Born and bred near to the Rabbithole (Bergharen), Wout Nillesen was spoon-fed on rock ’n roll. Dreaming of a career as an F16-pilot he ended up in defense and was posted to Iraq, of all places. Once he had returned home safely he decided to study, and then the toughest technical college course he could find: civil engineering ‘just to see if I could do it’. He could! He opted to specialize in Construction and Technology, but unfortunately, he graduated just as the construction industry was, due to the recession, at its lowest ebbs. Many years of travelling followed (Switzerland, Mallorca) and working in catering, all the time unaware that Coreworks was searching high and low for a good engineer… At last in 2018 their paths crossed and since then Wout has been able to unleash his talents on a thousand and one challenging scaffolding structures. And luckily, he hasn’t lost his knack for it.
Elles van Grinsven was born and bred in Maaskantje. Her childhood sweetheart was one of the guys from the infamous Dutch movie New Kids. He was so smitten with her that he shaved her name on the back of his head. This didn’t do much to impress Elles. She now lives in Berlicum with her husband and kids. Kneaded and stretched as a director’s secretary for a bakery machinery manufacturer she felt the time had come for a serious change, and so fourteen years in she switched to Coreworks. Organization is in her blood: she loves supporting colleagues, easing their workload, in all sorts of ways. She is not so much a festival animal, but a true pub lover nonetheless (‘when I go out, I don’t do it by halves’). Has pulled countless pints in the Majorcabar in Den Dungen, and still does this at times. You can spot her a mile off because she will be the person blushing when put in the spotlights – well, there you go, Elles!
U2, Madonna, Iron Maiden, ACDC… all the great names on earth have stood on stages built partly by Bram Brouwer. Only Michael Jackson missed the boat by passing on a few months too soon, hard luck for the King of Pop. A yearning for adventure lured this guy from Groningen to Australia years ago, where he travelled around while building stages and enjoyed that typical down-under spirit of freedom and good fortune. Love subsequently lured him to Japan, where he worked for the gigantic Fuji Rock Festival, and where he became the dad of two little ones. And so, fully charged with work and life experience, Coreworks lured him back to the Netherlands. 船上へようこそ!!
After eighteen months as a plumber Sam Beazley-long joined Coreworks. He feels right at home with us. He was always an outdoor kind of guy and he still is. Paaspop is his very favorite up to now: it is such a big project, so many people work on it and everyone looks forward to the new season. The atmosphere is very good, and everyone wants to create something special. Sam is a hard worker and has (or takes) little free time. But he does visit his relatives in England and Scotland each year. He likes doing things with friends and loves good food. Pizza for example! Especially the pizza his mother makes, in her horse trailer/ food truck at small festivals and parties.
“There’s only one of me” is Luuk Vissers’ motto, and that is so true. He quit his ministry of defense training and signed up for the event business. And although building stages is a whole lot different from defending the country, he does not regret the switch: every day is different, the atmosphere is open and friendly, and it feels great to make something together that thousands of people enjoy. With the first festival season under his belt he has gained a lot of experience. ‘When you start out, you get to try things out at Coreworks; your mates at work always give you the opportunity to experience things for yourself.’ Solving issues is the best part of the job: ‘In reality things are always that little bit different from on paper. How do you sort that on the spot?’ Welcome aboard, Luuk.
Funny how things go sometimes: even as a school leaver, Royke Thunder was interested in the events sector, but the rumor was you were stuck in the office all day. So the army looked like a better option! But after five years of killing time he had had quite enough. His father in law got him to lend a hand at Paaspop, which fitted like a glove. Enjoying working outside, having fun with co-workers, building something with your very own hands, seeing immediate results… Everything landed on its feet after all, be it with a bit of a detour. Roy wants to continue to develop at Coreworks. The job of project leader? That’s a great target to climb towards! Royke Thunder… remember that name.
Excuse a bit of name-dropping: Bastiaan Bulkens (also known as The Bull), his sister Juultje, not to be confused with Neeltje, is going out with Bjarne. And one day Bjarne has the brilliant idea of asking Bassie to help at Paaspop. He takes a few weeks off work. Paaspop has got under his skin, he wants more, he quits his job and The Bull can be found on all major Dutch festival sites for the rest of the summer. Alright, nothing new there, but now behind the scenes! The art of stage building fits this team player like a glove. It is no coincidence that he plays in VV Toxandria Rijkevoort’s first team and that he builds a mad carnival float with his friends from De Ketsploaten every year. Talk about team spirit!
