Music & concerts


The Summer Darkness festival in Utrecht city centre used to be the backdrop for a gathering of countless magnificently clad gothic and darkwave followers from every corner of the globe. Now, eleven years after the last edition, it’s making a come-back with Momentum.

‘Danceable melancholia in every imaginable shade of black, from poetic glam-goth to industrial EBM, and from contemporary postpunk to eighties new wave.’ According to the site of De Helling, Momentum will be an evening to ‘dance in the dark until everything turns black’. Kees de Brouwer is organising the festival with Marco van Belle and De Helling. He previously helped to organise the predecessor of this mini-festival: the infamous Summer Darkness, which drew thousands of goths to Utrecht between 2003 and 2013.

‘So now we’ll literally be riding the momentum with three live acts and three of the genre’s top DJs,’ says Kees on the phone. Apparently he’s also a volunteer firefighter; he was called out while we were talking and we had to reschedule the interview.

So the momentum shifted to fighting fires?

‘Yes. If my pager goes, I’m off. It’s the same during this interview. There was a fire in a bedroom in a nearby village (Kees lives near Doetinchem, ed.) Luckily we had it under control fairly quickly.’

Okay, let’s get on with it then. Why did you decide to revive Summer Darkness after eleven years?

‘I stayed with dark underground after the last edition of Summer Darkness and I organised loads of dance evenings. The festival stopped because there weren’t enough new bands in that genre, but people kept asking me if Summer Darkness would ever return. Dark wave, electro wave and postpunk have been having a revival recently. Lots of bands are going back to the sounds of bands from the 1980s, like The Cure, Depeche Mode and The Smiths. Momentum picks up nicely where Summer Darkness left off.’

If De Helling is the only venue, Momentum is quite a bit smaller. Should we see this as a cautious restart?

‘Summer Darkness was about the total experience. It was an urban festival, with a huge market, a fashion show at the Dom and acts in various Utrecht churches. The festival attracted crowds from all around the world. We want to start small and build it up, and De Helling is a perfect place to begin. We don’t know how big Momentum will eventually become. It partly depends on how the music develops and how popular dark underground is.’

Will we see just as many people decked out in black?

‘Black has always been the colour of the goth wave ‘uniform’. It was more of a lifestyle choice during Summer Darkness, but that’s changed. The real fans just come for the music now. Of course some of them will be in black, but probably not as many as in the past. But what I’m really hoping for is lots of curious visitors looking for the thrill of new acts.’

Performing on Momentum are among others  NNHMN, Dead Lights, DJ X-X-X en Camy Huot.

22 June, De Helling,


De Helling

De Helling is a music venue and nightclub with a strong focus on heavy, bass music, hiphop and boundary-crossing music.

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