Paradigm FestivalAugust 13 & 14

10 Best Paradigm Stage designs

The 10th anniversary of Paradigm Festival is almost upon us! Especially for this occasion, our creative director Paul Grimmius shares 10 of his favourite stage designs from over the years.

1.) Forest Stage

“We have to start off this list with the magical Forest Stage. We landed at the Suikerunie terrain as its first occupants, where our eye was immediately drawn to the unkept, untamed forest. Together we figured out that we wanted to build a raised and round stage in the middle of it, as we believed it would be incredible area if we would do it right. Together with a group of enthusiastic volunteers and some experienced carpenters, we started to set this plan into motion. The process itself was amazing and it gave us a lot of energy. We started building day and night, empowered by the idea that this stage would be enjoyed by a lot of people for years to come. It was a very emotional moment when the last few nails were hammered in.”

“Whilst all that was happening, Joke Schaper spearheaded another team of volunteers to decorate the rest of the forest with pathways and little nooks and crannies to hang out in. One of the best things about this place is that it really feels like you’re in a forest, even though it’s situated on a former industrial terrain and it’s flanked by one of the busiest roads in the city. Legendary performances by artists such as Raresh and Ion Ludwig – not to mention hostings by VBX and Giegling – are some of my ultimate festival experiences.”

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2.) Mainstage (2016)

“The last year at the Helsinkistraat the Mainstage was similar, in terms of festival stage designs, to what we’ve created at the Suikerunie terrain. The stage was designed by Dick Lissenburg. An organic design of rounded wood, so that no truss was needed to hang light and sound equipment. Constructing the stage was a free and creative process, done by people with a passion for building something beautiful. I spent part of the dreamy progressive closing set of Guy J (the last mainstage artist on Helsinkistraat) with Piter (Paradigm co-founder) on the roof of the stage, looking over a crowd of thousands of enamored visitors. The Buddha statue, which stood on top of the stage, was sent to us just before the event by a friend from India who could not be there that year. The statue watched over our visitors and I feel it blessed the legendary memories we made together at the Helsinkistraat.” 

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3.) La Maison de Paradigme 

“La Maison de Paradigme was a concept conceived together with the Paradigm creatives (deco-team) and the Paraformers (performance team) during a brainstorm sessions back in 2014. The mainstage was like a giant mansion with different rooms, each filled non-stop by various performances from DJ’s and other creatives. My colleague Marcel and I joined the Paraformers during Rik Woldring’s set by dressing up as police and “halting” the performances for a brief moment, which was a lot of fun. It was also my first and last performance in that particular fashion (haha). Nina Kraviz was behind the decks to close off the festival. I don’t believe she is accustomed to playing music in bathrooms on a DJ booth made of washing machines, but here at Paradigm we do such things regularly.”

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4.) Da Vinci Dome

“In 2017, our paths crossed with a collective from Enschede, which resulted in them designing a new stage for us. Its shape, based on a design by Renaissance genius Leonardo Da Vinci, is basically a star that’s resting on its own ends which gives it its signature dome shape. The process creating this stage was a unique and cool experience. Ever since then, the Da Vinci Dome has always been a very special place at our terrain. During the construction weeks running up to the festival, it always services us as our own little chill out with a small campfire to boot. When its showtime, the stage has been purposed in a bunch of different ways, such as an official chill out or a reggae stage. One of the most memorable moments for me were the hostings by record shop De Jongens van Hemmes. You could’ve seen them during Parfest 2018 and 2019, both times on the Saturday, when they played a wide variety of records whilst avoiding run-of-the-mill house tracks. Two consecutive years with a packed crowd is proof of why they’re the best record shop in town!”

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5.) Dome (Renaissance theme)

“Huib van Antwerpen constructed a massive clockwork to be put in the top of the Dome stage in 2017, to fit with our Renaissance theme. The Renaissance theme was fitting as Paradigm had a re-birth (which is the literal meaning of the word Renaissance) on our new location. During this historic period, much art revolved around the symbolic expression of ‘Memento Mori’ and ‘Carpe Diem’. The clock related to this by illustrating how time is expressed in hours and days. The DJ-booth was created by the team of Dick Lissenburg (creators of the 2015 mainstage) in the image of a skull, placing the DJ in its eye-sockets. tINI made this image complete on a Sunday afternoon with her delicious minimal house, illuminated by a resplendent downing sun.”

