальди; “request section” and cancan.
  • Day two:
    • Part 4 — Appearance of Bowfin;
    • Part 5 — Eine kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart;
    • Part 6 — Pachelbel’s Canon and kissing in the audience; “request section”; Turkish Rondo by Mozart.


This acrobat duo’s name means “hand in hand” in Spanish.

The show by the Argentinian duo had the title Kinematos. Most of their tricks are done on a special pole mounted on one of the squares. Some of their stunts really amazed the audience.

When you look at them you can’t help the feeling it’s as easy as walking on the ground.

The pole is quite tall. Some five metres, I’d say.

The lady is extremely flexible. Okay, this is quite ordinary:

But could you do this?

Or this?

Kids were absolutely delighted with the show.

Many people were sitting right on the ground, as usual.

When doing a splits, the lady asked to help her up.

Once she picked a couple of random men from the audience, and climbed them at once:

Finally she said she wanted to change her skirt to pants, and asked the kids to cover their eyes:

So shy she was:

She had put on the pants on purpose. The last item, which I’ve recorded, included a lot of pole slides:

Deux Sans Trois

A bizarre Belgian troupe called Deux Sans Trois consists of three acrobats and a musician. Their show named Typo began with a pseudo-musical piece for a looper, a turntable (the one that interested Sid in the beginning of the first video) and a typewriter. Then a comical part followed: the girl in black tried to claim a seat on the bench, and the other three didn’t want to let her do that:

She tried many different ways, including treading on their heads:

She failed so she decided to sing instead:

This didn’t seem to work out either, so she was turned upside down and left like this:

And, finally, tied with a red rope:

After which she disentangled herself without using her hands:

The whole thing looked somewhat psychedelic. The acrobats showed some tricks:

And the violinist played some music, during which he was turned upside down. But that didn’t prevent him from playing:

Here’s a video of one of their items:

Collectif A Part Être

What proved to be a real psychedelia was Révélation by a French hip-hop troupe named Collectif A Part Être.

The five-head female troupe gave a lengthy performance consisting of floundering about on the ground, undressing, scaring the audience and other things of that sort.

As it turned out eventually, the piece stressed the problem of domestic violence at women. Not so easy to guess, huh.

Here’s a short video fragment of the show, about ten minutes long:

Other stuff

The sounds of horn you can hear in the beginning of the last video were announcing the arrival of a mobile bath:

Anyone could take a ride around the downtown Amersfoort while enjoying their bathing.

There was a tower built on one of the squares used for sending some mysterious messages with semaphore flags:

To sum up, I conclude that this edition of the festival was decidedly a success. I admire the people organised all this, many of them in their spare time. Just think of it.

See also

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Onze-Lieve-Vrouwetoren in Amersfoort
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Dias Latinos 2011
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That Awkward Moment
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Amersfoort Marathon 2017
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Riverside at De Boerderij
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The architecture of our time: Emoji building