Advancement and power for women in the male-dominated music industry, whether as an artist or behind the scenes is a good thing. Thus, it is just as important to highlight women who are out of the spotlight affecting change in the industry. On this segment of our Women in Music Series, we go behind the scenes with the Brand Manager of WECANDANCE Festival, Belgium’s favorite
Ahead of this weekend’s WECANDANCE Festival. We sat down with Evelien De Lint to talk about the award-winning boutique festival beloved by Belgians, and why it’s one of the can’t miss festivals of the summer.
On how she joined the WECANDANCE Family
I’ve been a visitor since the start of the festival. I love the beach and was working in Fashion, so the whole concept triggered me from the get-go. I convinced my Fashion company to partner up with the festival, and we had a booth there during 3 editions. That’s how I started my collaboration with the WCD team, and we had a great connection. Last summer they called me up to see if I wanted to become part of the team, with no hesitation I said YES and to be honest it has been even more amazing then expected.
Tell us a little about the festival’s journey through the years?
WECANDANCE was organized for the first time in 2013 when the owners of Kitsch Club noticed a lot of people were spending their time in Knokke during the Summer. They decided to take the club outside for an outdoor edition on the beach. This was a big success and that’s how WCD grew into the festival it is today.
As from the start, WCD stayed loyal to its 3 pillars MUSIC – FOOD – FASHION and built a complete festival experience around this. To give this experience an additional layer, they decided to choose another theme for each edition, that is connected to the fashion trends we spot during fashion weeks. We have a very fashionable crowd, and it’s amazing to see how much effort they put in choosing the right outfits to match this theme. Also in artwork, decor, activations,
and communicationthis theme will always be the red thread, giving each edition a completely new look & feel.
On what she finds most satisfying working in an organization such as WECANDANCE
It’s never boring to be surrounded by a creative group of people, most of them being part of the team since the birth of the festival. You feel everything comes from a mutual passion to organize the best event possible, and a mutual will to grow and reinvent ourselves each edition. It’s never clear what the day will bring, and I like not knowing. It keeps you on your toes and sparks creativity and motivation. Especially in the summer months, it feels like we are on the same express train, going 180miles/hour, and this creates a bond that is hard to explain ?
Most important lessons you’ve gained from working for WECANDANCE?
You can only organize a successful event when it comes from a true passion. If you start something solely to make money, you will not succeed. It’s important to stay true to yourself and your DNA, even when you’re growing. You have to start small and give the event time to grow organically.
On the challenges, she’s encountered as WECANDANCE’s Brand Manager
We are a small team, so sometimes days seem to be too short. It’s not easy to maintain a social life during the summer months, luckily the team operates as one big family and that makes up for it.
I’ve been a festival-goer my whole life, and I love music and parties, so I had to undergo a little mindset shift when entering this business. Holidays and parties are more for winter now, and in summer it’s more about work than play these days ?
WCD Fest is returning to Zeebrugge…on what she’s looking forward to
For me personally, it’s the amazing vibe at the beach, the beautiful people, great food, inspiring décor and especially the mix of different styles of music. You have 6 stages where you can discover new and local talent, and dance the night away with well-known international artists.
The most beautiful moment is definitely what we call ‘Golden Hour’ (sunset), that creates a magical vibe at the beach in Zeebrugge.
The impact of climate change, and why action is important
It sure has given us more worries about what the weather gods will deliver us. Belgium is very unpredictable, especially now. We can have a crazy heatwave or a week of non-stop rain. We’ve always been lucky so far during the festival days, but we’ve faced some challenges because of this in the build-up phase
Ecology has always been an important part of the festival DNA, so we try to reduce our ecological footprint as much as possible. We’ve been using eco
–cups since our start in 2013, we have specific guidelines for suppliers and we accommodate the teams during the buildup instead of letting them drive back and forth. We also work closely together with the city to keep the beach clean. This year we will hand out cigarette butts pouches to our visitors they use these instead of throwing their cigarette butts on the sand.
On what’s new this year
We extended our festival experience with 1 day (Friday) AND we have a LIVE stage for the first time where local Belgian talent will perform.
Food is a major cornerstone for WECANDANCE so we try to go a step further in our food offer every year. This year we have a new area hosted by
AIRCAFE(well-known beach restaurant by star chef Sergio Herman), and we promote using local ingredients from local farmers in our Farm-to-table zone .
We have some other very special surprises in store, especially for those looking for a more spiritual experience. I can’t share too much about that until the day itself, but we have a very special opening ceremony planned with breathing sessions, so I recommend people to come early
On this year’s chosen theme,
WECANDANCE x SafariNomads
Every year WCD is organized in a theme that matches the fashion trends of the moment. We look at what lives, the trends we see at fashion weeks, and what matches with our WCD visitors. The entire festival, including decor, graphics, entertainment and even the cocktails
gets‘coated’ with this theme. It’s not a dresscode, but we appreciate that our visitors put so much effort in dressing up to match the theme.
This year’s theme is ‘Safari Nomads
’because we saw a lot of utility wear, sand &khaki tones and leopard and snake prints on the runways. The term ‘safari nomads’ seemed to cover all of these trends. We also liked the definition of a nomad, which is someone who loves to explore and discover, no better way to describe our festival eperience .
What differentiates WECANDANCE from other festivals
The festival owes its unique boutique identity to a mix of music, food, and fashion, three cornerstones that are put forth towards a new theme for every edition. WECANDANCE is not about just a party, it offers a full-day experience where you will not only discover new music, but also new food, cocktails and fashion trends. You will meet inspiring and creative people, and I’m sure you will leave with a memory that will last a lifetime!
5 Tips/advice that you would like to pass on to newcomers?
- Come early and take your time to do a full tour of the festival. Look at the décor, details, people and take it all in before you start to party. You will be inspired.
- Don’t panic when you look at the lineup and are not familiar with a lot of the names playing. Go in with an open mind and you will discover new music and talent that you will LOVE.
- Don’t eat before, we have a very elaborate food offering that is unique in the festival industry. We have amazing dishes created with only locally sourced ingredients and we also have plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. Also, make sure you try a cocktail. They have been created exclusively for WCD by the best mixologists and match the Safari Nomads theme.
- Take off your shoes and dance in the sand. It’s not every day you can experience your favorite artists on the beach.
- Make sure you go to an outside stage during golden hour. It’s a magical moment that you don’t want to miss.
“I grew up outside of Paris, like in pretty bad area, & we grew up all together. Every type of people every color, every religion. We grew up together…From everywhere. My mom’s Arab. My Dad is French. So me, I’m a mix. and this is just like the City of Paris. It’s a big mashup, you know what I’m saying? And you feel it in my music. Everybody’s different, but I do my thing and you can feel it. I do this with love with my heart. I make my best records when I’m in Paris. What’s happening right now is people are starving, bro. People are starving, they’re paying too much tax.” DJ Snake on growing up in Paris & the current state of unrest in his hometown