The Amsterdam Coffee Festival, 16 May 2015
Starring three singer-songwriters, hot from a freshly brewed pot of young musical talent.
By John Richardson, Editor in Chief, Britsoc Magazine “Fish and Chips for the Soul“
Saturday May 16. NDSM-Wharf, Amsterdam. The Amsterdam Coffee Festival, following the huge success of The London Coffee Festival, took place in a giant ship building warehouse on the north shores of Amsterdam’s ‘Het IJ’ river. Now in its second year, the festival celebrates Amsterdam’s vibrant coffee scene. Informal and buzzy, the warehouse was bustling with artisan coffee and gourmet food stalls, tastings and demonstrations from world-class baristas, interactive workshops, street food, coffee-based cocktails, live music, art exhibitions and more.
Hard to get a cup of coffee
Ironically, I found it really hard to get a cup of coffee. The stall owners seemed more enthralled by each other and the event than by customers. I guess it’s the thrill of starting something new, and being at the coffee event of the year. Or maybe they were just too cool to serve people. I don’t know. I couldn’t work it out. We did find a kind of Heath Robinson coffee making machine that made coffee when you cycled. Again we tried to catch the attention of the inventor, but after 20 minutes we moved on.
Coffee and Martini
We then tried the Coffee and Martini stall. Unfortunately, the Martini police had raided his stall the night before and confiscated all his hooch. But he was allowed to sell a rather strong unpasteurised lager, and that’s how I became drunk at a coffee festival.
Freshly brewed pot of singer-songwriter talent
Lucky, I was there for the live music on the Saturday stage, which had a London Hyde Park theme going for it. Hot from a freshly brewed pot of young musical talent were three singer-songwriters that impressed me greatly: Rich Stephenson, Sharlette and One Clueless Friend.
I AM RICH
Rich Stephenson is a singer-songwriter that reminds me of Loudon Wainwright III. Dressed, like his many fans, in a vibrant orange ‘I AM RICH’ T-Shirt and matching pumps—which contrasted brilliantly against the green Hyde Park theme— he gave an energetic, athletic, foot stomping performance that was infused with infectious and catchy lyrics.
I first saw Rich 18 months ago, and he’s really progressed into a mature songwriter. Some of his new ballads confirm my suspicion that we’ll be hearing more from Rich.
I AM A RICH FAN
Actually, I’m a couple of euros poorer as I bought a ‘I AM RICH’ T-Shirt and CD-EP. Visit Rich’s Bandcamp site here (where you can listen to and buy the EP & T-shirts)
One Clueless Friend
One the great surprises on the Hyde Park stage were One Clueless Friend. Laid back and unassuming, their sound had a kind of Pink Floyd menace wrapped in a beautifully crafted melodic aura. Effortlessly brilliant and beautifully sublime, I felt I’d witnessed the discovery of something truly rare: the real thing.
Straight from the Department of Cool, Sharlette and her guitarist sang and played with a moving depth that resonated with me on many levels. Vulnerable yet confident, she hooked your soul with her hauntingly hot-blooded voice, laid bare with resonating lyrics and her partner’s equally poignant guitar riffs. Apart from the coffee, this was great way to spend a Saturday.