Psychout Circus: Arnhem’s Own All-Day Psychobilly Freakout

After two sold-out shows in its first two years, Arnhem’s Psychout Circus 2014 psychobilly festival is moving to a bigger venue for the biggest all-day, all-psychobilly show ever to come to The Netherlands!
Inspired by his experiences from the early days of the Arnhem psychobilly scene and traveling on tour with The Bodybags and The Griswalds, Psychout Circus organizer Laurens got a team together and created the band line-ups and laid-back backyard party atmosphere that draws psychobilly fans from all over the world. Laurens tells Voodoo Tattoo Magazine the story behind Psychout Circus and what’s inside the tent for this year’s show!

Psychout Circus 2014, 29 March at the Luxor Live in Arnhem, NL
Buy tickets online at PsychoutCircus.nl
Photos by Gerben Grotenhuis, Jessie Bessie and Vladimir “Nils” Antonov
Flyer design by Spaceghost

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Psychout Circus 2014 banner designed by Spaceghost

Voodoo Tattoo Magazine: When you first became interested in psychobilly, what were some local psychobilly shows or festivals you had been to? Where did you go for psychobilly shows?
Laurens of Psychout Circus: Psychobilly in Arnhem started for us when the very young Ramon Sitoci and Simon Wilting started a band called The Bodybags. I don’t think there has ever been a psychobilly band before in Arnhem, so as friends of these guys we were all curious what the hell they were doing with the double bass! Around this time, the legendary underground venue Goudvishal had a sudden surge in psychobilly bands on stage: Meteors, Demented Are Go, Caravans and more. This must have been around 2006, I believe.

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Sick Sick Sinners on stage at Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Vladimir “Nils” Antonov

VTM: Did you organize any other psychobilly events before the Psychout Circus?
PC: When Goudvishal sadly had to close its doors, we got the opportunity in 2009 to organize a psychobilly show with Demented are Go and the Bodybags in Willemeen. This started a wave of psychobilly shows in Willemeen and better times for The Bodybags.

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Fallen Angels Rollergirls in the crowd at the Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Gerben Grotenhuis

VTM: How did the idea for the Psychout Circus get started? What about this show is different from other shows you’ve been to or organized?
PC: After traveling a lot with The Bodybags and The Griswalds, who I both worked for, we got to see a lot of psychobilly festivals, learning from them, seeing pros and cons. We had the idea that we could be different by using two stages and making it a full day (from 12:00 o’clock till late at night), and having a more relaxed schedule.

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Two of three Howling Wolfmen hanging out at Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Gerben Grotenhuis

PC: People want to hang out with their friends who they only get to see at these festivals. Before you know it, you’ve missed 3 bands because of the tight time schedule on one stage. Plus, we would be the only psychobilly-exclusive festival in the country. This made us decide is was time to use the contacts we acquired on tour to organize our own festival!

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Crowd shot outdoors at the Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Jessie Bessie

VTM: Who are your partners in organizing the festival? In what ways do you work well together?
PC: I do the bookings and most of the contacts (sponsors, the venue, etc.), Dennis a.k.a. Spaceghost does the incredible branding and design of our festival (of which we are very proud), Daphne leads the production and we have Sander and Erik (from The Griswalds) helping us with various jobs. Besides our crew we get a lot of help from the Willemeen crew, even now after moving to the bigger Luxor Live venue! Willemeen has been very helpful and gave us the chance to create this awesome festival!

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The Griswalds on stage at Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Gerben Grotenhuis

VTM: What are some of the memorable highlights from the past two festivals?
PC: For the first edition it was definitely the great response we had from the crowd that stood out! We were expecting around 200-250 visitors, but we packed the house with over 350+ people. It was a sunny day and everybody sat outside enjoying their beers in the middle of the day, haha! We had to move Sir Psyko and his Monsters from the small stage to the main stage, because we were afraid the crowd was going to break down the small hall which only holds around 125 people!

