For those who wonder why the city is overflown by people dressed in black, up to next sunday

The city streets of Tilburg will colour black up to Sunday. Music lovers with dark clothes are coming from all over the world to the music festival Roadburn. Which is sold out again, heaving about four thousand visitors, while it’s known for its heaviness, experimentality and (for the average music fan) pretty difficult music. How can that be? And if it makes one curious, where should he start listening? 3voor12 Tilburg enquires three experts.

Finnish metalhead Aino Purhonen visits Roadburn for the seventh time. This year she organizes a cook-off for festival people. She knows “how awful people can cook sometimes”, but wants to eat together for fun.

Maarten Koehorst is the face of Sounds Tilburg, the record store in the city center. He is not averse to the heavier sounds. Patrick Lamberts is a music journalist and has been writing for years for Dutch metal magazine Aardschok. The three experts might know what makes Roadburn so attractive to visit…

For Aino, who really helped me out, I wrote this English version. The article was orginally Dutch, written for music platform 3voor12 Tilburg. Lees de Nederlandstalige versie hier. Enjoy!

All those heavy music genres are just a lot of noise, right?

Maarten: “Roadburn is much more than that. The whole context of Roadburn is ‘heavy’. So there are not the happiest people around – but above all, the mood is very neighbourly. The heavyness mainly takes place in the intensity of the music. It’s not necessarily loud. There might as well be a singer-songwriter who plays very dark.”

Aino: “Dare to try something new! Even though it’s a festival for heavy music, it’s quite varied. The festival is about discovering, for me as well. It might be intimidating to see your city flooded with people in the same black clothing, but as underground as the music is for others, as normal is it for us.”

Patrick: “Jokingly they sometimes call it bearded-men-music. It’s also black and heavy. In any case, you will never hear it on the radio. It is niche, but that’s precisely why this unity arises among the festival goers. They come together to listen.”

The are so many genres though. Can you explain the ins and outs?

Patrick: “I’m working on it professionally and sometimes I can’t even keep up with it. The ‘family tree’ of genres is so branched. Roadburn is experimental, heavy and obscure. Not necessarily loud, but there are low basses and a dark feeling.”

Maarten: “Providing insight on the genres is difficult. A genre like psychedelics, also on Roadburn, meanders a lot. They aren’t three minutes songs. Experiments take place. Musicians take the time and get the time to do so.”

Aino: “It’s hard to define the genres. Those can be very exciting or calm and soothing, fast and loud, hard and aggressive or just plain weird. The different music evokes as many different feelings as a person can have.”

What makes a festival like Roadburn so special for you?

Maarten: “There are loners, village lunatics wearing jackets with band names you can’t read. At Roadburn they’re suddenly together, four thousand people, enjoying the same music. That’s what I think is beautiful. Fraternization. A black stain over Tilburg with people who look very scary for the regular citizen, but are as sweet as a pussycat. Music freaks who go deepen certain music genres.”

Patrick: “Unique to Roadburn is that people all over the world are coming. What many of them are looking for in this music is honesty. Emotions you don’t talk about right away. In the music it is pronounced that life is not always easy. Music is emotion and is shared in that way. It can get quite obscure, in some cases even going too far me. Where one person works out to clean up his mind, the other listens to music that’s so loud it swallows you up.”

Aino: “I am a music lover and i’m curious. Roadburn fully provides for this. The festival is unique in its kind. Besides The music we have a community of people from, for example, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. We spend the whole week in the holiday cottages at Beekse Bergen. For many, that is an annual being together. The music connects us. It’s like having a full vacation filled with good music.”

This you should hear: a stepping stone for Roadburn

What you should hear to get in the mood or because it’s just very good: Maarten and Aino made an album list of old and new servents on Roadburn.

The Complete Official Roadburn-Playlist can be found here.

Did you become curious? Friday evening April 12 the ‘Roadburn-Endorsed’ bands Wayfarer And Entropia play in Little Devil. The entrance is free.