Into The Great Wide Open is a multi-day event on the Dutch island of Vlieland. Into The Great Wide Open is an experience that you have to be into, where you get to experience the smallest Wadden Island in all its grandeur, with an extensive program. It presents innovative, authentic, and often unknown artists who fit the atmosphere that Into The Great Wide Open creates. The fact that the audience is so open to discovering new things is firmly based in the setting of the locations, the open atmosphere on the island, and the major role that innovative programming plays. The programmers look for acts that dare to cross borders, that are authentic at heart, and also for musicians and artists who dare to embrace the sense of surprise that the weekend offers. Much like the audience, the artists also have to step into another world for a period of at least 24 hours. It sounds like a cliché, but the setting and the atmosphere are of crucial importance to the memories of the concerts you've already been to. The same goes for art in public space. Experience shows that these things thrive better in beautiful places. And Vlieland offers many opportunities in that regard. The biggest festival venues form part of Vlieland’s nature: locations in the dunes and on the beach, and every year the organisation tries to show the audience new parts of Vlieland. But very special things also take place in the beautiful settings that already exist, such as the church, the Armhuis or Podium Vlieland. These are small and remarkable locations that people have to do a bit of walking or biking to get to, seeing as they are located outside of the campsite and the main festival site. In short, Vlieland itself acts as a stage, with all the contrasts that the island offers.
Into The Great Wide Open aims at a diverse range of culture lovers who are looking for more depth, peace, nature, and diversity. The typical visitor to Into The Great Wide Open has grown up going to concerts in the club scene and festivals such as Lowlands and Motel Mozaïque. They share their love of music with friends, and increasingly with their own children. They visit concerts, museums, and arthouse cinemas, and enjoy going out with friends. Into The Great Wide Open was the first multi-day festival that they could go to with friends and family alike, and it is still the only one. Interest from the audience has been even greater than expected. Ever-more diverse styles of music, from pop and rock to free jazz, modern classical, and new electronic, are received enthusiastically, as are new forms of culture.
The festival was created nine years ago from the personal passion of a group of musical and cultural professionals who play various roles in the music, arts, and culture sectors. They all felt there was a need for a small-scale festival that focused on quality and simplicity, and that could be accessible to multiple generations. That need was shared by their friends, and then by their friends, with tickets to the second edition of ITGWO selling out in no time. The festival’s producers do their best to make its offerings available via various media. To this end, creatives are invited to contribute reports from their own perspectives, in words and images, in print and digital. ITGWO now publishes a magazine, and since the very beginning there has been a daily newspaper during the festival in which kids report on the island’s many events.
ITGWO aspires to change things: in terms of how art is experienced, but also by producing the festival in a different way. Organising an open-air festival in a natural environment means that the makers need to commit themselves to doing things in a sustainable way. In practice, this has already led to many activities being powered by solar and wind energy. The festival’s producers are international pioneers in this regard, and from their workplace, Lab Vlieland, they have entered into inspiring partnerships with brands like Tesla, Google, and Weltevree, and also with many knowledge institutes such as the TU Delft and Utrecht University. Lab Vlieland was also on the ground floor of Innofest, a collaboration between various events in the north of the Netherlands.