Issue #006 Published: 15-03-2016 // Written by: Geert & Marit

Volta’s 21st Birthday - a brief history

On April 21st Volta will turn 21, moving on to adulthood! This will be celebrated on Saturday 23rd from 16:00 till 23:00. With live performances and showcases of the variety Volta has to offer as a podium, popschool and workshops for young Amsterdam.

But also some time to reflect. Herewith a small history outline on Volta: 

The name Volta refers to its former function: the building started out as an electricity distribution station, belonging to the Westergas factory. The managing director of the distribution centre that time lived in the house next to Volta. In 1915 is was designed by Dienst Publieke Werken commissioned by Gemeente-Electriciteitswerken, a precursor to the Amsterdamse GEB. 

An extension of the building was created by Albert Boeken in 1922. After the Westergas factory closed down in the late sixties, the distribution centre closed as well. It was until the mid 90’s that the building remained unused at the Houtmankade. In 1995 Volta was established as a talent and sports centre as part of Stichting Welzijn Westerpark. Volta offered a stage, rehearsal rooms and sport activities for the youth in the Spaarndammer, - Staatslieden and Zeeheldenbuurt. At first Volta focussed mainly on youth work in the neighborhood, but soon and ever since attracted bands, participants, volunteers and audience from  the whole of Amsterdam. 

In the coming years the music genres that passed by, are countless: pop, rock, funk, heavy metal, punk, singer songwriter, hip hop, reggae, kawina, rai, etc. The past years the emphasis has been on: pop/ rock/ heavy metal/ DJ’s/ electronic music.

Volta’s events are mainly organised by interns and young volunteers since the beginning. Here they have a playground to gain experience in the cultural field. There has been a poetry performance club, a stand up comedy club, diverse music clubs (like hip hop and metal), divers theater projects and nowadays DJ showcases and band nights for young local bands: Volta’s Local Playground. 

Thousands of acts have performed in Volta or visited the music lessons or other workshops. Quite a few known bands/musicians once had one of their first performances in Volta: de Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, Back to the Zoo, Silverfaces, Mister and Missisipi, Lucky Fonz III, Douwe Bob etc. 

Over the years the frequency of the performances has increased a lot. Nowadays, not only bands perform on Thursdays, but also on Fridays and in the weekends there is a program. Volta works together with different organisations who organise events and activities for different groups.

Besides a stage Volta offers a rehearsal studio, pop school (guitar, singing, piano, drums and band lessons), workshops and a sports hall. For the workshops Volta cooperates a lot with schools. Every Wednesday there is a restaurant, run by youngsters from the  neighborhood, supervised by a professional cook.

On April 23rd we celebrate Volta’s 21st birthday and will introduce you to the program! 

Free entrance before 20:00
Guestlist only from 20:00: volta.gastenlijst@gmail.com