Festival in Ghent
Well, last monday was the last day of the festival in Ghent again. I've been 3 times over the 10 days and it was fun. I saw street theater during day time, street animation, concerts, had some initiation of folk dances, ....
I always seem to have a routine to my yearly recurring visits. I don't do it on purpose at all, but looking back I always follow the same pattern. Even when I go everytime with different friends. The first night I don't have a routine or agenda in my head. I just wonder around with friends, listen to the music at the different squares, look for good food (I never go to the festival with a full stomac!! to much good stuff to try !), ....
The next times I try to go more to specific acts or concerts. This was a good thing because it was very crowded downtown on some nights (and I picked the most busy nights). This year almost 2 milion people came to Ghent during those 10 days!! They broke all records and very often squares had to be closed off by the police when the crowd before a stage risked to become too big. This is very annoying when you want to go somewhere although I was never confronted with the problem. I never showed up at the beginning of a new act and apparently the gates were
opened very soon afterwards again after some people had started leaving the street again. The fact of streets and squares being closed raised a whole discussion in the press. It is against the spirit of the festival in Ghent were you can just wonder downtown from the fair to a dance to a street theatre to different concerts everywhere. On the other hand... if you are on the street that has been closed off, it's much more confortable for those who are already on there.
At one point the police and the city council decided that the city couldn't absorb any bigger crowd so they closed off for the first time in history the highway exits and put a sign along the highway "Ghent full". I wish I could have seen that!! It sounds so unbelievable. It'll be a challenge for the coming years to keep the festival attractive , secure and managable. Some people fear it has become a victim of its own success.
As a kid however I already remember wringling myself through crowds. At that point I still thought it was fun to make yourself a way through the mass of people as soon as you could with a friend. It must be a sign of getting older, but now I more easily take a detour in order to get somewhere faster and easier :).
Anyway, the party is over now. I am back at work and I feel exceptionally tired already all week. Can't be last weeks festival as I always went on evenings when I could sleep in the next day and just spend some lazy time. I don't get it.
But right now it's already past bedtime and naturally I do feel awake now!!! Go figure. You'd better not ask me tomorrow if I am feeling tired!
Good night. Slaap wel!