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Psychout Circus 2012 flyer designed by Spaceghost

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Psychout Circus 2013 flyer designed by Spaceghost

PC: The second, very cold, edition had great performances by bands like Magnetix and Guitar Slingers and we got a great response from the crowd! We have had visitors from Italy, Japan, Russia, you name it! This really means a lot to us, seeing people appreciate our hard work.

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Crowd shot at the Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Gerben Grotenhuis

VTM: Tell us about this year’s show, will anything be different than in previous years?
PC: We’ve moved to a bigger venue! This will bring the biggest change I’m sure! Despite how much we love Willemeen and its old, weird building, it’s time to give our crowd a little more space! Luxor Live is just around the corner from Willemeen and can hold around 700 people. It was built in 1915 as a theater and has recently been given a full renovation, bringing back its old glory. It’s insane how beautiful this venue is on the inside! We’ve got a huge main hall, in which we can place the merch areas (so not the crappy backroom anymore), a balcony, which will be the restaurant, a cozy second hall, a smoking room (!), and lots of hallways for catching up with friends!

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Erik from the Griswalds at Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Vladimir “Nils” Antonov

PC: Although we’ve moved the festival, the basic idea will never change: we will always book those bands you won’t see that often at other festivals, let alone in The Netherlands, the hidden gems, and of course lots of young bands who we believe deserve more attention!

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Dead Elvis and His One Man Grave at Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Gerben Grotenhuis

VTM: What bands are you most excited to see? Who is playing at the Psychout Circus for the first time?
PC: All our bands are worth seeing of course, haha! But to name a few: Graveyard Johnnys had to cancel last-minute last year, we are glad they want to give it another go! Retardead Rebels are friends from Italy that make a very unique kind of psychobilly. Thunderbirdhead is a high quality new band with familiar faces. Dillberriezz are coming over to Western Europe for the first time ever. And of course having Meantraitors over is very special for us, not only because we love the Russian / Eastern European scene (that they themselves started), but also because they are in great shape!

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Ben666 from Sir Psyko and His Monsters at Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Vladimir “Nils” Antonov

PC: Most of the bands are playing over here for the first time as we try to give our audience new bands every time. The Howling Wolfmen we couldn’t resist rebooking, they are just too damn good! Psychout Circus is not complete without The Griswalds. Not only because half the crew is in The Griswalds, but also because The Griswalds get the party going the way we want to at the Psychout Circus!

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Sir Psyko and His Monsters at Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Vladimir “Nils” Antonov

VTM: Do you have any other events in the works for later this year? Any psychobilly festivals that you’re planning to go to this year?
PC: We used to do a lot of psychobilly shows around Psychout Circus. Nowadays, we focus more and more on the festival itself. No plans as of yet, but you never know! We are fans of some other festivals: Psychomania Rumble in Potsdam is very nice. Summertime is back in Elm (all you can eat and drink for a low price!) was an instant classic after last years insanity! And of course, our yearly company trip to Psychobilly Earthquake in Bremen, perhaps the best psychobilly event in the world (after Psychout Circus, that is, haha)!

Check out PsychoutCircus.nl or the Psychout Circus Facebook page to get the latest news about this year’s band line-up and info about hotels and things to see in Arnhem!

–Miss Psychobilly Bass

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The Caravans on stage at Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Gerben Grotenhuis

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Crowd shot at the Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Jessie Bessie

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Ben666 of Sir Psyko and His Monsters on stage at Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Vladimir “Nils” Antonov

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Gary Griswald at Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Vladimir “Nils” Antonov

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Crowd shot at the Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Gerben Grotenhuis

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The Swampys on stage at Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Vladimir “Nils” Antonov

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Dead Elvis and His One Man Grave at Psychout Circus 2012 – Photo by Gerben Grotenhuis

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Psychout Circus 2014 flyer designed by Spaceghost