Behind The Promoters Eye… Quintin Van Der Spek // Outsiders Festival


If you don’t know who Quintin Van Der Spek is then in a short few minutes you will. He is the promoter and founder of the boutique festival Outsiders which this year boasts two charismatic arenas filled with house and techno stalwarts. Quintin has been involved in his fare share of illegal raves over the years now applies his trade in the bustling Dutch festival circuit, this year with Derrick May, STERAC, Awesome Tapes from Africa and more headlining. Here we sit down with the man himself regarding the second installment and what makes him tick.

Outsiders festival had its first year last year, how has the preparation period been different this time around, is it less stressful the second time?

Actually it’s not. We were called by the city of Alkmaar a couple of days ago with the announcement that they would not provide a permit for our festival this year, due to some noise complaints about last year. We were shocked! Luckily I’m able to say that after some intense meetings everything is sorted out right now, but we had some sleepless nights though..

What is it about Outsiders Festival that makes it different to all the other festivals out there?

We are trying to do things slightly different with everything we do. That’s also the reason why Outsiders is called what it’s called. For example, for our clubshows we often invite that have never played in Holland before. And recently we did an all African music special together with the guys of Red Light Radio.

For the festival it’s no different. Last year Solar and Willie Burns had their Dutch festival debut at Outsiders and this year we have some cool surprises also.

How many people are involved with Outsiders Festival?

I’m doing the music programming as well as all marketing and communication around the festival. My partners Joey and Gerrit-Jan Witzel are taking care of a big part of the production side. On top of that we work with a large team of people who support us and are involved in some way or the other. We always try to listen to our visitors and the people around us for advice and cool ideas.


What influences your bookings, is it mainly your taste or do you try to deliver what the crowd want?

For the festival I’m looking for a balance between the two. You need to sell a certain amount of tickets to make it profitable, so choosing for a line-up consisting of names that you like but people have never heard of is quite risky. On the other hand I strongly believe that as long as you project the love you put in to it, people will come, no matter what’s on the bill.

How many different locations have you taken into account when planning and how important is it to get the right surroundings?

We were looking for the perfect location for a while. Before I started Outsiders Festival I organized another festival called Morse. It took place on a flat terrain that looked like a football field. There were no trees and there was no water around. There was no atmosphere, nothing! It was terrible.

With the outdoor climbing park of De Hoornse Vaart we found the perfect location. There are hills, trees, there’s water and it’s small and cozy. On top of that there’s a big 20 meters high Climbing Wall on the background. It’s really something special.

Who has been your favourite artist to back looking back across the history of all Outsiders Festival?

We had so many great artists over that I feel it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite. Motor City Drum Ensemble, the guys from Invisible City, Solar, Young Marco, Hunee, Antal, grandmaster Carl Craig, just to name a can I choose? They were all amazing really. On a more personal level, 5ive of COS/MES from Japan not only played a huge set in Canvas but also is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. He brought all kinds of Japanese gifts for us and he was so humble. Absolutely love that guy. We also had a great time in Trouw with Mensah, better known as New York Transit Authority. That really was a fun night!

Have you ever delved into producing or DJing?

Actually I started producing hiphop when I was just 14. I started out using my tape recorder, recording a part of a song, rewinding the cassette and recording the same part, and then doing this over and over until I had a loop. After that I moved on to Windows Media Recorder. I combined samples and cut drumloops, only hoping that the beats would match. When I was 16 I finally got to know Fruity Loops. From then on I did nothing else than making beats. I worked with some Dutch rappers like Fresku and Spacekees and even with Shabazz the Disciple of the infamous Wu-Tang family. I teamed up with a friend and eventually we were offered a record deal at Talpa Music. Unfortunately for me my partner decided to become an orthodox Muslim at that very moment, which basically ment that he was not allowed to make music anymore and that the record deal was off. After that I was so sick from the situation that I had a sabbatical of some years. Right now I’m slowly picking up producing again. I have an MS20 at home, I just need to save up some money for a proper drum machine, an Octatrack and a lot of other things that I fell in love with (and are incredibly expensive). Too bad I’m not really good at saving money, so there’s a good chance that this mission will take a while.

About dj-ing, I have a lot of cool records, but not enough to play sets that I’m satisfied with. With all those great dj’s around me the bar is set really high. But maybe one day…

Where would you like to see Outsiders in five years time?

I never had a plan, ever. I believe in living the moment, doing the things you like and love. Everything you do with joy and effort can lead to other wonderful things. When it’s given to me, it’s given to me.

Finally, what festival would you say you draw closest similarities to?

Previous year Dutch music platform 3voor12 stated that our festival felt like the new Dekmantel Festival of North-Holland. Even though I was honored I felt really, really uncomfortable. In first place we are nowhere near where Dekmantel is right now. Besides that, as wonderful as Dekmantel is, we are trying to stay away from them as much as we can. We have our own identity and our own musical taste. I hope that people can also see that in the synergy of the names in our line-up. We are shaping our own world and it’s a great place to be in!

Catch Quintin and his team at this years festival. Ticket available here –

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