All in all, 3,000 tickets were sold to the dozens of performances in the city centre, ranging from the wild musical stylings of Skip&Die to a reading by Faberyayo and a performance by Raoul Heertje. There were long lines for the presentations by André Kuipers, Katinka Polderman, and Hans Aarsman, yet it was a lot less busy than last year.
In 2011, 2012, and 2013, the number of visitors was around 15,000. The Groninger Museum alone drew 5,000 visitors. Last weekend, there were ‘merely’ 3,000, which was the same turnout as last year.
‘Ever since the Groninger Forum got involved with the festival (in 2015, ed.), the Night has become more compact’, says Milou de Boer, who works at the Night of Art & Science. ‘We’re now more focussed on art and science than on musical performances. There are no more outside stages that are openly accessible. Music is an art form of course, but we are not a music festival.’
The Night’s objective is to make art and science easily accessible to a wide audience. Is the decline in visitors a disappointment to the RUG who, together with the municipality and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, sponsors the event? RUG spokesperson Gernant Deekens declined to comment on that. ‘As always, we will contribute to evaluating this edition. We will discuss all aspects of the Night, including the visitor numbers. The evaluation still has to take place’, he says.
De Boer, for one, is satisfied with how the festival went, as well as the visitor numbers. ‘Although if I’m honest, there could’ve been more.’