It doesn’t rain on the Whitsun weekend anymore? Or does it?!

Strange, it’s just not really sure anymore, that it will rain on Whitsun. Now and then the subtle steady rain of the lower Rhine area occurs – but that is no comparison to the good old times, when we sat in the dirt, soaking wet and young, with relatively bad sound and no roof above our heads, ready to be flashed by everything that was happening on that small big stage in Moers.

This newsletter, dear mœrs festival citoyens, seems to appear from assuming out of nowhere after a long silence; it comes quietly into the noisy pre-Christmas period. Finally, it’s supposed to subtly lure you from behind to buy the Early Bird Festivaltickets (psst – it’s true, there is no better Christmas present!). However, I would like to blab some news about our team, furthermore proudly remark, that the Federal Government recently granted us means of conveyance for the next five years (!) and additionally sputter some thoughts my team and I have been wondering about in the meantime. First, the latter:

We lined up in 2017 and started to try a few things, make some changes and to think differently – so in 2019 we will still be somewhere in the middle of some kind of improvised passage – maybe somewhere between 2017 and 2021, the fiftieth birthday of moers. Until then we will make up roughly ten percent of this then fifty-year-old improvised concert, which started out 1972 at the castle courtyard in Moers. Many from us are older now, have children or grandchildren; some of the younger folks possibly just know the great new concert hall and finest sound technology – no more dirt, tent and rumbling. Every generation expects from moers this and that, but also that many things may please roughly stay as they are used to them…

This summer, when my rain barrels were empty, I watered my vegetable garden by hand – because I can. We look at artists in the remotest areas of the world, fly in the oddest birds around the globe every year – of course with the utmost CO2-conscience, politically correct and ecofriendly – even when it comes to the beat around the bush. Everything as green as possible, upcycled and with the avoidance of unpleasant concessions. Even all that, because we can.

It’s absolutely okay, folks! The world will not come to an end if each and everyone of us places a quick order online or for once buys that pre-packed plastic waste after work. I actually grow my vegetables in my garden at home; it just sucked with the drought this summer. I don’t buy at one of those giant supermarket chains or go on cruise ships, I don’t drive one of those Sport Utility Vehicles and I don’t go on redundant long-distance journeys or anything like that. And of course, I feel absolutely free from ordinary everyday racism or prejudices. I don’t know anybody who is tired of politics, curtained of or who is rudimentally tending to the right wing. Si, claro. No, at most there are a few people in the distant, far-out circle of friends and family that do that. I am sure none of them belongs to the almost 20%, that we refuse to believe in. And if they could see what my eyes see, the eyes of the privileged globetrotter, if they could see what it looks like in Southeast Asia or Africa, in India, North Korea, in South Eastern Europe, on the German autobahn or at the neighbor’s next door… they would immediately live differently, particularly us – those with children and grandchildren.                              
If we just knew that the purchase of clothes and all that stuff that we somehow need, produced losers and the worst kind of hoodoo at the other side of the world – I am sure we would change a lot of things promptly. Of course. Because we can.

At the beginning of this year, Peter Brötzmann told me about the naïve conviction the post-68-generation had and that they simply no longer wanted the world the way it was, back then in 1972. At the castle courtyard in Moers an enthusiastic elite met up, who not only wanted to distance themselves from the norm and the current conditions through their music. This movement really wanted to change the things that everybody had seen – because they were so obvious.

Today, 48 years after the founding of the festival, we also see an unbelievable variety of things that don’t run smoothly, that make us feel ashamed, that we don’t want to look at or that we to some extend run along with, that stay quiet. Because we can?

What is at stake today, 2018, 19, 20… in moers? Is it about consuming or dissecting good and new musical movements like in an exhibition? I would like to know, that the word elite is connoted positively again.
moers 2019 coincides with a time full of digital technology, which makes us believe that we are just about to make everything in our lives predictable. Even though we know that a good part of our being consists of unpredictability, this alleged foreseeability seems to reassure us in a world that increasingly consists of irritations that we can no longer oversee.
moers sets out the big question mark in 2019 and claims the different – through music and attitude towards life. Please let us not get deprived of the fantasy, that everything is possible!

The mœrs festival is unique and solitary in the Festivorld. That it has its own right of being for the future, is also shown by the Federal Government, which supports the festival with an overall of 1.4 million Euro of public funds for the next five years. That’s a strong statement and a motivation for us to consequently continue our work contentwise. We would like to thank the members of the German parliament of all parties, who stood up for the mœrs festival in a crucial moment, particularly the member of Bundestag Kerstin Radomski as well as Siggi  Ehrmann in the background – it is impossible to appreciate the commitment of all participants with the due regard. Berlin has recognized that this strange idea of Moers is solitary and can no longer be compromised, that its  cultural and social value is relevant today and in the future. This way and next to the grantors like Moers City and Land NRW a key part of the funding is secured for several years. Take a deep breath --- finally and for once we can make long-term plans!

This great novel from the capital city, however, does not release us from selling as many tickets as possible… So, let’s go! Black Friday, grab your bonus card, loyalty rewards, vouchers and discounts and make sure you get all benefits… Anyone who wants to can buy the Early Bird Ticket for 2019 as of now – for the same price as in 2018. Also: Everyone who is able to afford that, could buy the ViP-Festivalticket for an amount twice as high, to support the festival this way. Or just invite, convince or capture your friends, foes, family, female football fellows, fans of folk music, fellow workers, frequent flyers or fearful freejazz-defiers to sponsor this festival that takes part in every alleyway of Moers through ticket purchase. This way they can experience all symphonic colors from up close. For those who are unable to do that there will certainly be enough possibilities to participate in “the moers experience” for free.

The year of the bat is almost coming to an end and we say thank you once again to Kunststiftung NRW, which also allows for a new improviser in residence for Moers in 2019 – this time it’s a speedy mouse that hides in tubes! Totally crazy.

Apart from that we will hear about the bold, the surprising and the unconventional from the Moers laboratory, we will put our focus on various scenes and geographical central points, discuss, suffer a snub, be brave, build up new shacks, improvise, experiment, differ in questions and part ways and fail. We will affirm Moers’              “Yet, again!” yet again. moers is no show, moers will never be completed (if things run well) and for sure it won’t be grown-up when its fifty.

Finally, I am very happy to introduce three new members of the festival team: Our press and media department has two new faces. With Christina von Richthofen and Nicola Oberlinger we have two grown-up pros from the PR section on board of our ark for radical thinking outside the box. Their many years of experience in different fields of music and their genre breaking networking skills offside the Jazz standard are a perfect match for moers.

With ethnologist and art historian Kerstin Eckstein I visited the border region of Pakistan – India this spring,       looking for traces of the culture of the ethnic minority called Siddi. Kerstin’s fartravelled experiences in watching and recognizing, in collecting and showing will now help us with the application and execution of special projects.

Dear roommates of this festival, of this idea and of this unique positive place: I wish you a sensible Christmas time and I am looking forward to coming back together on Whitsun, in order to hear and experience exciting and strong music, to discuss, to party and to set after the old questions as well as new ones…

And maybe it will still rain then!? (at least in Moers…)

But first of all, I wish for all of us, that it will snow…

Tim Isfort

Printversion Newsletter: