Brian Bout: Dutch Valley organizer and socialite

After the successful launch of the well-known Dance Valley in the 1990s, UDC Events director Bout decided in 2011 to launch a new festival concept in the Netherlands. Dutch Valley saw the light of day this year and very quickly this festival turned out to be a hit. Dutch Valley has since become an annual event that has become an integral part of the Dutch festival landscape.

The motivation for organizing Dutch Valley was quite clear to Bout. Apart from a few small events, according to the Edammer, there was no major mash-up festival where many Dutch artists performed. Bout decided to fill that gap with UDC Events with something he calls an ‘un-Dutch large production’. Dutch Valley tapped into the nostalgia sentiment that TV programs such as Farmer Searches Woman and Ik Hou van Holland sparked in that period.

Brian Bout Dutch Valley

Original Dutch approach

Dutch Valley takes place annually at the event site in Spaarnwoude, between Amsterdam and Haarlem. In the same period, Dance Valley will also take place at the same location, so that Bout can use the same infrastructure and stages with Dutch Valley. In contrast to ‘sister festival’ Dance Valley, Dutch Valley has a typically Dutch approach. At the start in 2011, Bout and Dutch Valley had in mind to set up a widely accessible, sold-out and profitable festival within three years.

These ambitions turned out to be anything but too ambitious. As early as 2013 and 2014, Bout managed to achieve these goals with Dutch Valley. Bout quickly established that Dutch Valley mainly attracted an audience that comes for the fun. Where the focus in the first editions was mainly on the great diversity of artists, the ‘pay-off’ has changed after a few years from ‘The largest festival on Dutch soil’ to ‘The most enjoyable party in the Netherlands. “Dutch Valley celebrates what we as Dutch people have in common, and we know how to capture that atmosphere perfectly,” said the proud UDC director.

From Frans Bauer to The Opposites

Nowadays, according to Bout, Dutch Valley has a ‘cross-genre’ program. In the past, for example, it happened that one moment Frans Bauer performed on the main stage, followed by The Opposites who turned things upside down. From sing-alongs like ‘Do you have a moment for me’, the Dutch Valley audience effortlessly switches to heels on the song ‘Thunder’. With this, Bout and Dutch Valley finally dealt with the Dutch-language image.

The varied range of music on offer has ensured that visitors to Dutch Valley open themselves up more than usual to music genres they would not normally come into contact with. The core values of the festival are ‘Gezellig, ‘Together’ and ‘Recognisable’, and according to Bout, these values can be found on every stage of Dutch Valley. “We see that the audience initially chooses his or her favorite artist, to eventually linger at the stage where they find it most enjoyable.”