BeestFeest (Some history)

The following piece has been translated from Dutch using translation software. Therefore, it may contain some inaccurate translations.

From 1990 till 1996

After exactly five years, it was time for us, Mark van Kempen and yours truly, to say goodbye to what by now had pretty much become our ‘own baby’, the BeastFest! So a good time to take stock of the whole history of this party, because we are about the only ones who still remember how it all started. From October 1990, beta parties were also held, but they were never a success. I myself had co-organised one just before the summer holidays. That party was held in Diogones. BeeVee also participated. That night, about 50 people came to watch…Reason for the BeeVee to stop these joint parties; their own parties ran much better at the time. During the evaluation of that party, it was agreed to organise another party just after the start of the new academic year. During the consultation on that party, some of the committee wanted to organise a party in cafĂ© de Fiets, because ‘the turnout will be low anyway, then we’d better pick a not too big location.’ We were then able to convince those cie members that we should go big for once, to test whether a beta party really has no chance of success. The venue that immediately came to mind then was (of course) Doornroosje. On 4 October, the main hall was free. Then we still had to think of a name…, BeastFest! was then a logical choice. A student from Thalia designed the very first poster. Fortunately, the turnout on 4 October was quite decent, about 350 students came to watch. The committee was satisfied. It was therefore decided to organise another party at Doornroosje. On 28 February, it was again. This time, a few more people came to see us. But then came the problems with BeeVee. Suddenly a big competitor had joined BeeVee. Moreover, their own parties were starting to run less well. And on top of that, the name BeestFeest looked a lot like BeeVee Feest, especially phonetically. Board members of BeeVee, however, came to us complaining about these problems only after the second BeastFeest. Since the BeastFeest cie wanted to continue its own party, there could be no question of a name change. The problems between the cie and BeeVee were then (unfortunately) not resolved. There were people from both sides (whom I thankfully do not know) who removed each other’s posters at the time. Fortunately, a year later, relations improved, resulting in a good consultation. The Beast Party during induction was always on the first Tuesday. This has been the case since August 1991, the second year of the Feast. In 1991, it was on August 20. Tuesday has been a ‘golden move’. By then, all freshmen know what induction entails, sleeping arrangements have been made and most are already ‘loosening up’ somewhat. This party was very successful; an unprecedented crowd. A formula we used for five years was that another Beast Party was organised just four weeks after the introduction. Thus, we were always the first of a series of parties given during that period. During this period, we were more or less sponsored by Springlevend. The owner of this record shop gave us 10 to 15 T-shirts bearing his name and the name of our party. These shirts were needed for bar staff recognition. In the course of 1991, it became increasingly crowded and it was also useful for the glass collectors to be recognisable. This was because of the ‘convenience’ in collecting glasses and because of safety if something happened in the hall. Therefore, it was later decided to have T-shirts printed. Two more Beast Parties were organised in this academic year after October: on 13 February and 29 April. For the introduction that year, we switched from vouchers to tokens. This was less work and lower costs for us (the printed vouchers were sometimes perforated by hand…).To visitors, this was a service, as the coins would always be valid the next BeastFest too. Over the years, Doornroosje and the BeeVee also started working with tokens. For the year ’92-’93, we had designed a new poster based on the very first BeastFest poster and the logos of the associations and of Doornroosje. After these posters were put up, we did an extra ‘sticky round’, because so many posters had already been taken down. A kind of collectors’ item, then. This year became the year of the big breakthrough. The introduction already hit all records, in terms of turnover: more than 1100 litres of beer went through, a record with which we left the BeeVee and psychologist parties far behind! After the intro, there were parties on 1 October, 11 February and 6 May. The parties were very well attended and the name was definitely established far beyond Nijmegen. The year ’93-’94 was, as we actually foresaw, extremely well attended. Every party, even after the introduction , produced absurd numbers in terms of drink turnover and number of visitors. 1000 to 1300 litres of beer was quite normal. One party even ran out of beer. Luckily, Doornroosje still had some crates of beer in the cellar…. There were five parties that year: intro at the end of September, December, February and April. Meanwhile, I had already graduated, but saying goodbye to the Beast Party was not easy: firstly, I still felt like it and, secondly, there was nobody who wanted or could succeed me. At this moment, November 1995, we can say, the Beast Party is the best running student party in Nijmegen and maybe the best there ever was. Last year ’94-’95, we organised seven Beast Parties. That is outside the holidays, a party almost every month. And yet every party was crowded and people were already pushing at the door at 9.30pm to get in. Even standing in line for 1.5 to 2 hours is no problem for many. Surely that gives you goosebumps…. Meanwhile, we, Mark Kempen and Mark Daalderop, officially said goodbye to ‘our’ party. The organisation is now entirely in the hands of the new enthusiastic committee members. They always do things differently and, in your own eyes, perhaps wrongly (usually wrongly). Still, I think continuity is guaranteed. We are not completely disconnected from the party yet, because in December we two will provide the music and who knows, maybe after that too!

This report was written by Mark Daalderop and originally appeared in the December 1995 ‘Volgens Bartjens’.