When: 19-21October 2023
Where: Rotterdam, Netherlands
As soon as Left of the Dial‘s 2022 edition of the festival ended I immediately bought a ticket for this year. Rotterdam’s multi-venue three day celebration of music is an utter joy, held in the most beautiful venues across the city centre. It’s quirky, imaginative, has an ethos of sustainability and a duty of care to both artists and gig-goers. Add to that its value for money and location in the heart of Rotterdam, and it’s easy to see why it sold out this year.
Yes it was busier and yes there were more venues in use but loaded with the festival app and daily updates on what’s happening, it’s easy enough to make quick changes to any well laid plans and head to a different venue if need be. Even the rain and wind for the duration of the three days could not dampen the spirits. The festival began with launch of its magazine in the stunning surrounding of the church Arminius, and a round of Music Bingo, where of course there were numerous winners. The Opening Parade passed through Leuvenhaven to hand out goodies before the first band, Pink Eye Club, played on board the Left of the Dial ship. And the gates were flung open and the live music fun and games could begin.
Day 1: In Camera
The second day began on a boat that headed around the harbour for an hour in the pouring rain. It was difficult to remain steady on the feet so for Tummyache and Hot Face to play a 30 minute set was impressive.
Another initiative that the festival has in place is Dine Like a Star where you can eat your dinner exactly like the artists: backstage, fast and hassle-free. It’s vegan food on the menu and means you don’t waste too much food looking for dinner. This year there was also a line-dancing class, karaoke and even a free day festival for those in the city without a ticket.
Day 2: In Camera
On the final day I made it to the venue V2, who had images projected around the inside as Belgian Divided were playing, as well as Vessel 11 – a static boat where I saw Brighton’s snake eyes and Birmingham’s Big Special.
Day 3: In Camera
There was a stellar line-up of artists each of whom have an opportunity to play more than once, the festival believing that they have travelled so should have the platform. And thus to perhaps the most important element to this festival – how the artists and ticket-holders are cared for. Talking to numerous participants they all said the same thing, just how well the whole experience had been for them. Venue staff and technicians were helpful, friendly and evidently set out with the intention to ensure all had a good time. And I can confirm they went above and beyond to achieve this.
And do I have my early bird ticket for 2024? Silly question really.