in Ooststellingwerf

In 1998 Georgina Starr was invited to propose a new artwork for Ooststellingwerf. One of eight artists invited for the 'In Verbelinge’ project commissioned by SKOR (Amsterdam). Ooststellingwerf is a thinly populated area in South-West Friesland. The landscape there is determined by old peat moors, sand drifts and the basins of the rivers Kuunder (Tjonger) and Linde. The area has a fascinating history and its own unique language 'Stellingwerfs'. The invited artists were asked to seek inspiration in the region and its typical characteristics and to add their own stories to the already existing ones.

After spending a month in the area cycling around Starr became particularly drawn to the Kale Duinen a vast natural sand dune surrounded by forest. Normally residing in a busy city she became acutely aware of the silence of the Ooststellingwerf.  "As I cycled around alone for a month in July 1998 the silence became more and more overwhelming," she said, " I had the feeling it needed to be broken in some way and had this fantasy that I'd be going through a quiet, deserted forest and then suddenly a whole lot of action would pop up like a mirage in the landscape, or that I'd come across a vibrating barn in the middle of a field of cows and open the door to find it full of people making music and singing and dancing."

With the help of a local music organisation (Friesland Pop) she advertised for bands in the area to come forward with an idea for a new anthem for Ooststellingwerf. After spending weeks meeting local musicians and listening to their stories and music she proposed a project to hold a pop concert to be staged in the natural sand dunes of Ooststellingwerf. The local bands were selected by Starr and all contributed an especially recorded track to a CD she produced to coincide with the live performance. Starr designed the giant three-tier stage (with built-in video screens), produced pop videos and artwork for each band, and joined one of the bands on stage as lead vocalist for the live performance. The concert attracted thousands of Ooststellingwerfers who came to the sand dunes from miles around.

The 'Popping Up' concert was held on an evening in September 1999 in the natural sand dunes of the Zandvlakte in Ooststellingwerf. Twelve local bands played on the three-tier stage. Around 2,000 people attended the concert. The song chosen to be the new Ooststellingwerf anthem was Kor Slofstra's 'Arnolds House', a personal song about a local guy who had been important to many of the teenagers in the area.


Starr's first sketch for 'Popping Up'



Popping Up in Ooststellingwerf • 1999 •

© Georgina Starr & the bands