Gig Review October 5, 2006, Nijmegen, Netherlands

The Dubliners in Diksmuide (Belgium) - Ten Vrede 2007

12 May 2007

TEN VREDE is a music festival in Diksmuide, West-Flanders, Belgium. It is organised by the IJZERTOREN committee. The "Ijzertoren" is a pre-eminent monument of the first World War. The message that the Ijzertoren stands for is peace, freedom and tolerance. So as to communicate this message, one of their yearly projects is the festival called "Ten Vrede" (which means "a call for peace" as opposed to "a call to arms").

This year, the sixth edition of the festival, The Dubliners were the top of the bill. Frank Dingenen, a well known actor in Flanders, did the announcement. 
He mentioned that The Dubliners were invited to Ten Vrede not only because they are an unexcelled Irish Folkgroup, true to their own sound, but also because they have always devoted themselves to the cause of the peace movements, all along the 45 years of their existence. As an illustration of this, they printed the lyrics of "The Button Pusher" (from their album "21 Years on") in the festival leaflet. I also read there that the committee hoped that The Dubliners and their audience would transform the festival tent into a great Irish pub and of course they did, as they always do all over Europe! 

The first group opened the second festival day already at 14h and The Dubliners, as they were the highlight, were planned at 23h30. They were asked for a 90 minutes program and they gave a brilliant, shorter version of their new album. As far as I know, the last time The Dubliners were in West-Flanders in Belgium, was at the Dranouter Folkfestival in 1991. So there was a new and young audience there in Diksmuide, who probably saw them for the first time. Still, as far as I can judge from the clapping and singing, they were familiar with a lot of the songs. And of course lots of true fans, who admire them already since the beginning, came from all over the country to Ten Vrede.

Barney, who always enjoys speaking some Dutch, and Patsy immediately had a good and steady contact with the crowd in the tent and Sean, John and Eamonn impressed the youngsters with their energy and unexcelled musical skills. Eamonn added some extra, quick rythms to his guitar playing in "Dirty Old Town" and jumping all along the platform, visibly enjoyed one of his favourites: "The Irish Rover". 

The end of The Dubliners' gig was also the end of the entire festival. Frank Dingenen thanked our heroes and all the volunteers of the Ten Vrede festival. He especially called a man on stage, who is one of the pioneers in the Ten Vrede-commitee and also a great fan of The Dubliners. Frank invited him to sing the chorus of "Molly Malone" together with The Dubliners on stage, but unfortunately, the man was so overwhelmed with emotions that he dare not accept this unique chance! I reckon some other fans in the audience would have been all too happy to sing instead of him.

A quarter of an hour after the gig one could still hear some young people singing the chorus of "The Wild Rover" in the tent. This song is capturing people from generation to generation. Don't we all need the Irish craic as an anti-dote to stress in our society? ;)

Review and photographs by Ria Voet

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