Experimental jazz, intimate silences and Moshpit Madness: during MOMO Festival, Rotterdam shines more than ever

Last Saturday was the final day of MOMO Festival, which saw Rotterdam host a three-day groundbreaking programme.

In it, experimentation was extensively sought with a three-day residency by Tom Skinner, and Depot Boijmans van Beuningen and the Kunsthal became the new addition to the festival venues. Acts like Deki Alem, Artemas and Cosmo Pyke attracted a new generation of young visitors to MOMO Festival. The main hall at Theater Rotterdam was filled with Dry Cleaning, Nubiyan Twist and resident Tom Skinner. We look back on a sweltering edition that explored art forms, music genres and the city to its extremes.

A place for everyone
MOMO Festival is known as a festival with versatile and sharp programme choices that does not shy away from moving and surprising visitors. What was striking during this edition was that visitors and artists were close to each other, which made for many beautiful moments. Wende, for instance, shed many tears. With a flawless ‘unplugged’ performance in the intimate Arminius church, she surprised the audience with two unannounced guests: Alongside her mother, Pitou joined in for a blistering duet of the song ‘Comfort seekers’. The words ‘there is room for everyone here’ not only continued to echo through the Arminiuskerk, but can be seen throughout the line-up of MOMO Festival, where diverse genres came together and experimentation was sought.

Three-day residency Tom Skinner 

As artist in residence, Tom Skinner was given complete freedom to curate his own programme for three days. Thursday night was the experimental opener with composer and Daegeum soloist Hyelim Kim. Dave Okumu (singer, songwriter, producer and guitarist) and Tom Herbert (jazz/groove bassist) joined Skinner on Friday, with the long-standing friendship between the three clearly palpable through funky bass-driven compositions at WORM. On Saturday, Skinner closed in the main hall of Theater Rotterdam with his band to play ‘Voices of Bishara’. A special, layered foray into Jazz for MOMO Festival.

Art with a critical eye

The festival featured continuous performances and art installations that showed a critical social perspective. With the installation Dear Laila, visitors stepped into a miniature version of the childhood home of artist Basel Zaraa, who grew up in a refugee camp. A whole experience about ‘belonging’ and memories of a home on the run. Weef.collectie did a three-day ‘black box’ residency in which they highlighted feminism with the power of weaving, hard beats and an ever-growing installation. Daudi Mautsiko gripped the audience from the first note, dwelling on big themes such as the influence of his ancestors and the slavery past on his life and music in this intimate setting.

Raving in the theatre

After the moving discovery of MOMO Festival, Lander and Adriaan managed to turn the large hall of Theater Rotterdam completely upside down. Young and old alike went wild to the digital synth sounds and percussion, in which genres such as drum and bass, techno and jazz follow each other at a fast pace.

With this edition of MOMO Festival, Rotterdam was bursting at the seams, ready for many more MOMO. The next edition of MOMO Festival will be on

17, 18 and 19 April 2025.