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6.) The little white tea arbor

“I think many readers won’t remember this one, even if you visited Paradigm Festival 2015, as this stage was hidden from view. If you did manage to find it between the bushes, you could’ve been surprised by Job Jobse playing his records in a little white tea arbor. Lennard van Vliet created this stage for us. When we made the move to the Suikerunie terrain, we tried to move it with us but sadly it didn’t survive these efforts.”

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7.) Wooden Ganesha

“One of the first major creations we unveiled at Paradigm Festival 2013 was a giant wooden representation of the god of knowledge and wisdom: Ganesha! This wooden construction watched over our visitors who were relaxing at the chill out stage next to the mainstage that year. Thijs Koster built it, based on the legendary poster design by Emiel Almoes!”

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8.) Paradigm Festival Main Stage (2019)

“Paradigm Festival 2019 was special in more ways than one. Due to poor weather conditions on Friday and wind force 7 on Saturday, the Forest stage could only open on Saturday evening after 9 PM. Saturday is traditionally the busiest day of the weekend and this day was no different, with around 9000 visitors at its peak. In part because the Forest Stage had to close for a little while, visitors were forced to move elsewhere. The result of that was a completely packed main stage during Neo Young’s 4-hour opening set. The view from the DJ booth that day on that steaming tech house floor was absolutely incredible. Roughly 5000 people were dancing around the grotesque Queen Bee construction made entirely from waste material. Joke Schaper, Anna Rijff and Trudy Oosterhuis built and designed it, supported by a team of enthusiastic volunteers. A masterful design with a message: we have to take good care of our planet. We don’t always keep this in mind, which is why bees are threatened with extinction. If that happens then our ecosystem will be disrupted so badly, scientists believe that humans will not survive such an event. With this in mind, we are subservient to the bee and the ladies wanted to convey this feeling by having a large queen perched up in the middle of the Mainstage’s dance floor.”

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9.) Romney Loods (2019)

“One of the most beautiful and interesting processes I was a part of was the collaboration of a number of artists in 2019, which resulted in the Romney Loods as it is presented today. It started as David Sciarone’s graduation project for the Kunstacademie needed a home, which we were happy to provide. In exchange, David gave us permission to use it for our events. After the piece had gone through a number of phases (decking it out with lights for a NYE chill-out for example), we came up with the idea to videomap the whole thing. We approached both Liza Verboon and John Oosting, who were responsible for the videomap process and the design of the room, respectively. Throughout these brainstorm sessions, the idea took shape to videomap the front of the DJ-booth as well. John got to work once more and constructed something to make this all possible. It truly was such an inspiring collaboration between two artists, a VJ and Parardigm. During the festival, I spent some quality time on the dance floor at Stranger’s closing set on Friday and Speedy-J’s signature 5 hour set, enjoying the result of this collective effort by these artists. The particular vibe I experienced both times were made possible in part because of this amazing joint venture.”

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10.) Mainstage (moving to the new terrain in 2016)

“Last but not least, the enormous project that was Paradigm Festival 2016. As we were hosting Paradigm Festival at the Suikerunie terrain for the first time, we started constructing multiple stages at the same time: the towers and gate of the Mainstage, the Forest stage, the Container Club, and the Dome. The Dome was designed at the time by architect Cesare Peeren and Studio Elmo Vermijs, after we received a course in harvesting and salvaging from them. Harvesting, in short, means looking for waste material that could be repurposed to suit our needs. Soon after we found a building which was on the demolition list of the municipality, from which we could harvest the wooden trusses. These trusses were the foundation for the design of the Dome stage. We had a few trusses left over, which we then planned to use for the DJ booth on the Mainstage! Inspired by the flyer (flying boat), we thought that it would be cool to make a big boat out of the remaining trusses, supported once again by a team of passionate carpenters and volunteers! This resulted in a boat that would carry the DJ’s through the gates of Paradigm where the new adventure was going to begin.”

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