The art of bad art festivals  

The art of bad art festivals  

By now it is safe to say that we all know the Gogbot festival. All CreaTe students got to know the festival in the first and fourth module. GogBot may be one of the most well known art festivals in Enschede, but it is not the only one. How about the Maker Festival Twente, Balenfestival or Grenswerk? I haven’t heard about half of these festivals. Is it me or are there other factors?

The first thing I find when searching ‘art festival Enschede’ is a site and I was really happy with this site, showing art lovers where and what festival they could visit in Enschede. So I found the name ‘Balenfestival’. After I had looked for more information, I was glad that the first thing which popped up, was about Balenfestival. So that is good, I guess… But it would have been nice if the first item I saw wasn’t information from 2008. Apparently Balenfestival is no more.

‘Grenswerk’ was also listed as an art festival and guess what. That one stopped in 2012 after not being able to attract a sufficient amount of people. What is going on with Enschede and art festivals?


Let’s move on to one of the only festivals still alive: Gogbot. In our first year, we are forced to get to know this festival by writing a blog about it. First of all, I didn’t know anything about this festival. I lived for most of my live in a small town not that far away from Enschede. When shopping I always visited Enschede and even for me it was a surprise it existed. If I had known about the festival, I would have visited it earlier to see what it’s all about.

I started doing some research on GogBot, after all, we are the google and Facebook stalk generation. I knew it was in Enschede, but I didn’t know where. I only knew the theme of the festival and the date. With tips from my fellow students, I came to the ‘Oude Markt’. To be fair the exhibition on the ‘Oude Markt’ was inspiring and impressive, but I was promised there would be more. After not finding the exhibition where it should be and getting lost in a stream of lost visitors, I finally found ‘The Melkhal’. It was an abandoned building which had the perfect ambiance for an art festival. I liked wandering around and exploring the building, but I was annoyed how empty the place was. In my opinion, the empty space could be used more efficiently; the area could be filled up with more installations to make it easier to browse around and in order to improve the overall ambience. Besides, I found it really funny to look at some of the installations (which didn’t even work).

Overall GogBot was not well organized, or rather said, a total mess. It would definitely help if they had a more structured way of showing the visitors where to be. Think about hanging some signs or making a clear map. Even mentioning it on the website would be nice. They should think about limiting the exhibitions to a minimal amount of locations, so it would be more crowded and it will look more inviting. This will also save some costs for the festival itself, since they have to rent less locations.  It could also help to advertise more and make their site clearer and complete. Visitors don’t only want to know when it is but also where.

Maker Festival Twente

Maker Festival Twente is another big festival in Enschede. The maker festival has a working wordpress website and looks much more structured than Gogbot, but it still has some of the same problems. Maker festival is spread over several buildings and some part will easily be overlooked. However the maker festival does have opportunities to build things yourself, so this actually makes the visitor interact with the art and technology.

Overall the Marker Festival is still working rather well and the concept of combining Art and Technology seems to be a success here. Interaction is present and most of the reviews are optimistic. I only wonder if it will soon follow the same path as GogBot or the other extinct art festivals.

I hope Enschede will finally get an art festival which is actually worthwhile, because as an art and technology lover I would not think of Enschede as a city with awesome art festivals. Maybe it will be one of the still existing ones, or maybe the current festivals follow ‘Balenfestival’ and ‘Grensfestival’ into their grave. Let’s hope the organization will get better, especially for ‘Gogbot’. I get that art can sometimes be chaotic but don’t let the festival be the same.  

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *