Tuesday, 20 March 2012 00:16

The festivalposters through the eyes of a connoisseur (3)

In Festival-Posters Part 3 we talk to Theo Van Baelen again, looking for the story behind the annual poster. Theo can stare at the posters for hours on end, dreaming about the meaning of the concept. Earlier this year Theo retired from the festival-board and he was over the moon when he was offered a gigantic birthday calendar with all of his festival-posters; you should know he was there at the spot but not realizing he was doing it for his very own sake.

The poster determines the festival

Year after year the posters grew more colourful with an enormous variety. Theo likes them all but still he prefers one to another. Some designs he likes because of their artistic quality, others because of the designer, or the hidden story... or maybe even an anecdote. The poster-design has always been used for the cover of the programme-booklet. But once there were no booklets left after the first day of the festival which was quite bizarre and utterly improbable. Had the missing booklets been stolen? Or burned? Or kidnapped? None of the kind for – long after the festival was over – the booklets happened to be found in a confessional box of the St.-Hubertus school-chapel.

affiche-1990c affiche-1991c affiche-1992c affiche-1993c  
1990 1991 1992 1993  

The designer of the poster in 1990 even won zelfs an important prize after thet Theo, together with the festival's president explained the concept in the Art High School in Hasselt. The European flag was used on the 1992 poster, a design of one of Theo's former students.

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1994 1995 1996 1997 1998

It is not surprising that, for the designs, staves with musical notes regularly turned up. Just check the 1994-poster. For the 43rd festival (1995) Theo painted the poster, thus trying to create a special atmosphere. At times, the creative designing process took weeks or even months until everyone involved was satisfied. And thanks to "computerpeople" like his friend Jaak who helped him a lot, it could be finished in a jiffy.

And who's next?
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1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

In 2000 the art students of WICO Mater Dei Overpelt were invited to design a poster. The result was an explosion of creativity, a think-tank for Theo. Working with youngsters keeps Theo young and challenges him to experiment some more which led to pop-art in 2001.

The 50th edition poster had CD's as theme, an inspiration of both Theo and his friend Jaak.


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2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Theo especially liked the 2004-poster that was designed by a guest. It was the beginning of a co-operation with Mater Dei, c.q. Carine Van Gerven who has meanwhile shown to be a worthy successor to Theo. Yes, he has given in his brainchild, but he is still very much involved.

The 2007-poster with the dandelion was frequently shown praise by the members of the jury. And the same goes for the 2006-poster with the five-year-old boy-conductor who showed up live on stage at the proclamation of the prizes, took the baton, started the music and ran offstage.


On the occasion of the 6Oth edition of the festival, an animation with festival-posters can be seen at different locations. More info to come later.

EMJ News 2012

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