The Darkness of Summer

Gothic CathedralOn a dark night when the moon hovers behind red-tinged clouds and the only sound is the a pair of footsteps ringing out behind you on the brick streets, it’s not hard to believe that the cathedral’s gargoyles may come to life to serve some dark figure that haunts Utrecht. The city is a Gothic paradise.

Not surprisingly then, it’s been the home of the annual Summer Darkness festival that swarms the city every July/August. Goths, Lolitas, Steampunks, and other inhabitants of the underworld arrive from across Europe to connect, find new fashions, and listen to lots of music.

If you’re out and about in Utrecht this weekend and it all seems a bit darker and yet more colorful than usual, that’s because the Summer Darkness festival is back this weekend.
Patat Met Goth [Day 224/365]
Strike a Pose

There will be events around the city, as well as the usual market and stages at the Domplein. If you have an interest in portrait photography, it’s not hard to find willing subjects and the Pandhof offers a great setting. Plus, there are numerous fashion shows in the Domplein, with a crowd that’s often as interesting as the models.

Summer Darkness 2012

I would have loved this festival back in my teens/early 20s, and to be honest, I still get a thrill from it all, even if I don’t recognize the names of most of the bands nowadays. That said, I do recognize a lot of the vinyl on sale in the market. Corrosion of Conformity, Christian Death, Tones on Tail, The Damned, TSOL, and so on.

Insanely hot weather be damned, I’m sure I’ll be back in the Domplein at some point this weekend with camera in hand and old memories in mind, and perhaps cash in pocket to buy some purple hair dye once again.

My Favorite

August Storms

Summer Darkness 2012
We’ve had some heavy storms this past week that have been more impressive than the usual rain we’ve had much of this summer. August 1 saw a particularly strong series of thunderstorms, which if you know your Utrecht history, will suggest a pattern.

You see, on 1 August 1674, the nave of the cathedral in Utrecht was destroyed in a storm. While the storm we had this week wasn’t that dangerous, it was an interesting link through time. In the photo above, the market stalls from this weekend’s Summer Darkness festival were set up where the nave once stood. The ruins of the cathedral actually remained there on the Domplein until the 1800s!

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) has an article (in Dutch) about the storm in 1674, as well as some interesting illustrations of how it all looked at the time.

(Yes, yes, I should have posted this on Wednesday, but I didn’t get a chance to after posting my other Summer Darkness photos, and more people were searching for those. If the remains of the cathedral could lie there for a couple hundred years, I think I can get away with posting a couple days late.)

Summer Darkness 2012

Usually I don’t bother with words on Wednesday, and I don’t honestly have many for today. Just a few to explain that these are a few of the photos I took Sunday at the Summer Darkness events taking place at the Domplein. There was a market set up — where I found some great boots — as well as fashion shows taking place throughout the day. I was there relatively early, so I didn’t get the same selection of photos as in the past. Plus, the Pandhof was closed, which is usually a great spot for photos.

After my photos, check out the video at the end of the post. It’s a short piece showing the Domtoren carillon player performing Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence”, one of three pieces specially performed to celebrate Summer Darkness’ 10th anniversary.

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

Summer Darkness 2012

The Return of Summer Darkness

Utrecht's Unusual Festival
It’s time for one of my favourite festivals in Utrecht. Summer Darkness is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Ten years of Goths, Lolitas, and other alternative types invading Utrecht for a festival of art, music, fashion, markets and more. Oddly enough, it does seem to coincide with the rare week of warm weather. I’m not always sure that’s a good thing, considering some of the corsets, rubber and other warm outfits many of the attendees are usually wearing.

In between the Olympic events, I’ll probably head over to the Domplein this weekend to check out some of the fashion shows and the general crowd that is always on hand, ready for a few photo ops. It’s a great mix of old and young, Goth and non-Goth. There’s a link and more info about the festival in the Calendar of Events section.

In other random news, I attended an Expat Desk focus group last night and enjoyed getting the chance to discuss the things that would be helpful for new and established expats. Best of all, I also got to meet Jane from Jane in Utrecht. What a great surprise! She’s just as wonderful and interesting to talk with as her blog, which I always enjoy.

