Sunday, 7 February 2016

Reflection & Advice - The importance of narratives

Since this will be my last blog entry, I will reflect on everything that I have done and seen in Groningen as a tourist. I really enjoyed the young and open atmosphere of the city that happily surprised me with its music scene. Groningen is not known for it, but if you dive deeper you will be able to find special music spots, for instance the jam session in the saloon and the Latin dance party. My advice for music lovers travelling to Groningen would therefore be: try to get into touch with people who live in the city to find ‘authentic’ spots and take a closer look at Facebook, where I found several pages where they post live music spots.

For me, making blogs was an opportunity to tell my story and help others. These narratives are crucial to understand tourist experiences. What do people see? How do they experience things? It also gives an insight to their own background, since people often write from their own perspective, as they want friends for instance to understand what they have been through. Narratives are also important in telling newly met people about things you have seen (as a tourist), so helps to create a bond with other people. Altogether, narratives reflect your identity and also help to shape it. My visits to spots in Groningen shaped my view of the city, and I will add this beautiful experience to my life to pass it on through these narratives. I hope I have helped others to find ‘The sound of Groningen’ through my narratives. If you have any questions left you can always contact me. Maybe I will see you some other time in Groningen!

1) McCabe, S. & Foster, C. (2006). The Role and Function of Narrative in Tourist Interaction. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 4:3, 194-215.

Jam session

One evening when I was walking back from the city to my hotel, I passed a sign that stated ‘Acoustic open jam session’ and since I love to listen to music and make some myself, I decided to walk in. Surprisingly, after walking down some stairs I arrived in a small, but quite new saloon in American style. Some musicians were playing instruments and singing and it sounded absolutely beautiful, so I decided to stay. After some time I finally found the courage to get on the stage myself (as you see on the picture). I got received a lot of compliments and appreciation for my courage and soon I felt like I belonged to the other musicians who were there to show others their passion, seeking for authenticity.

‘Authenticity’ is a central concept in tourism, but also in music tourism. It is ‘central to the production and consumption of music, irrespective of the extent to which it might be linked to tourist activities.’ Places that are mostly considered as authentic, are places where musicians come together and where they compose music. Some cities or places are known for developing the roots of certain music scenes, like New Orleans is known for its jazz music. However, all types of music scenes spread as the world is getting smaller, and this way people can show their talent and their taste of music, even in Groningen. This made the jam session also authentic, everyone had its own style and gave everyone the chance to enjoy each other.

Me singing at the Acoustic Open Mic Session

1) Gibson, C. & Connell, J. (2007). Music, Tourism and the Transformation of Memphis. Tourism Geographies, 9:2, page 168.