ID&T returns to simpler times with new concept event, Tijdloos [Review]
When life gives you lemons, become one with the lemonade…
This seems to be the 2020 mantra of the iconic Dutch promoter, ID&T, who is making the most out of an all-but squandered summer with the introduction of their newest concept, Tijdloos, a rejuvenating and organic retreat that first challenges, and then builds on the normative idea of a standard summer getaway.
In order to grasp what Tijdloos is, it might help to first define what the event is not. Tijdloos is not a typical ID&T event, mostly because it’s not a music festival. The event has no musical lineup, no array of stages, and as a result, no dense crowds to lose your friends, or even yourself in.
Tijdloos, which translates to “Timeless,” instead represents itself as a hybrid of ideas revolving around exploring nature and connecting with oneself. Tucked away in Drenthe, a rural and scenic (albeit flat) northeastern province of The Netherlands, the event combines elements of glamping and mindfulness retreats with the over-the-top whimsy and artistic expression that’s run through the DNA of ID&T events for decades. The end result is a no strings attached summer experience that’s entirely unto itself.
Rather than relying on techno sets and merch stands, Tijdloos is built on the back of outdoor adventure and restorative sessions pertaining to the mind, body, and soul. The event lives up to its name by only publishing a loose, day-of agenda of workshops, classes, and activities, simultaneously encouraging attendees define their experiences in the way that best suits them. Whether you’re looking to relax on the adult beach with some drinks and a joint, look inward with one-on-one shamanic sessions, or something in between (warning: combine joints and shamans at your own risk), Tijdloos tailors a custom experience for each and every guest.
As mentioned, and true to form, the daily programs were merely suggestions of what one might find when wandering Tijdloos’ 50-acre site, as artists and performers were free to conjure up unannounced events like silent discos and ritualistic drum circles. This idea of spontaneity was initially devised to limit the capacity of each event, in accordance with The Netherlands’ current COVID-19 provisions, but in turn added truly unique elements of surprise and adventure for those exploring Tijdloos’ grounds day after day, as noted by Carina Kornfeind, Creative Director of Tijdloos:
“Something which actually was favorable for the organic development of the program and flow of the concept is the relatively little amount of time we had to prepare. This way, we left more space to our artists (who we name creators here at Tijdloos), to get actively involved in designing the program in co-creation with other facilitators This way, new collaborations were born, collaborations we could have never thought of ourselves. And along the weeks, still more and more magical creative partnerships evolve every day. This way, our production is in a more facilitating position, rather than determining everything upfront.”
It was impressive, if not inspiring, to see ID&T address COVID-19 concerns in a way that reassured guests of their safety without ever really intruding on their experience, or in the case of scheduling, even managed to improve on it through the lens of spontaneity. Those cognizant of the virus might have been quick to notice things like the strategically placed sanitation stations, or the almost-obsessive (but appreciated) cleaning of the restrooms and facilities, whereas those in attendance who were hoping to get away from the stresses of 2020 for a few days were welcome to leave their concerns at the door.
Tijdloos might have been born out of unprecedented necessity, but the resulting experience was as innovative as it was genuine—a strong argument that the concept is destined to outlive the dire conditions that made it possible in the first place. It’s worth noting that those who strictly need to fill the void of main stage energy aren’t likely to satisfy their itch, but Tijdloos has had its sights set elsewhere from day one, clearly preferring innovation to emulation.
What at first came to life as a response to the “what now?” question posed by this year’s festival season quickly defined itself as one of Europe’s most refreshing and potential-filled summer affairs. Thankfully, 2020 will come and go, but if the quality of this year’s experience says anything, Tijdloos is here to stay.
Featured image: Bart Heemskerk