In integration news, I rode my bike over to the meeting last night (not something I do often) and I did it while wearing heels. I still get wobbly when other cars, bikes and scooters pass too close, i.e., on the same street, but I’m getting much better!

ETA: I just found out that the Domtoren will be playing a few special songs for the opening of Summer Darkness today. From the Summer Darkness Facebook page:

The official opening of Summer Darkness with the unique entertainment of Malgosia Fiebig, Carilloneur Extraordinaire of the Dom Church will play 3 dark birthdaysong.. which ones?
Qntal – Palastinalied
Within Temptation – Ice Queen
And Last but most certainly not least:
Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence
We hope you will all enjoy this unique musical moment.

Summer Darkness, And I Don’t Mean the Weather

It’s that time of year again. Time for Summer Darkness, the dark alternative festival that comes to Utrecht every year. Considering Goth is a part of the festival, and Utrecht has its very own half-standing Gothic cathedral, it’s a match made in heaven. Or Hades. Depending on your perspective. All I know is that the little Goth girl in me of my teen years would have LOVED this festival. As it is, I’ve been tempted to go see Nitzer Ebb or Killing Joke when they perform this week as part of the festival.
Fashion Show

Fashion Show
As I’ve done the past couple of years, I will definitely head over to the Domplein to check out the fashion shows and outdoor market they set up for the weekend. It’s always fun for people watching, especially some of the visual contrasts that pop up.
Family Affair

Pretty Colours

All Types
As I said, the cathedral in Utrecht, which is located at the Domplein, is one of the best examples of French Gothic architecture in the Netherlands, so it’s an ideal setting for many of the festival attendees, as well as for all the photographers who swarm the Domplein to get some interesting photos of the visitors. It’s quite common to see photographers approaching some of the more interestingly dressed people to then head to the cloistered gardens for a Gothy photoshoot. It’s not just photographers, either. Lots of interviews take place there, as well.
Goth on Goth


Model & Photographer

Photo Op

I don’t really the look the part anymore, and my Bauhaus t-shirt is a bit too snug now, but maybe I’ll buy one of the purple wigs they have each year in the market. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had purple hair.

Everyone Loves Frites

Patat Met Goth
It’s that time of year when all the Goth kids converge on Utrecht for the Summer Darkness festival. I love this festival, because it means that the streets of Utrecht get that little bit more interesting as you see some fantastically dressed people out and about. It also takes me back to my younger days when I had a certain fondness for all things goth, myself. I still have my favorite Bauhaus T-shirt and various albums by The Damned and Misfits and Christian Death.

Today, G and I headed over to the Domplein to see one of the fashion shows and to check out all the other people checking out the market. There were some good looks, but no one stood out to me as much as a couple of the people from last year. I might go back again tomorrow to take some more photos. I’ll certainly post more of the photos I took today.

I had to post this one, though. We rounded the corner from Servietstraat onto the Oudegracht and when I saw this couple, sitting there eating their patat met and seated next to the colorful big ice cream cone, I couldn’t resist. I did ask first if I could take their photo and they graciously agreed. I enjoyed getting shots of normal looking people contrasted with the Goths, or pictures of Goths doing normal things, but this was the piece de resistance. Love it!

As G said, “Even Goths like frites“.

Summer Darkness

Last week we headed over to the Domplein to catch some of the Summer Darkness festival, an annual event in which the underground comes above ground for four days. There were various events going on all around town, but we hit up the market and fashion shows taking place at the Domplein on Sunday. It was a great chance to take photos and people-watch. It turns out that a number of other regular posters to the Utrecht Flickr group had the same idea. I even got to match  a couple of faces to user names when I saw the resulting photos the next day.

As I said, it’s an annual event. We noticed the Goth invasion last year and figured it must be some sort of special event, but didn’t know any details. If nothing else, writing for Trippist gives me a bit more insight into some of the things I see around town!

fashion show
Back in Black

Lucky Shot

Press or Performer?

Worlds Collide