ABOUT LEFT OF THE DIAL

Wat is Left of the Dial?
Left of the Dial is een jaarlijks internationaal showcasefestival dat mid-oktober in de binnenstad van Rotterdam plaatsvindt. Het laat een dwarsdoorsnede zien van de meest relevante alternatieve artiesten van dat moment.

Hoe is Left of the Dial ontstaan?
Rotown, het poppodium aan de Nieuwe Binnenweg in Rotterdam, is in 2018 met de organisatie van Left of the Dial begonnen. Het zomerfestivalseizoen loopt tegenwoordig ver tot in september waardoor het aantal bands dat in oktober een clubtour wil doen enorm groot is. Groter dan Rotown in hun eigen zaal, of in een van de andere zalen die zij programmeren, kwijt kunnen. In zo’n drukke periode is het lastig voor jong talent om op te boksen tegen de bekendere acts. Om alle nieuwe bands toch de kans te geven zich te presenteren aan een groter publiek, besloot Rotown Left of the Dial op te zetten.

Waarom heet het festival Left of the Dial?
Het festival is vernoemd naar een nummer van The Replacements. “Left of the Dial” is een verwijzing naar Amerikaanse radiostations. Om de beste alternatieve muziek te vinden, moest je de knop op je radio naar links draaien. Dat sloot perfect aan bij het festival. Bovendien is The Replacements een van de beste bands van de wereld. Dat was ook een prima reden om een festival naar hen te vernoemen.

Waarom verkopen jullie alleen passe-partouts?
Op Left of the Dial zijn alle bands even belangrijk. Er zijn geen headliners en misschien heeft nog niet iedereen het op dat moment door, maar op de ene dag spelen net zulke goeie artiesten als op de andere dag. We hopen dus dat iedereen het hele festival samen met ons wil meemaken. Gewoon, dat verdienen de artiesten. En het is gezelliger.

Wat is Left of the Dial TV?
In 2020 kon Left of the Dial als fysiek festival op het allerlaatste moment niet doorgaan. Het festival had een ontheffing, maar de pandemie laaide op en drie dagen voor aanvang werd noodgedwongen de stekker uit het evenement getrokken. Om toch iets te kunnen doen, hebben we in 2020 een parallel universum gecreëerd waarin Left of the Dial wel doorging.
Dat universum is nog steeds te zien en was de inspiratiebron voor Left of the Dial TV in 2021. De gedachte erachter was simpel: pandemie of niet, Left of the Dial TV kan altijd doorgaan. Daarom werd er in 2021 tijdens het festival 72 uur lang een tv-programma uitgezonden. In de voorafgaande zomer heeft de Left of the Dial-crew eindeloos veel filmpjes gemaakt en die zijn gecombineerd met videoclips en live sessies te zien op deze website. De beste items zijn nog steeds terug te kijken.
Ook na 2021 zal Left of the Dial TV elk jaar terugkeren. Op welke manier, dat is steeds een verrassing. Ook voor onszelf. Het is afhankelijk van hoeveel tijd we hebben, wat ons op dat moment bezighoudt en wat we graag willen laten zien.

What is Left of the Dial?
Left of the Dial is an international showcase festival that takes place in mid-October in the center of Rotterdam. It offers a cross section of the most relevant alternative artists of the moment.

How did Left of the Dial come about?
Rotown, the music venue on Nieuwe Binnenweg in Rotterdam, started organizing Left of the Dial in 2018. The summer festival season now extends well into September, which means that the number of bands that plan to do a club tour in October is enormous. Bigger than Rotown can fit in their own venue, or in one of the other venues they promote. In such a busy period it is difficult for young talent to compete against the better-known acts. To give all new bands the opportunity to present themselves to a larger audience, Rotown decided to set up Left of the Dial.

Why is the festival called Left of the Dial?
The festival is named after a song by The Replacements. “Left of the Dial” is a reference to American radio stations. To find the best alternative music, you had to turn the dial on your radio to the left. That matched the feeling of the festival perfectly. Moreover, The Replacements are one of the best bands in the world. That was also a fair reason to name a festival after them.

Why do you only sell 3 day tickets?
To Left of the Dial, all bands are equally important. There are no headliners and even though not everyone might know the bands already, every day is filled to the brim with artists worth checking out. That’s why we hope everyone wants to experience the entire festival together with us. Simply, that's what the artists deserve. And it's more fun too.

What is Left of the Dial TV?|
In 2020, the physical edition of Left of the Dial had to be cancelled at the very last minute. The pandemic flared up and we were forced to pull the plug with the start of the festival only being 3 days away. To keep ourselves busy, we created a parallel universe in which Left of the Dial DID continue. That universe can still be seen today and was the inspiration for Left of the Dial TV in 2021. The thinking behind it was simple: pandemic or not, Left of the Dial TV can always happen. That is why we’ve broadcasted a TV program for 72 hours during the festival. In the summer of 2021, the Left of the Dial crew has made an endless amount of videos, which are combined with music clips and live sessions. The best items can still be viewed on this website!

I'm a journalist, but I'm too lazy to write something myself, do you perhaps have some poetic way of describing your festival?
Yes we do:

Never waste a good honeymoon phase, as they say. Especially when there’s a showcase festival like Left Of The Dial giddy to kickstart said honeymoon phase for artists from all corners of the world. Held in the blossoming Dutch port city of Rotterdam, Left Of The Dial turns its offbeat geometric features into a panoramic scenery of free-thinking, noise-making spirits.

The festival harvests a no headliner-policy and a flexibility to bring live music to a great diversity of locations. This includes the city’s iconic longtime music bastion Rotown, or the V11, the big red boat moored at the Wijnhaven. Last year, the majestic church grounds of The Arminius served both as venue and festival hub. Rotterdam is also brimming with spaces such as WORM and Roodkapje, independent venues that have been vital proving grounds for an acclaimed network of local bands and artists.

Other than programming an annually-expanding, eclectic lineup, Left Of The Dial’s other goal is to create a sense of communion and camaraderie. Furthermore, it aims to create an artist-friendly environment that brings like-minded people of all ages and backgrounds together, creating a shared rapidly snowballing flagship culture. In that respect, the organization offers a sweet alternative to the formal atmosphere of some other European showcase events.

One example was last year’s print-to-order merch stand at the Arminius, which allowed bands from the UK to press and sell their merch and circumvent post-Brexit regulations. One of the most beloved recurring events at Left Of The Dial remains Bands On A Boat, which grants attendees a gorgeous trek across the harbor, all while seeing some incendiary acts inside.

Even during the pandemic, Left Of The Dial proved to be most resourceful and plucky, creating a Parallel Universe livestream event with several memorable live performances. This project further fleshed out the festival’s distinct visual house style. In 2021, Left Of The Dial employed cartoonish sky dancers as location markers instead of the usual logos banners. These things make the experience as immersive and memorable as possible for everyone involved, from its visitors to its volunteers.

Long story short, Left Of The Dial experiments with the very notion of what showcase festivals could become. It makes daredevil plunge from the top rope when it comes to seeking out the bewildering ways live music can infiltrate the daily hustle and bustle.