On June 4th 2014, hardly two months after the successful third edition of Northcote, organizer Patrick Batenburg decided to throw in the towel. After organizing shows for ten years, he had seen and experienced enough and decided it was time to move on. On May 30th this year, he celebrated “The Last One” with befriended bands Risk It!, Light It Up, Hawser, To The Test and Cold Mind in his hometown venue Bibelot. However, Northcote will continue on as The Netherlands’ #1 yearly hardcore fest. Patrick had some ambitious plans, so we got together with him and Louisa Steenbakker from Bibelot to get an exclusive insight in their future plans.
So Patrick, let’s get rid of the elephant in the room: After ten years of booking shows you decided to give up on Northcote and Harbor Bookings and pursue other ambitions. Can you share why you made this choice? The second edition of Northcote in March 2014 seemed a huge success…
PT: “Yeah, unfortunately my priorities have shifted and that brings along some tough choices. One of those was quitting Northcote and booking shows. I’ve booked shows for 10 years with great pleasure but right now I’ve too little time and money to keep it running. The amount of kids coming to shows declined which resulted in some hefty losses. However, Northcote was a big success and it certainly shouldn’t stop because of me. Many years of hard work have been put into Northcote and it would be a shame if that goes to waste. Therefore I’ve searched for another party that would like to continue the fest and Bibelot seemed to be the right partner.”
How did you envision Northcote when you started out? Obviously it started out small in a 200 capacity venue, but I know you had some pretty great ambitions. What should the 5 year anniversary in 2016 have looked like if you were still in charge?
PB: “Northcote’s strength is in its genre. No shitty bands on stage, just hardcore (related) bands with the right set of mind. We’ve always greatly appreciated the collaboration with organizations such as Merchpit.com, The Hardcore Help Foundation and several other parties that helped putting together a fun and diverse festival. Northcote is a festival that has the potential to grow and I envisioned it to go outdoors in 2016.“
Bibelot is gonna take care of your baby from now on. Do you trust them to pull off a great line-up like you’ve put together these past three years?
PB: “Bibelot has a crew with a lot of experience and has been around for decades. They know the drill so I’m confident that it’s within their ability to get Northcote to the next level. Bibelot’s strength is their tight-knit team that can basically achieve anything.”
Separating yourself from Northcote must have been a hard choice. Have you completely let go of Northcote or are you still involved one way or another?
PB: “Not quite, I’ll stick around a little longer to give Bibelot and its team advice when needed. The biggest task, organizing the fest, is exactly what I’ve handed over to them. But secretly it’s still fun to be around and I couldn’t completely let it go, haha!”
Louisa, what was your first reaction when Patrick dropped the bomb and told you he wasn’t gonna organize Northcote any longer?
LS: “At first we were surprised since last years edition was such a success. Then we started to worry a bit, quitting Northcote was not really an option for us. The fest has given lots of bands a stage and brought the hardcore community in The Netherlands closer together. So when Patrick told us that he was okay with us taking over we were really relieved and excited.”
Patrick had some ambitious plans for Northcote. To what lengths will you carry out his legacy and how was he involved with crafting these plans?
LS: “We would love to see the festival grow. However, we’re also keeping the original concept and vision in mind and want to stay true to that. Northcote has a lot of potential so it’s a matter of finding the perfect balance. Patrick gave us the freedom to organize this years edition the way we thought was best. He’s still always available for us to consult so we really appreciate that.”
Northcote was “for the kids, by the kids”. Bibelot is an organization like any other subsidized venue in The Netherlands. How does the motto stay in tact?
LS: “Right after Patrick announced his so called ‘retirement’ we got messages from enthusiastic kids offering their support to Northcote. So we put together a tight-knit group of kids who know what’s up at the very beginning and they have a say in all the decisions that have to be made. I try to contribute to the hardcore community as much as I can, since I’m a big fan of hardcore/punk. Our promoter Ifor has been organizing hardcore and punk shows for years now. And Bibelot as a venue is a proud supporter of sub(cultures) and gladly offers them a stage. So Northcote still has a face, it actually has many faces.”
So the big question is what can we expect from Northcote this fall? Shoot!
LS: “Just like last year we’ll have two stages, so no changeovers! There will also be a festival market with some nice distro’s and lots of lovely (vegan) food. New this year will be the use of a new stage: Machine 3. This stage has some old industrial elements (the venue used to be an energy factory) and fits the fest perfectly. And most importantly; an awesome and diverse line-up! Keep a close eye on our Facebook-page tomorrow at 1pm!”
Picture taken by Geert Braekers at Northcote 2014. Check the full photo report here.