The Chapel by Draaimolen

The Chapel holds a very precious place in our hearts. Throughout its evolution, it has remained a crucial expression of the Draaimolen ethos, capturing our reverence for live performance and how it moves an audience. We are incredibly happy to announce that The Chapel will return for Draaimolen 2023, curated entirely by the team. 

Designed by visual artist Heleen Blanken, the piece explores the spiritual dimensions of architectural forms and their relationship to nature. The first version of The Chapel was constructed as an art piece for Draaimolen Festival 2018 which took place in Charlotte Oord. Accompanied by a live set from Wanderwelle, the wooden structure honoured the dying forest, meditating on its haunting beauty. The Chapel became a full stage in 2019, and was brought to life by Tijn Pierre Arts, a Tilburg based company specialising in creatief maatwerk (creative custombuilds).

Photo by Frankie Casillo 

Building The Chapel was a labor of love on every level. Since construction began before the rest of the festival build-up, Tijn and his team assembled the stage with no running water or electricity on site. Accompanied by only the deer that roam the MOB Complex for the months outside of the festival season, the team worked for a grueling 3 weeks to realise this very technically ambitious project. The process was unorthodox and often precarious, but the outcome has certainly paid off. While the structure was estimated to last about a year, it has endured 3 festivals and a pandemic, and will return for the fourth time in September as one of Draaimolen’s most iconic stages. 

At the centre of The Chapel is the Heliotrope, designed by Heleen Blankenand engineered by Daniel de Bruin. The metal centrepiece is composed of 36 mirrors, each powered by its own hydraulic engine enabling a range of movement. During the festival, a single laser is fired into the centre, creating a hypnotic light show in the darkness. The visual effect is an apt metaphor for The Chapel itself; a single structure reflecting a burst of infinite impressions.

Photo by Stefanie Kulisch

Initially conceived as an elegant and contemplative space, The Chapel for Draaimolen 2019 showcased live, experimental productions. Live sets from BarkerAlessandro CortiniWanderwelle, Dasha RushKate NVLF-58 and Lucia, provided cerebral breathing space from the frenzy of the festival. In 2021 after a frustrating uphill battle with COVID restrictions and erratic government regulations, it became the heart of This Is Not Draaimolen. Over a 10 day period, 750 attendees gathered each day around the wooden structure for a lineup that had been lovingly curated and fought for by the team. Against all odds, EartheaterMama SnakeNkisi, Lyra PramukInterstellar FunkColoray, local talent Mathilde Nobeland Djrum, accompanied by cellist Zosia Jagodzinska took the stage. Contemporary dance choreographed by Transcending Bodies, the secret b2b with Dixon and DJ Dustin, and a breathtaking set from DVS1 and Oscar Mulero with 6 players and 2 mixers healed a crowd starved of contact and connection.  After a strange, quiet year, The Chapel blossomed into a beacon of revelry. 

Stefanie Kulisch Chapel Crowd 1

Photo by Stefanie Kulisch

Djrum At The Chapel Annalieke Rovers 1

Photo by Annelieke Rovers

In 2022, with the festival back in full force, it became a sanctuary of eclectic, powerful performances. On Friday, The Chapel hosted Pieter JansenGrand RiverDeadbeat and OM UnitLoraine JamesNene H and Georgian choir Ensemble BasianiKorelessTwo Shell, and a live performance of Oceanic’s forthcoming album Choral Feeling. On Saturday, Vox SupremeBea 1991Teto PretoJASSS & Ben Kreukniet and Aya brought an enchanting medley of styles and energies to the stage for the final day. And for an unforgettable grand finale, a Ukrainian folk tale was reimagined in the present day with opera, piano and live electronic production by Nastya Vogan and Albert van Abbe

3v12 Draaimolenfestival Vrijdag 09092022 Jostijnligtvoetfotografie 612 2 1

Photo by Jostijn Ligtvoet

Experiencing The Chapel firsthand feels at once ecstatic and wholly grounding. The intimacy of the space lends itself to a profound appreciation of both artistry and the ephemeral quality of live performance. With this stage, we are expressing the entanglement of sound, visuals, and movement as a unified, transformative experience, and each year, we try to capture this essence in a radically different way. 

We can promise that something very special awaits, and we hope you will join us at this beautiful stage in September.

Annalieke Rovers Misty Chapel 1

Photo by Annelieke Rovers