What I really like of Groningen is, other than the size of it suggests, there is a mature techno/house/underground scene in Groningen. Groningen used to be quitte shabby and alto during the 60s, 70s and 80s. This has resulted that the unofficial underground capital of Holland provides residence to a few great indie music venues. And so this music seem to fit in modern dandy’s and gentleman’s lifestyle
It is Groningen’s relative solitude towards other cultural hotspots the selection of underground music is so large. Groningen needs to invent and maintain itself, as others do not attent Groningen so quickly. And so there is space for creativity and invention. Mix it with the city’s student tradition and an own scene appears.
Centre in the scene is music club Vera. Club for the international pop underground. This club has been the centre of the scene since it emerged in Groningen. Vera has become a major promotor for culture and music in particular since the 1970s. The club wanted to provide platform for upcomming bands with an innovative sound. U2 and Nirvana had their appearance at Vera before their international breakthrough.
Another renowned place is Simplon. The club is located in a former factory for canned food has also its roots in hippie times. Simplon was also started as venue for social and cultural engagement. The club has itself developed as venue for the urban sound, hiphop, dance and indie. Simplon has its own gallery and own hostel. The latter could be convenient after a night out at Simplon.
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Paradigm050 is a club for the experimental house and techno music. The qualitative music and the industrial vibe make the places on of the best clubs in Groningen. And of the country: national music platform 3voor12 choose Paradigm050 as best underground location in the country: ‘Berlin experience with an excess of creativity without being pretentious’.
The annual Paradigm Festival is epic. Paradigm started in a former grain warehouse, but will be based soon at a 100% recycled building at Suikerunie area.
Second in the 3voor12 ranking list is The Gym, midnight podium for contemporary culture. The Gym is located downtown in an old school. The Gym started as anti-squatting project. It has grown as a new fresh star at the underground sky in Groningen. The Gym organizes music nights from electronic to hiphop and rock’n’roll, cultural events and every Friday evening dinner is served for just 5 euros named Crumbs in Your Bed. The place is run by artists.
Not far away from The Gym are Nightcafe Warhol and het Pakhuis. Two bar venues having their focus on indie alternative music. Both venues do not follow the mainstream vision on music and have their roots in the alto scene.
KopjeK is collective of local music creators (the residents) which organizes techno house nights on various locations in the city. Fixed venue is Etage right in the town centre. One of the concepts is LIC, Like I Care, costume parties on weird locations (a swimming pool…) having the motto: the world is a playground, my playground!
This list is among others. We did not mention the many (underground) cultural and music festivals, indie bars and the Psy Fi house for psychadelic culture. Nor did we mention the two clubs in neighbouring city Leeuwarden like Podium Asteriks and Neushoorn.