First guesses: Why The Netherlands refused the world’s biggest bands her largest venues (for a long time) | 6 July 2022 repost

In 1978 the Rotterdam Kuip started hosting big concerts. Its capacity was 64.000. It was brought back 47.500 in the 21st century.

It was one of those things, right under your nose, that you somehow manage to miss.
Even though the signs had been there all along.

Because why did Bon Jovi play the relatively small indoor venue Ahoy TWICE on their New Jersey Syndicate Tour, in 1988 and 1989;
When they would have sold even a 100.000 tickets in a heartbeat?
And on a bad day.

Why had I wondered, oh so very often, why me and my boyfriend visited an insane amount of hard rock festivals in the early 90s;
But hardly, any concerts by one band?

Why had the Rolling Stones played at The Netherlands most luxurious beach hotel, Kurhaus Scheveningen, in 1964?
Only to have it spin out of control in madness and mayhem by fans, and a lot of material damage.
Which should have come as a surprise, to absolutely no one.

And even!
Why did Bon Jovi’s 1995 concert in Nijmegen, fall flat on its face, after it being hastily relabeled, yet not quite fully (let alone effectively) into a  four-bill “festival”.
Whatever that means.
Suffice to say it didn’t work, and although Nijmegen 1995 does not have a recording, sources seem to agree at least for Bon Jovi, it had not worked and they had been unable to make that night’s concert “work”.
Which is saying something, because they’d been able to make concerts where they had increasingly larger objects being thrown at them, work, when in 1984 they opened for the hostile crowds of ZZ Top and Scorpions.

But somehow the “Dutch quadruple bill” trick at the Goffertpark, had caught them off-guard, and off-key.

From hosting the first concert The Rolling Stones would play outside of the United Kingdom, at the Kurhaus in 1964, which also counts as The Netherland’s first go at organizing a band concert;
To Holland’s uncontrollable urge to squeeze bands together on one bill;
Something seems rotten, in the kingdom of the Netherlands. 

And the preference can be seen to this day.
It started with the open air concert in Kralingen (Stamping Ground, 1970) but in 2022 there are still way more festivals, with tens of thousands of people, than there are open air concert locations that do one-band or one-artist concerts.

Let’s assume, that the latter habit, or preference, is a global one. A commercial one. That over the whole world, concert organizers rather go for packaging up a certain TYPE of music;
Thinking it will sell more tickets because it will attract a broader audience, than that they feel called to book for, basically the niche group of, one fanbase.

So let’s assume that part of the Dutch preference, to have at least a dozen festivals/ festival locations, but only a handful of concert locations that pass the 50.000 attendees mark?
Let’s for now, let that rest, and write it off as a global thing. Book it under capitalism, whatever.
Park it.

Let’s also, just like in statistics when you take out the numbers that vary too much from the whole, before you make an estimate;
Let’s not count that very first Rolling Stones concert.
It’s too long ago, and no one had hosted a Rolling Stones concert outside the UK, so good for the Netherlands that they made that mark in Rock n Roll history!

And now we get into how I, finally, begin to understand that there is a whole part of Dutch history missing. 
And the part is;
For the longest of times, there were no real concerts in the Netherlands.

This was the part I opened with; the thing that had been under my very nose.
And it was brought to my attention by my mother.
Because I asked her how she and my father had known how important it had been for me to go to Bon Jovi?
They had not been, at first glance, the types of parents to facilitate events like concerts at the other side of the country (in the Netherlands that is a 2.5 hour drive), on a school night.
Our family revolved around what my father wanted, then what my mother wanted, and for the children it revolved around what they thought we needed.
Not what we knew we wanted.

Our wants were not discouraged, but there was an unspoken rule that the wants were not their department. Those were our own to figure out, and as long as it didn’t interfere with school, we could do it.
But “going to” Bon Jovi on a school night (the quotation marks stand for not having a clue how to get there without them driving me!) did, interfere with school!

