by Fraser Hibbitt for the Carl Kruse Arts Blog
Close to the border of Netherlands, the small German town of Goch lies, hugged by the Rhine that cuts through North Rhine-Westphalia. Since 2018, the grounds of Graefenthal Abbey in Goch have hosted the Monastery festival, made possible by the support of The Gardens of Babylon family. The family have welcomed strangers from all over the world to enter their dreamscape-like festivals for a reason that remains ancient and integral to human experience.
The seeking of ambition and the doldrums of worries come to a close in the gardens of Babylon. It is not a ‘break’ from everyday existence, but more of a consolidation, a reminder of the limits of experience. The beginning of this ritual is marked by the collective call for inwardness, a meditation that sets the intention, sets a new rhythm to time. It is now the richness of the individual that enters the space, finding a like-minded background in the ancient abbey grounds.
The music begins. Musicians have been invited from across the globe to interpret the space. For four days, when summer is in full force of life, the sounds echo. Scattered throughout the festival space are zones dedicated to forms of creation; meditative practices, markets of curiosities, and places for nothing but to enjoy and remember the pleasures of idleness. The festival wants to remind its goers about curiosity, and the ability of this curiosity to enable connection with others, to their surroundings, and with themselves.
The musicians attract the crowd; there is no doubt. The real meaning of the place will slowly permeate them throughout their stay. Each musician is invited personally by the family, who work to concert a disparate but conducive soundscape for the viewer to tune in and out of throughout the day. The main acts, however, are the non-stop line-up of DJs which carry the festival from open to close.
This year, Miami based Ella Romand will be headlining the Monastery festival, bringing her mixture of deep house blended with the influence of her roots in Brazilian music. A trained classical pianist who made the shift to electronic music with its focus on moving melody lines and tensions of release. Her unique sound has made her resident DJ in several clubs around south Florida. A seasoned performer, as well as traveler, having spun across the Americas.
It is acts like these which number amongst the DJs brought forth by the Gardens of Babylon family. They seek to uplift and bring together by sound, sounds perhaps foreign, but none the less masterful. It is with novelty that the monastery festival addresses the ear, lays quiet the outside world, and releases the inward eye.
This year’s Monastery Festival takes place between 28 July 2022 – 1 August 2022 at Kloster Graefenthal in the town of Goch, directly on the border of the Netherlands and Germany.
The Carl Kruse Arts Blog Homepage is at https://carlkruse.net
Contact: carl AT carlkruse DOT com
Other posts by Fraser Hibbitt include a memorial to Vangelis, short reflections on Kraftwerk, and Segovia and the guitar.
Carl Kruse can also be found on Medium