Hardly out of International Event Music & Entertainment Studies (IEMES) and already a project manager at Coreworks, that’s more than promising. He was actually personally scouted for this post by Giel Vissers, former fellow villager and leader at Jong Nederland. Where else we know Mark Welten from? For twelve years, he starred as bass player of the Eindhoven punk rock band The 101’s, with which he toured Europe several times and brought out the CD Counterbalance, produced in the USA by the legendary Sam Pura. So rockability will certainly not be an issue. At Coreworks he made his debut on the colossal stage for New Horizons. Pretty impressive it was too!
Little Vic came to us for a holiday job as a little sprog* three years ago, only to overtake his uncle Victor in height and width in no time at all. It is difficult to imagine the wharf without him now. Little Vic is a true all-rounder. His jobs are very diverse: racing around on a forklift truck, hitting the road for a job, taking care of extra deliveries, loading and unloading trucks, sawing stage sheeting and most of all: keeping a clear head in high-season turmoil. What he likes so much is the true team spirit and the great atmosphere within the crew. Good people, hard work, grabbing a beer afterwards and joking around, fantastic! Who knows, he might still get back to his studies international event music & entertainment, but there is more than one road to Rome. And this is a pretty nice way of getting there.
*his own words
Mart Stoffele is the oil in the well-oiled machine that is called Coreworks. Terrific Stoffel ensures that everyone knows exactly what is to happen when, at what location and who is doing it. Plenty of experience, including life experience: after having worked for Gigant on and off for ten years, he went on a long trip to Australia, where he kept aircon systems going in Kakadu National Park, worked as a quad cowboy on a cattle farm the size of the Netherlands, castrated bulls, repaired windmills and eventually ended up with major stage builder Clifton Productions in Melbourne. Blood is thicker than water! He crisscrossed the continent by plane to build scaffolding constructions. Highlight: Edinburgh castle in Layher scaffolding. A very educational experience, for the Aussies that is.
He doesn’t go to many festivals himself, and he doesn’t really listen to music much either...and still, Superior Koen is project leader for some of Coreworks' most beautiful festival projects! He prefers to join the foreign missions; projects that trigger his improvisational talent (Boomtown), challenge his inventiveness (Glastonbury), or his talent to communicate flawlessly with a crew that does not understand a word of English (Daydream Mexico), let alone Dutch. The secret of his success: making sure you get enough rest and not burning the candle at both ends. A background in mechanical engineering does of course help, but the skills he has gained on his many trips abroad are priceless. The kind of practical wisdom that no course can teach you.
As a driver, he has clocked up many kilometers, crisscrossing Europe by truck. As Coreworks’ yard sheriff, Johan has also clocked up quite a few kilometers on his forklift truck, crisscrossing the warehouse. A great twist in his career, because Heroic Johan is a team player. Together with the yard chief (First Rate Giel indeed) he supervises the optimum performance of the yard. His practical insight, his accuracy and his nerves of steel ensure that all materials are in the right place, are loaded in the trucks in the correct order and are transported to the right location. Johan knows, whatever happens: the show must go on.
Spring 2014, Bjarne is working as a cook, runs into Victor, they start talking and the rest is history. For sure it took Bjarne some time to get used to the altitude, the physical challenge, the climbing, the being outside. But it didn’t take too long and he was off - onto creating something grand (The Flying Dutch Rotterdam!), that’s just a sample of how this Tarzan is now. And progressing toward Coreworks core team, makes it impossible to get this genie back into the bottle.
This construction engineer brings Brabant in danger as a member of the 2-stroke motorcycle gang Vespa Cowboys. Practicing Thai boxing in an old Jumbo grocery store. And in the same workshop he makes the most beautiful objects. Organizes occasional illegal forest parties and likes visiting concerts and festivals. So far so good. But has he time for all this since he became constructional engineer at Coreworks? No. Regrets? None. A typical case of a bear in the woods.
Old love never dies: Bart knows Coreworks – or rather founder Victor – forever. He worked twelve years with stage builder Gigant, at the same time that Victor was co-owner. Afterwards, Bart was for five years a freelancer for Coreworks. As a child he fabricated rabbit hutches and played with Lego Technics. Now Bart is in charge of planning, sales and customer management. His stage dream: build a stage for Guns N’ Roses in New Zealand. Axl, start knocking on Coreworks door!
