MOMO Festival looks back on a successful and versatile 21st edition

In April 2023, Motel Mozaïque took over Rotterdam with one of the most special editions ever. At this 21st edition of MOMO Festival, visitors could enjoy a broad program with live music, art, dance, guided tours and performances, in the classic venues and new locations. Never before has the festival presented such a rich program.

Much-discussed highlights were the concerts by Big ThiefHania Rani and Yard Act, which drew packed halls in Theater Rotterdam. With the other locations scattered throughout the city, visitors walked and cycled to V11, Roodkapje, WORM, Rotown and Perron and the new location Baanhof. A wide range of artists and acts could be admired here, with upcoming artists and the more established names such as The CavemenTony NjokuThe OriellesPhoebe Goyunè pinkuNaazNagasaki Swim and Smudged.

One of the highlights of this year was artist in residence Black Country, New Road. The British six-piece band did 4 special performances: on Thursday they organised a “Friends Improv Battle”, a playful jam session together with artists from Rotterdam (including band members from Rats On Rafts, Smudged, Library Card and more). On the second day of the festival they gave a wonderful performance with their own repertoire in the Grote Zaal in Theater Rotterdam. The residency reached its peak on Saturday, in the raw industrial building Brutus, together with the Japanese singer-songwriter Ichiko Aoba.

New and established names
This edition there were also new names that are promising for the future, including very first European shows by InsincerePhoebe Go and The Last Dinner Party. In Roodkapje, a label night was hosted by the indie-ambient-punk collective Socks;SportsSocks, who performed themselves and invited the artists DOORGEROOKTAlison JuttaAvvnt MM and bontridders.

Amenti Theater Company has a long-standing partnership with Motel Mözaique, and this weekend we saw the premiere of their new performance Nom.Nos (‘name us’), which aroused many emotions in the room. The performance is a combination of dance, spoken word and theatre, with a layered, moving and powerful performance about the West African diaspora.

MOMO Festival presented surprises in every corner of the city, including pop-up performances by the modular collective R3LN4CHT with a multi-disciplinary performance and installation about safe-space and consent. In the new Baanhof location, Rotterdam Ballroom Arena took the audience on a vogueing performance.

One program line this year was the theme Unified, which explores and shows the work of bi-cultural makers. For example, the work of artist Serana Angelista, as a resident of the festival, was on display in UBIK, and talks and tours on the theme could be found, including at the freely accessible MOMO Playground on Westersingel. In the hall of Theater Rotterdam, Michelle Samba played an emotional and penetrating set on 14 hanging drums. Anne-Fay played her powerful music theater show twice and the audience was surprised by the electronic jam Fragmented, which took samples from different cultures and mixed them on the spot into a powerful whole.

Last Edition of MOMO Fabrique

Once again and for the last time, Motel Mozaïque closed the summer with a festival to celebrate the M4H area in Rotterdam West, on 2 September.

Our night music program had a focus on electronic music with live acts and DJs who performed on different stages. At Fruitvis and at the Citrusveiling, the audience assisted to live performances by Ishtar Bakhtali, gaiko, Barker, comforter2, Loradeniz and Salami Rose Joe Louis. A line-up of local and international selectors moved our dance floors: among others, HUNEE, Suze Ijó, Nedda Sou and Call Super performed at Weelde until sunset. Moving through the different areas, our visitors got surprised by the modular collective R3LN4CHT with their interdisciplinary experience “Beyond Consent”, in-between performance and rave party.

On Friday 1 September we opened our festival with a candle-lit dinner event. We set long dining table in the Keilepand and chef Gilbert Kolff curated a three-course menu with locally harvested ingredients.

In between courses, our guests visited the exhibition Petromelancholia, inside Brutus, and assisted to performances by the spoken word artist Fentydeux and musician Kems Kriol, who researched the soundscape of the M4H and composed a commissioned piece for MOMO Fabrique.

During the afternoon of Saturday 2 September our free program Playground took over the Keilekwartier with markets, performances, guided tours and workshops. The program spread around a vast area covering parts of the Keilepand, Keilewerf, the Voedseltuin, Brutus, Bitter and CHEFARO. In this context, Keilewerf celebrated its 9 year anniversary and we planned many activities together with these locations and other partners like N8W8Kaapse BrouwersBuurmanVerbaasde ReeRTM-XLFood Union and Bibliotheek Rotterdam.

About MOMO Fabrique

Every year, on the first weekend of September, Motel Mozaïque celebrates all makers based in the M4H area with the festival MOMO Fabrique.
M4H is one of the most progressive neighbourhoods in Rotterdam: an area in transformation, of port and city. Maritime and industrial history intertwines with nightlife and culture; rust mixes with nature and art, to generate a special crossover: in this place experimentation, creation and growth are given plenty of space. MOMO Fabrique Festival is all about celebrating this special part of the city and its residents through music, guided tours and art.

This harbour area hosts many organisations that are part of our community and are fundamental parts of our cultural life. Organisations like Weelde, Brutus, Voedseltuin, Kaapse Brouwers, Keilecollectief are our inspirers and partners for this experimental festival.

The MOMO Concerts series of 2023 invited many international artists including Future Islands, OSEES, Benny Sings, Yo La Tengo and Isaiah Rashad.