independent

Monday 26 February 2018

Pitching up with vintage festive tents

By DAVID TUCKER

DANN Visser is a man who is passionate about his work - building and looking after beautiful Spiegeltents around the world.

The biggest of the two tents he was building in Wexford last week is being shipped to Singapore next. Dan and his team will be keeping it company.

Dan, who works for Netherland's-based Val Rosmalen, has been with the company for the past 12 years and spends much of his working-life with the vintage Spiegeltents as they travel the globe, bringing with them olde worlde nostagia and an ambience all of their own.

He says Wexford is a great venue for the Spiegeltents because it uses them for 'what they were designed for' rather than as cocktail bars attached to festivals.

Over the past few months, the Spieltent vans, of which there are two, have each travelled more than 45,000km bringing the tents all around Europe, to venues including Paris and Madrid. In additional, the tents have delighted crowds in Sydney and Adelaide in Australia - in fact they travel wherever they are needed.

Dan has a team of four from the Netherlands who travel with him and in Wexford they have been joined by four local workers.

Asked whether he has a job title as such, he says he does everything.

'I work with wood, with big machines.. I'm sort of the crew boss, I guess my job is a tent builder,' he said, a job he has perfected to a fine art over the past decade.

Last Wednesday, when work began building the tents on the Quay, high winds meant it had to be suspended for a few hours until the weather calmed down, but a day later and the builds were back on schedule.

This year Lantern Events have brought two Spiegeltents to town, with the Wexford People Spiegeltent joining the magnificent Aurora Spiegeltent.

Both were built in the Flemish region of Belgium in the 1920s. If you haven't been in one you are in for treat with their teak baroque dance floors, velvet and brocade canopies, bevelled mirror columns and stained glass windows.

Gorey Guardian

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