From fan site to prog por­tal, Jerry van Kooten re­veals DPRP’s hum­ble ori­gins and plans for the fu­ture.

Prog - - Intro - For more, see www.dprp.net.

“We must be do­ing some­thing right be­cause peo­ple keep com­ing back!” laughs DPRP cofounder Jerry van Kooten. It was the Dutch com­puter pro­gram­mer­turned-re­viewer’s idea that led to the cre­ation of one of the longestrun­ning prog web­sites.

Fanzines, pa­per fliers and pen pals may have kept the un­der­ground scene alive in the early 1990s, but the ad­vent of the world wide web helped spread the word fur­ther afield. Arena fan Mar­tijn Al­ber­ing spot­ted the po­ten­tial and set up a ded­i­cated web­site to the Bri­tish band in 1995. Van Kooten ap­proached him with the sug­ges­tion of ex­pand­ing the on­line por­tal to a gen­eral prog fan site soon after, and the rest is his­tory.

“I’ve been a prog fan since the early 80s but, liv­ing in Hol­land, it was hard to get in­for­ma­tion,” re­veals van Kooten of his in­spi­ra­tion. “I made some friends in Eng­land, who sent me in­for­ma­tion and mix tapes, but in the mid-90s there was noth­ing [ded­i­cated] on the web. We were one of the first sites pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion on the genre so we got a very loyal fol­low­ing which has grown over the years.”

Early ver­sions of the Dutch Pro­gres­sive Rock Page in­cluded a news sec­tion and gig guide, but by the time 1998 swung round, re­views had been added and the pair even dab­bled in pro­mot­ing. The Dutch Pro­gres­sive Rock Stage was held the same year, al­though the fes­ti­val – which fea­tured IQ’s Martin Or­ford, Abraxas, Hel­reidh Lizard, and Quidam – is an ex­pe­ri­ence van Kooten has no wish to re­peat.

“Mu­si­cally, it was a suc­cess, but fi­nan­cially it was a disas­ter!” he ad­mits.

Al­though Al­ber­ing stepped down from his du­ties around 10 years ago, van Kooten still looks after and con­trib­utes to DPRP along with an ever-ex­pand­ing team of con­trib­u­tors. The Saga fan, who’s cur­rently dig­ging the likes of Toundra and Rus­sian Cir­cles, will be re­launch­ing the web­site this year with a new look.

“It’s no longer about spread­ing the in­for­ma­tion be­cause that’s hap­pen­ing all over the in­ter­net so right now, so we’re fo­cus­ing on telling peo­ple about new re­leases,” he says. “So we’ll keep on do­ing much the same… al­though that’s not very pro­gres­sive, is it?” NRS

“We got a very loyal fol­low­ing which has grown over the years.”


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