So then how did they, and pretty unanimously it seemed, decide it was important enough to drive me and two friends there?
When none of their policies would have led to this outcome?

And that was when I offered;
“Was it perhaps because dad would have wanted to go, in the 60s?”
And my mother replied:
“Oh no! We didn’t have concerts in the 60s!”
And that’s how this whole topic of wanting to know the history of Dutch concerts, came about!

And when I suddenly understood, why the Rolling Stones had been at Kurhaus. Strangely enough, up until that moment, I had never wondered why they had played at such an odd location.
When in hindsight, it makes total sense, because it was the first concert ever booked here.

Broad strokes, the 50s and 60s, can be divided into the mainland of Europe, which was still recovering from the war.
And Japan, United States and England, which had not been occupied. 
So for the first twenty years or so, you can pretty much see why Europe was so far behind, in having a music industry.

Rock n Roll was brought to The Netherlands by the Indonesian community.
From Wikipedia on Indorock:

“Indorock is a musical genre that originated in the 1950s in the Netherlands. It is a fusion of Indonesian and Western music, with roots in Kroncong (traditional Portuguese-Indonesian fusion music). The genre was invented by Indo repatriates in the Netherlands after Indonesian independence on August 17, 1945, and became popular especially in Germany. Indorock is one of the earliest forms of “Eurorock”.[1] Its influence on Dutch popular music was immense.”

This illustrates that The Netherlands were quite cutting edge when it came to music, just not in organizing concerts.
In conversation with someone from Germany, my impression was they had big venues for Europe’s most popular acts, over a decade sooner, than the Netherlands.

And in 1978, Feyenoord Stadion in Rotterdam, opened its doors for world famous pop artists, but only the absolute biggest names, were allowed to play there;
When rock bands were to play smaller venues or festival or multiple bill concerts, when my impression was, they had far outgrown that.
Bon Jovi late 80s could have easily, sold out Feyenoord Stadion.

In the 90s, it was as if Dutch concert organizer Mojo, did a brave attempt to SATISFY, Dutch desire to see the Rolling Stones live!

1990: 3x Stadion Feijenoord, Rotterdam
1995: 2x Stadion Feijenoord, Rotterdam, Megaland, Landgraaf (festival),  2x Goffertpark, Nijmegen, 2x Paradiso, Amsterdam
1998: Malieveld, Den Haag + 5x Amsterdam ArenA
1999: Megaland, Landgraaf (festival)+ Stadspark, Groningen

But ten years of sold out concerts in The Netherland’s biggest venues later; 
And they could still get no satisfaction!

So do I have guesses, about what happened in The Netherlands?

What I know is that every time I visit a concert, I am so happy with Mojo, our organizer. They seem to get better at tweaking their concerts, everytime a little more.
The chair throwing of the Kurhaus, is definitely a thing of the ancient past! 

The organization, the execution, of Dutch concerts is phenomenal.
For example: The Golden Circle is never overbooked, something I ve definitely seen happening on video footage from shows abroad.
Mojo Concerts deserves a 10 out of 10, for their work!

Yesterday they signed a contract here in Nijmegen, making Goffertpark one of their only handful 50.000 attendees, locations. For their biggest shows.
And Nijmegen tends to get all the rock concerts, so I m absolutely delighted with this deal!

But do I think money is being left on the table?
And that it’s the bands, that have suffered the most?
I do.
Suffered from whatever it is, that seemed to have gotten off on the wrong foot.

Do I know why?
Probably not.

But I do know, it could be changed.
In a heartbeat.
On a bad day.

Rock Star Writer

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First guesses: Why The Netherlands refused the world’s biggest bands her largest venues (for a long time)
was written on July 6, 2002
and was initially posted on a different blog.

That was it! 

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Although band concerts seemed to have been hosted too small in The Netherlands, until latest of 80s/early 90s, they were welcome at one of Holland’s many festivals and multiple-bill concerts.
Stamping Ground (1970) was the first and probably the most legendary one: 

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