Out on the town with David: in the footsteps of U2 and Simple Minds

There’s so much to do in Groningen that you really need a guide to help you uncover the city’s hidden gems. Every week, UKrant’s student editors share their cultural agenda with you. What’s their favourite venue and which events in the upcoming week are absolutely not to be missed?

Hangout: VERA 

‘Veri et Recti Amici’ or as most Groningen students know it – VERA. ‘True and Sincere Friends’ is what the inscription means. Also for me, during my last years in Groningen, this is what the international pop underground club has become: an oasis to explore pop culture and new tunes with great friends, sharing memorable nights of non-stop smiling.

The VERA motto serves as a reminder of its roots as a reformed student club founded in 1899 for friendship and public debate. Back in the days Vera was more on the conservative side and the reformed code disapproved of drinking and music. But times have changed.

In the 1970s, VERA became a beacon of acceptance and inclusivity for all, embracing the hippy movement with open arms. Since then, the club has become a haven for unknown talent, new trends against the grain, and obscure sounds. Vera honours its legacy by living up to the name of the legendary ‘Live in Vera’ collection album from 1990: Beauty in the Underworld! Big names have graced VERA stages, from Joy Division and Simple Minds to U2, who played to a cozy crowd of 180 fans in 1980.

The club has become a haven for new trends against the grain, and obscure sounds

Nowadays, VERA is a cornerstone of the Groningen culture. With its walls full of posters, newspapers, pictures, and stickers, entering the building is like immersing myself in another realm where time stands still for a moment.

With the help of over two hundred volunteers VERA each week hosts about four concerts and a movie night. On Saturdays, you can catch concerts downstairs and dance the night away. It has a unique charm and with the variety of events and acts from around the world, visiting VERA is always exciting. Sometimes I find myself with my friends listening for hours to the sounds of the upcoming Vera acts, deciding what we fancy.

For example: Next Wednesday (May 17) punk-rock-garage band “Otoboke Beaver’ is coming from Kyoto, Japan.

Oosterstraat 44

Where you might find me this week: 

  • Stukafest 2023
    Time: May 11, 8.30 p.m. – 3 a.m.
    Price: 6.79 – 18.79 euro

Imagine being in a student room, surrounded by beer crates and study books, and suddenly an artsy performance is taking place right in front of you. Join me at Stukafest: a night filled with art, music, and creative performances which transform student rooms into mini-theatres and provides a truly unique experience.

I enjoy trying out new things and this one-of-a-kind festival that will take place in fourteen different student rooms across the city is truly a great opportunity to do so. You can also customise your festival experience by choosing the acts and the number of rounds, from theatre to photography, acoustic music to rock, and even breathing workshops and light shows..

I must say: I am not a big Eurovision Song Contest fan, so you probably won’t find me watching it. But if you are, you should consider giving the Forum viewing party a chance. There you’ll get in the Eurovision mood from the start: dance performances, a Eurovision act by a famous mystery guest, a fancy dress competition, and an exclusive afterparty..

  • Euroborg: FC Groningen – Ajax
    Time: May 14, 2.30 p.m.
    Price: 24+ euros 

The football season hasn’t gone as planned for our local club. Sadly, FC Groningen’s fate was sealed on the previous match day when it was confirmed they would be playing in the second Dutch league next season. It’s no surprise there are still tickets available for their match upcoming Sunday – although it’s against ‘big’ Ajax, from Amsterdam. While we may not witness the most polished football, I believe the fans’ passion and fervour are sure to make it a good time.

  • Spot/De Oosterpoort: Mahsa Vahdat, Rembrandt Frerichs & Alma Qquartet
    Time: May 14, 8.15 p.m. – 9.45 p.m.
    Price: 12.50 (29 years and under) or 22.50 euros (30 years and over)

I’ve been captivated by the inspiring story of Masha Vahdat. Despite being banned from performing in public in her native country, the Tehran-born singer and activist continues to enchant audiences with her marvellous vocals, paying tribute to the rich cultural heritage of Persian poets and mystics. If you’re looking for a mesmerising musical experience that stands up for freedom of expression, don’t miss the chance to catch prominent Vahdat in action at SPOT Groningen. It’s an opportunity to delve deeper into Iranian culture and the struggles of women in post-Islamic Revolution Iran through the power of music.



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