Tens of thousands of colorful building blocks he had in his hands. Childhood is over. But his ego remains built of Lego: construction is in his blood. Wouter was a youth worker for nine years in Uden. Then he changed track. After two years of work as a display builder and stand builder, he made the switch to Coreworks. He praises the atmosphere: professional, and friendly. His dream? Someday build a giant stage in Texas or Alabama.
Cheerful name, right! Suits him. In the world of music, lights, stages, and dance floors, Jack feels most at home. What drives him? It started early, his father is a contractor in Vught. Initially he worked as a tiler and maintenance technician. Working projects with his father. Yet Jack ended among other scaffolding – that of Coreworks. What pleases him is the diversity. One day he works on the 7th Sunday Festival in Erp (Noord-Brabant), the other day for a conference in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht (Gelderland). What his boss doesn’t know: Jack would love to build a stage on the Dutch Antilles. Caribbean Disco.
This former plasterer and docker seems to have escaped from one of Roald Dahl’s stories: the Big Friendly Giant. He likes to put his shoulder into things. He towers at 2.03 m and weighs a hundred kilos. He really loves Coreworks. It’s all in the variety for him. His dream stage? One with a lot of intricate structures like at the Belgian festival Tomorrowland. His highlight up to now: being part of the European crew for Ennio Morricone. With love from France, Switzerland, Czech Republic and another six countries. Signed: Dennis.
The administrative heart of Coreworks. MBA plus courses payroll and financial administration. Dedication. Calm and in control: with an average heart rate of 72 bpm. That may rise to 180 bmp in festival season. Earlier, Marion worked in accountancy. But of course, Coreworks is 101 times more exciting. Building is also in her DNA. Father, brother, uncles: all in construction. Her favorite pastime: motorcross competitions and visiting festivals. But to sleep in a festival tent? Hell no.
At home when working with his hands. As a child he often built huts in the woods. With an entrepreneurial spirit. Motorcycle hobbyist. Former café owner and former paver but still building the road to happiness. Where? At Coreworks. The mix of expertise and collegiality appeals to him. His rush? Exceeding expectations while in a cooker pressure. Time constraints, maddening dimensions, stages build on roof tops: he likes it. In fact: he thrives under pressure.
He is the lithobius forficatus. In other words: the centipede. Earning his chops in construction. Recurring task on his to-do list: make test setups. Ben is confident building stages in both Den Bosch and Aruba, where in 2013 Willem-Alexander and Máxima danced on. Ben even has his own namesake: a Bennie(R) is a smart bar for attaching cloth or sail on a podium deck.
Michiel was in the distant gray past- a paver, in an orange past a TNT package employee, and in the multicolored present- he is the wharf manager. A man born with his sleeves rolled up. Doer, solver, go-getter. As a child he learned the tricks of the trade: his childhood home –a farm in Erp – is literally built from scratch. Michiel ensures the correct translation of drawings to the loading lists. His trademark: clean materials, orderly packed. If he were given free rein of festival organizations, Michiel would like to make more creative venues for rock and metal bands. His dream concert? Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam. Location: his backyard. Big enough? The neighbors will get involved, says Michiel.
Studied Architecture at the Intermediate Technical School. Learned the art of technical drawing in auto-cad. Fifteen years he worked at stage builder Gigant. Then he made the switch to Coreworks. His love for staging is simple to explain: Dirk likes to party – there where it has been or is going to be fun. He coordinated the build of stages and grandstands for the visits of the Dutch King and Queen Willem-Alexander and Máxima on Aruba. His dream location for a stage- Table Mountain in South Africa.
In a former life a rabbit breeder and cook, today a Coreworks co-owner! He studied business administration. Driven. A Speedy Gonzales. Prefers a bit of grit. Doesn’t see himself working in a high rise office, or at the Tax office in glaring fluorescent light checking tax assessment forms. Guus prefers to pay the piper to party, because Guus loves life. Ultimate mission: to think along with the client and make something from scratch. Give him a patch of grass and a few tons of steel – you’ll see for yourself. He has a weakness for creating imposing main stages with a killer band. Play now!
Founder of Coreworks, co-owner with Bart and Guus since 2015. Victor is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get dirty. He raises the bar high and takes it to the next level. Where others are left scratching their heads and reaching for an aspirin, Victors grabs every challenge. He has a penchant for network organizations, pioneers and old cars. Having transformed a former East German city bus into a rolling office for visiting festivals at home and abroad- His current mobile headquarters: a GMC camper. Of course- the door is always open.