Also dubbed the ‘stinky sock’ party, Stukafest is an event organized throughout the Netherlands, including Rotterdam on the 20th of February. Students host artists in their apartments allowing audiences to go from flat to flat enjoying the different performances. 

Instead of the regular club, bar or festival the Stukafest offers a uniquely intimate way to listen to performers. Most of them are musicians but others dance, read poetry or give a theatre performance. It’s organized in most  student cities in the Netherlands and on the 20th of February, it came around to Rotterdam. Audiences are generally small, but because of apartment sizes it maintains a uniquely intimate atmosphere.

Rushing between student rooms

The event consisted of three rounds with audiences rushing from one student apartment to another for each performer. Luckily, Stukafest frees people to pick whomever they would like to see, although it’s a shame when a dozen other performances are missed. Nevertheless, people seemed very satisfied with their choices and atmosphere also played a huge role in this.

Wolf in Loveland

A deeper connection to audiences

The small spaces also improve the performances in terms of acoustics. Indie folk band, Wolf in Loveland for instance had a very acoustic sound suited perfectly for the cozy apartment. The lead songwriter and vocalist, Jan Minnaard (21) explained: “It is great to see the immediate response  from audiences in such an intimate setting especially compared to larger venues.”

Poliana Vieira, a singer-songwriter whose genre combines world music, pop, soul and funk and powerful vocals, also used the situation to connect with the audience. She asked for song requests and held small conversations with those listening. In the final round, we visited hip-hop dancers Willy and Gil Gomes, who ended up having the entire audience try out a dance. After this, they broke into mind-blowingly fantastic breakdancing with suspended torsos and fluid transitions.

Audience enjoying Poliana Vieira

Supporting the arts

To keep things interesting, Stukafest has different organizers every year who pool in a fresh list of artists for their program. That way, those who annually participate never know what to expect. Mellany Linscheer (22), is a huge fan of Stukafest. Although she organized and hosted the event last year, she was only a spectator at this edition. Studying music management, she found Stukafest an ideal opportunity to support artists in her area and around the Netherlands. “Hosting and organizing was crazy, mainly because the office was in my apartment as well. By 7PM I just had to kick out everybody and let the rounds begin.” This year she is happy to sit back and enjoy the performances. Julia Cats (a 21 year old Medicine student) the performance by Poliana Vieira and also found this a great way to support the arts. She said:  “I actually tried to enter since I’m in a band myself but was late with admission. Still, this is a great way to be involved as well.” Ultimately audiences, hosts and performers had a fantastic time exploring artists they hadn’t heard of before and an even better time at the after-party. It is definitely something to try out next year if you get the chance. NAH


Willy showing his moves