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The Grachtenfestival celebrates its 25th anniversary and these are the artists to watch

Ten days, about 200 concerts, and more than 100 venues throughout Amsterdam, that's Grachtenfestival in a nutshell. It originated back in 1998 as a four-day festival, with a prime focus on classical music. Over the years the festival, and its sound, kept on expanding. We've spotted quite a few of incredible names on this year's roster, so here's a quick guide for the acts we think are definitely worth checking out:

August 13 -> Tim Wes

Location: Paradiso

Tim is a 28-year-old multi-talented artist from Rotterdam who started out playing saxophone in his early days. Over the years he kept on adding various other instruments, but also singing, production, and even fashion. He's definitely one to watch and every project he gets involved in instantly becomes more interesting. For this night he was asked to create something special for the Compositional Assignment and we cant wait to see what he's been cookin' up!

August 15 -> RADIOHOP

Location: Cinetol

Free entrance

This dynamic quartet has only been playing shows together for a little over a year, but they've been making noise in the Dam, that's for sure. We were lucky to bump into them early in the process when they just met up at the Conservatory and formed the group. Steppin' and the RADIOHOP guys really clicked musically and we started booking them for some of our events, such as their debut happening at last year's Vondelpark event we did. Their sets are always heavy groove-oriented, rooted in soul, funk & jazz but with the grittiness of raw hip-hop. If you're not hip to them yet, it's never too late to correct that. Go check them out on Monday afternoon. Also, it's free!

Location: Johan Cruijff Arena

The very first Grachtenfestival concert ever in the Johan Cruijff ArenA in its 25-year existence! Put together in collaboration with The New Originals Jazz Club there will be a jazz band with 8 established musicians under the musical direction of BNNYHUNNA. We are going to have the unique opportunity to witness the mainly Zuidoost based collective pay tribute to the neighborhood they grew up in during the performance. And as if that wasn't enough, the band will be accompanied by a true Gospel Choir(!)

August 17 -> Arp Frique & Family

Location: Sexyland World

It's no secret that at Steppin' into Tomorrow we love what Arp Frique (Niels) is doing. Bridging gaps and bringing people, sounds and continents together is what Arp Frique stands for and what he wants to achieve in his new album 'The Seed', recently released on the Amsterdam label Rush Hour (also a movie). Arp Frique made the album with the help of the talented Mariseya, Americo Brito, The Scorpios and Orlando Julius and the live show, like their new album, is a very energetic mixture of styles, with disco, synth boogie, funk, Caribbean, West African and East African influences.

August 17 -> Gita Buhari

Location: Pllek

You won't regret making your way to the North of Amsterdam for the mesmerizing live show of Gita Buhari. Combining elements of trip hop, soul and shoegaze, the band proudly returns to the stage with their new EP 'Blood Lily' with a unique blend of organic and electronic elements. She is truly a character that likes to break the rules and explore new territories as much as possible. Pllek is a beautiful location on top of that, with an incredible sunset view, so it's bound to be a magical evening indeed.

August 18 -> SMANDEM.

Jazz @ Night & Jam Session

Location: Rode Hoed

The fresh four-friend-strong collective SMANDEM. of creatives, musicians and producers hailing out of Amsterdam made up of four main members: Rafael Devante Sinay on guitar, Aäron Bouwman on bass, David Nino van der Grinten on keys and Kick Woudstra on drums will present their latest music at one of the most beautiful locations in Amsterdam: the Rode Hoed. Expect a unique live show full of surprises and be ready to get blown away. Also, after the performance, there will be a jam session that doesn't require tickets, so everyone's welcome to join in!


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James Brown
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