rioolFest official logo

rioolFest ~ The Sewer System as Art Podium ~ Follow the amazing progress of this sound festival, transmitted trough the underground sewer system in public areas
Idea (©2005) by Willem Davids (NL)

January 2005, Hilversum, NL

The media city of Hilversum stage: The Sewer festival! It’s a unique sound project that can be heard at street level from the city sewer system. Sound will be heard coming from the drains in town center. During a (xx)-day period the city of Hilversum will expand in size and activity with the addition of an acoustic many ear-opening sounds. This will be the performance of its kind. It has been given the name ‘rioolFest©’. (‘riool’ (Dutch) = ‘sewer’ in English)

The rioolFest© sound project is the brainchild of sound artist Willem Davids, who is also responsible for making it happen.

The sound source, the heart of the festival, is a purpose-built speaker assembly that is placed in the sewers main pipe. Sounds in this pipe must travel their way out of sewer system by rising to all connected sump grates at street level. The grates act as sound speakers through the open surface water system. It’s that simple, but very out of the ordinary at the same time.“

Media city with a special sewer system

Willem Davids is a Hilversum radio maker with more then 35 years of experience who also makes documentaries for i.a. ‘Holland Doc Radio’. His love of sound, his craving to experiment and the character of Hilversum (city with a special storm water sewer system), are the main sources of inspiration for this project.

Davids: ”It’s no coincidence that the festival is held in the centre of Hilversum, or rather, rising from the city centre. I live here and it’s the media city.

According to Davids the sound project can be experienced in different ways.

Firstly, the shopping public will be taken by surprise when they hear sounds emerging from the pavement. Or you could pause to listen around one of the many sump grates, to enjoy an imaginary grand subway station and everything that goes with it.

Davids sees possibilities for sewer festivals all over Europe.




Since Oct 31, 2008 founded the rioolFest foundation

“… the (do) promote and improve the image of the sewer in the Netherlands
and abroad and also all that with one and another directly or indirectly related
or may be conducive thereto, all in the broadest sense of the word; … “

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