RONSE 2023


Usually I start my reports with a bit of an introduction, but this time I decided to go straight to the point.

It was awesome, it was special, it was unique, so let’s start with a high point of drama, an image that captured the most emotional moment, illustrating perfectly the passion invested to put all this in place.

Now, let’s rewind, and see where we were and what made this festival so memorable.

I was invited along with my colegue Midhat Kapetanovic, and even if we already met briefly before, this was in fact the first real time to get to know each other. Mido, as he is called, is always sketching, even the small airplane trays are comfortable for him.

Going to to Ronse via Amsterdam, we arrived just in time for dinner in the beautiful brewery, bathing in last rays of setting sun.

We all got to greet each other, seeing old friends and meeting some new ones.

And got the first taste of what is to come over the weekend πŸ™‚

After the dessert, off to some rest we went, preparing ourselves for tomorrow’s big action.

Some of us were at La Posterie, an old post office turned into wonderfully decorated hotel. It felt like being lodged in some Agatha Christie movie, like we might bump into Hercule Poirot, the most famous Belgian detective, around any corner.

Some of the others were at the other place that couldn’t be more different in style, but equally as charming in its modernistic and simplified approach.

During the breakfast there, I got to learn about the comic scene in Hungary, its history and development, from the two Hungarian artist among us. I really didn’t know much, so it was quite interesting to learn about their experiences.

Before starting the signing session, we were treated with a visit to the Oudenaarde museum of medieval tapestry, situated in the ancient town hall.

We had a great guide, very engaging, and it proved to be a much more complex visit than I imagined.

Not only the story of the tapestries is much more intriguing than I supposed, but there are also some additional parts of the museum – one of them housing no less than a real cabinet of curiosity!

And the additional collection of silver in the attic.

After replenishing our artistic batteries, it was time to go to the Remington hotel, the focal place of the event.

What a setting to work and have fun in! In a certain way, it felt that this festival was not only a great event for the comic aficionados, but also some kind of internal contest between the various part of the organizing team, each new place offering a new level of lavishly decorated ambiance.

And off we went, it was time to start what we came here for, with public flowing in, asking for dedications in their books.

The whole process of signing is very well organized, in preplanned and timed rotations, so there is no pressure – everyone is sure that his drawing will come so the atmosphere is free of tension and long impatient lines of visitors.

A good selection of various artist with different styles was proposed, ensuring that anyone in the public could find something for themselves. Resulting with happy faces on both sides of the tables πŸ™‚

Not only the setting of the Remington hotel is so sweet, but Audrey, the magical manager, is even more. Her level of skill and attention to detail is truly amazing, her ability to offer high-class service while making you feel completely at home.

As you can imagine, the evenings were full of laughter and exchange of experiences.

Tomorrow continued in the same way, a delicious breakfast and off to drawing.

Mido and I worked side by side and, as we both work in watercolor, dried our results side by side πŸ™‚

The evening approached, but the tempo didn’t slow down.

These captured expressions clearly show the level of engagement and satisfaction for both sides.

Then, as I said at the beginning of this report, when doors closed and everything was successfully done, even stronger emotions were shared among friends, old and new.

This level of organization demands so much effort, and for Danny and Ives, the founding duo behind the festival, it was the time of much needed letting of steam, to rid of all the pressure associated with this kind of event.

And I certainly don’t want to forget to mention Frank, the backbone of the organization, always calm in the middle of the storm. Thanks, buddy!

Tomorrow was time to fly back, but not before visiting Genth, apparently the most beautiful city in the world. At least according to one certain festival organizer πŸ™‚

I don’t know about that title, I haven’t visited them all. But it certainly is a beautiful city, offering delights on every corner.

And I don’t mean only the architectural delights πŸ™‚

It was a chance to also meet Cesar, the big guy. Contrary to his somewhat terrifying looks, he is so cuddly and adorable once you get to befriend him.

The very last beer before hitting the road, in the shadow of the famous Gulden Draak. And it seemed to me, despite all the hardships of organizing this festival, Danny already started thinking about the next one πŸ™‚

Thanks so much, guys, for your hospitality, friendship and will to go the extra mile!

In the end, I feel that my friend Mido might be the biggest “looser” in this story . This was his very first franco-belgian festival, and the bar was raised so high, that his expectations are bound to shatter sooner or later πŸ™‚ This level of quality and attention to details is really hard to reach, it definitely is not easy to keep up with these guys.

This festival easily ranks among the best there is. Just keep it that way.