2&6 JOURNALIST: A.K.A
2&6 Photographer: A.K.A & BAROEM
During the second week of September 2020, Rotterdam Street Culture Week kicked off a hectic and much welcomed celebration of the diverse underground culture that sprawls out from Rotterdams outer Afrikaanderwijk district and across the city. Masked marauders from Maastricht to Muiderburg congregated to celebrate and create as a collective for the first time in what otherwise can only really be described as, and please excuse my french, a ‘clusterfuck’ of a year. B-boys, DJ’s, Street Artists, Mc’s & BMXers were all represented, non given more shine or time than the other and each turning out to the others showcase in solidarity.
It would be no exaggeration to say that this week was undoubtedly the best week of the year so far. Im aware that isn’t saying much considering second place would have to be the first week of the year (and that’s only because it included post midnight new years eve) . Having interviewed Frans, one of the core coordinators of RSCW a few weeks prior, i had the inside scoop on the best way to maximise my one week of human contact. So with a backpack full of 94’s, a camera & some Gorilla Cookies i headed to Rotterdam with 2&6 photographer Baroem to see what RSCW was saying. (Spoilers, its saying a lot).
First Official Dutch Championship BMX Street
For the first time in history a BMX Championship competition crowned a winner in a Dutch skatepark. This was unquestionably an awesome thing to be a part of and a part of bmx history that will undoubtedly be looked back on as a prolific event as the BMX community continues to grow among locals.
BEYOND THE BEAT BLOCK PARTY: PRESENTED BY HIP HOP HUIS
The crown jewel of the weeknd was the Hip Hop Huis a bloc part that saw clashes between the young and up and coming B-Boys, B-Girls and B-Babies. With a limited capacity of around 100, the atmosphere was intimate and gregarious as scratters and spinners began to battle as the setting sunday sun dipped behind the monorail running above the city skyline.
Old friends and one day drunk friends shot the shit over some fried chicken and beers whilst the gathering crowds joined in the freestyle dance battles. Oh yer and AKALA was there! This guy that was there embarrassingly fangirled and drop and smashed his phone in front of Akala while attempting to explain why The Thieves Banquet makes him more like Shakespear then actual Shakespeare. Fine, that was me.
Highlight of our interview with POW!WOW! Rotterdam Founder.
First and foremost mate, congratulations on getting to this point, i’m sure it must have been extremely challenging trying to organise such a large scale event during this nightmare of a year. Was it looking like POW! WOW! 2020 was going to be lost to the annals of corona history or where you always pretty certain that the event would go through?
“To be honest we always remained extremely positive about our chances of getting it done. When it really kicked of in March i said to the crew we have to continue but we have to make sure we think of and prepare for every scenario possible. We sat down and came up with an A to F list of back up plans, from an ultra minimalist festival to a maximum capacity festival. We were always working in collaboration with local officials to stay informed and brace ourselves. In April we had a full line up of international artists ready to book flights for but around mid May we had to make the call to play it safe and take this opportunity to make something positive out of this and continue by only working with Dutch based and local street artists. That way we can showcase the huge variety of talent on offer just in the Netherlands, shining a light on what we have to offer the global street art community.”
How did Pow! Wow! Rotterdam come about and what relationship does it have to the original Pow! Wow! in Hawaii?
“So in 2016 we won a prize from the Rotterdam arts council to develop a street art concept in the city. When we were told that we had won a prize we were obviously extremely excited but we actually had no idea what exactly it was that we had won! Then it turned out to be a trip to Hawaii which was crazy. We were stood at POW! WOW! Hawaii, in paradise on earth, essentially networking and said to each other that Rotterdam needs this…lets do it! We really wanted Rotterdam to be the first European city to host this so we worked really hard to get that done. Two years later we hosted the first ever European Pow! Wow!.”
What was the selection process for the artists? I’m imaging a huge table in a dark smoke filled room littered with photos of tags and murals.
“Hahah essentially yes. Everyone on the team has a huge wishlist of artists that they have dreamed to get on board. Daniel is our artistic director so he really gets the final call but we also have huge amounts of artists who reach out to s asking to get involved which we obviously always want to facilitate. But the result this year is an incredible line up, potentially one of our best considering there are no international artist this year.”