The growth of the Holland International Blues Festival in Grolloo does not lead to protests. The municipality of Aa en Hunze has received one opinion on the future plan of festival organizer Mojo. However, that is not an objection, rather ‘a point of attention’, namely a gas pipeline under the parking lot.
Mojo wants to expand the blues festival in Grolloo from 14,000 visitors per day to 25,000. The festival must remain viable, says Frans Hofsteenge of the café of the same name in Grolloo. “Because without the two financiers, who as a great blues lover, financed this festival for years, the current maximum number of visitors is too few. That cannot be possible. So there were two options, grow or stop,” says Hofsteenge, who is also closely involved in the organization.
Mojo therefore launched a future plan last fall, asking the municipality to expand the event to 25,000 blues lovers every day. Now the permit allows a maximum of 14,000 visitors. She also wants permission for a three-day festival for several years, which is currently two days.
Furthermore, Mojo requires more space as a festival site. And she wants to be able to switch to Sunday, and then cancel Thursday. Now the event permit does not allow music on Sundays. “Sometimes a Sunday performance fits better into an artist’s tour schedule than a Thursday. That’s why we want to have some flexibility,” says Hofsteenge. “But it will never be longer than three days.”
The municipality is happy with the annual blues festival as a crowd puller. The zoning plan for the festival site has therefore been adjusted to accommodate the growth of the event. Objectors were able to respond over the past six weeks, but no one protested. And that doesn’t surprise café owner Hofsteenge.
“We had an extensive information evening for villagers. Everything was well explained there. Some appeared to be a bit shocked by the first reports. They were afraid that we were going to expand the festival significantly in one fell swoop. But that is not the case. As soon as “We have official permission from the municipality, it is really not the intention to grow bigger immediately. But if we want to keep this festival in the future, we have to think about expansion and change,” says Hofsteenge.
The only response submitted to Aa and Hunze appears to have come from Gasunie. For safety reasons, the municipality points out a main natural gas transport pipeline that is in the ground near Grolloo, exactly under the parking lot for all festival visitors. “The Gasunie advises that the organization contact the route manager as soon as they do something on the site, such as driving pins into the ground,” says a municipal spokesperson.
Now that there are no objections, the municipality expects to give the final green light for the expansion plan for the event in Grolloo in April. This year the Holland International Blues Festival is on Thursday 13, Friday 14 and Saturday 15 June. It is the seventh edition.