Motel Mozaïque: playing with music

Motel Mozaïque: playing with music

Spring is on its way. The sun shows itself a little more often. The birds are singing a note higher. That means only one thing: festival Motel Mozaïque is coming up again. For three days, the city centre turns into a playground for discovering special acts.

Motel Mozaïque, or MOMO Festival, is the kick-off of the festival season. During the festival, we celebrate the city's diversity with its many stimulating venues, stories and artists. Venues like Theater Rotterdam, Perron, Rotown and Arminius are always on hand.

'There is nothing more delightful than walking hand-in-hand through the city in the sunshine during MOMO,' says avid MOMO visitor Gert Jan Zwep. 'Going in here, going in there, getting surprised by nice bands. And then end up at a spontaneous party.'

If you want to get back into the swing of things after winter, MOMO is the place to be. Gert-Jan: 'There is an incredibly sweet atmosphere, the bands are varied, the venues are top-notch and it is usually one of the first weekends with good weather. All the ingredients are there to have a good time.'

More than music

MOMO began when Rotterdam was the European Capital of Culture, in 2001. It was one of the first festivals to combine different art forms. There was music, visual art and performances. Still today, MOMO encourages multidisciplinary acts and gives artists plenty of room to experiment.

This way, an artist in residence gets three days of free play. Last year, this was Black Country, New Road. The band organised a jam session with Rotterdam artists. That tickled programmer Enoma Amayo. 'Something like that is super exciting, because of course it can also turn out to be nothing. But giving room for things to fail is a real MOMO stamp. This is the only way to create very special experiences.'

Under My Umbrella during MOMO Festival 2023 by Rosa Quist

Fell in love during Mumford and Sons

Special things also happen off stage. Gert-Jan first visited MOMO in 2010. There he met Eveline, who is now his wife. 'A band was performing in the main hall of the Schouwburg. It was incredibly crowded. The singer of the band said he had never performed in front of so many people. In order not to lose each other, we held hands. I instantly fell in love. Huge spring jitters! And the band, it turned out to be Mumford and Sons, which later became wildly popular.'

So MOMO brings many cool national and international acts to Rotterdam. In addition, the festival aims to make a genuine connection with the city. 'We look beyond what is hip and trendy and give space to collectives that mean something to the city,' says Bethany Amber Andrzejak. She is programmer of Playground, a part of the festival that can be visited for free on Schouwburgplein.

Free Playground

'With MOMO Playground, we want to lower the threshold of the Rotterdam art world. Not everyone can afford a ticket. And some people think theatre or visual arts are not for them. How nice is it when someone who unsuspectingly walks out of Pathé comes into contact with a cool act he would never have seen otherwise?'

Components of MOMO Playground include many upcoming artists, in-depth talks and workshops and guided tours. In those tours, Rotterdammers show something of their city. Enoma: 'Last year there was a wild picking tour; a route through Rotterdam's concrete jungle to look for edible plants. That way you get to know the city in a whole new way.'

Spirituality and religion

The need for genuine connection with the city is also reflected in this year's theme. That is spirituality and religion. Bethany: 'People are looking for meaning and seeking new ways to find that connection and meaning. Our programming reflects this in different ways. For instance, Tibetan Lama Jigmé will come and give a meditation session and a peace prayer.'

MOMO Festival's main programme also has plenty of acts to look forward to. Besides Tom Skinner, announced artists include Wende, Lander and Adriaan and Clarissa Connelly. Programmer Enoma: 'I myself am very excited about Holly Macve. The previous single she recorded was with Lana del Rey. So expectations are high!'

Win 2x2 passe-partouts for Motel Mozaïque

Uitagenda Rotterdam may raffle off passe-partouts. To do so, go to Instagram and like @motelmozaique and @uitagendardam and indicate under post who you want to go to MOMO with and tag your MOMO buddy before 1 April. We are giving away 2x2 passe-partouts.

Atmosphere image of MOMO in 2022 by Niek Hage

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