Paradiso today: concert hall, club and cultural center
The Main Hall has a capacity of 1500 and hosts world famous rock, folk, soul, country, reggae and blues heroes such as Al Green (2008), Jerry Lee Lewis (2004) and Smokey Robinson (2007) but also style icons like Grace Jones (2009). This hall is often filled to the brim for popular newcomers such as Queens Of The Stone Age (2002, 2005), White Stripes (2003), Last Shadow Puppets (2008) and Lady Gaga (2009). We also have regular visitors like Maceo Parker, George Clinton, De Dijk and Van Dik Hout who come back every year to play in the special atmosphere of the old church.
In the Small Hall with a capacity of 250, we host intimate and often magical concerts. Up and coming talent plays here, often as their first step before making it big. After a successful concert in the Small Hall of Paradiso, they return to play in the Main Hall. Franz Ferdinand and Kings of Leon are just two of the many examples of artists who started out in our Small Hall, then played the Main Hall and the big stadiums soon after. Also, the Small Hall is home to eccentric artists, young and old, who will never play a big music dome but are extremely special nevertheless. For example, Paradiso's Small Hall will always have a place for artists like Johnny Dowd, Michael Gira (Swans), Bob Log III and Steve Wynn.
Throughout the year, the big stream of concerts and other events is changed up with festivals, such as the Britpop oriented London Calling festival and 5 days off, the festival for electronic music and media art.
From the beginning in 1968 audiences were dancing to live music at Paradiso, Paradiso was closed during the night and until the beginning of the eighties, there was no real club culture in The Netherlands. In 1982 DJ Eddy de Clerq started the change with his Pep Club dance nights. This legendary club night led to the rise of house music and culture in the late eighties and lots of other dance parties in Paradiso that offered a home to nightflies. Halfway through the nineties Paradiso had some regular club nights, that were also meant to offer the visitors of concerts an opportunity to stay longer. With our regular Friday night party called Vip Club, Paradiso was the first live music podium to function as a club. Soon after we started the ever so popular Noodlanding! party that still takes place today and ten years after this Paradiso hosts five club nights a week. Besides the regular night, some extremely hyped-up parties takes place a couple of times a year, such as the Oud Hollands Acid Feest, Manifesto, Lovedance and the Gouden Kabouter Awards.
Paradiso's mission is to offer more than live music, always explore the borders of pop culture and be a podium for non-musical initiatives and projects. Sometimes you'll see a fashion show, a movie, a modern classical ensemble or a science lecture about belief systems or quantum information. Throughout the years we have developed regularly returning projects, we have formed foundations to develop events in and outside Paradiso and have linked external cultural organisations closely to us.
More progressive cultural events are festivals like Night of The Unexpected, 5 days off, Sonic Acts, Kindred Spirits Weekender and La Nuit de Tomoko (Merlijn Twaalfhoven). Weerwoord is a poetry festival, I like To Watch Too brings progressive and surprising modern dance performances, yearly Paradiso lectures draws scientists to the church. Liefde in de stad ('Love in the city') is an annual event developed by Paradiso that takes place at locations outside Paradiso.
Because of the diversity in musical genres and non-musical programming, Paradiso draws a greatly diverse crowd: from young to old and from punk rockers to country music lovers, a reflection of the Dutch population. The number of events increases yearly, up to more than 900 in 2008. In 2007 we greated our 500.000 visitor of the year for the first time in history and the numbers keep increasing since.