There are now exactly 10 weeks until Roadburn 2016 opens its gates – 70 long days – and I can’t remember anything music-related that has had the power to produce quite the same amount of excitement and exhilliration in me – well, perhaps my first ever live experience, going from the middle of nowhere to Copenhagen to see Artillery and (then already mighty) Slayer – must have been May or June 1985. Who’s to say – it’s been such a long time. Neurosis hadn’t even started yet…
There are a few things that strike me with regards to Roadburn – when correlated with experience from other festivals.
First of all, it’s not a genre-festival – it’s actually quite diverse with regards to the bands appearing. On the other hand – it’s not a generic festival – like Roskilde for instance – either. It’s some kind of middle-ground, given that it does have a context, some kind of guiding principles, that might be hard to grasp at first, but when diving into the bands that are presented it slowly dawns that yes – there is a specific context, and it might well be truly hard to express, but it can definitely be felt. Emotion. Exploration. Challenge of conventions. Darkness. And light.
In fact – let’s for a second entertain the idea, that this world is simply a simulation run inside a giant, impersonal computer – everything presented at Roadburn might very well originate from inside the memory-area representing my “mind”. It resembles my musical tastes that closely.
Another thing, something that has surprised me (in fact, astounded me is more precise), is the fan-reactions. Take a look at some of the metal festival pages out there – and other metal-pages in general. Take a look at what happens when new bands are announced at festival, when news are reported, when albums are reviewed.
You get something around a 50/50 split between people being happy about the announcement – and people being totally pissed about the same! Pissed! As in “now you’ve booked band X, I definitely do not want to attend this year”. As in “Band Y sucks and does not deserve to enter any stage”. As in “how dare you book a band as abysmal as band Z”. In fact, when Copenhell announced shortly before the 2014 festival, that Megadeth would not be able to attend, but they had been able on short notice to book big Danish rockband D.A.D. for a special set instead, people where whining that this would destroy the entire festival?! That would indeed be a bizarre incident… implosion by band!
Not so with Roadburn… the comments you see here about band announcements are generally positive to extremely positive. I reckon this is due to at least 2 things: 1) The Roadburn audience is generally more open genre-wise and with regards to experimentation and such. 2) Roadburn as such encourages people to be more open-minded.
So, instead of whining about something that’s perhaps not for them – people tend to focus on what they think is great and/or awesome. And generally keep an eye (and an ear) open for anything new they haven’t encountered yet. Which of course, in turn, only enhances the feelings of great expectations churning around in my stomach – with images of this great place of cameraderie among true music lovers exploding through my mind.
I know I pay for the privilege of attending – but I also know, I’ll feel extremely honored being there, among those great, open-minded fans, those fantastic musical creators, and those amazing people organizing it, making it all happen.
I can’t wait to be there and see you all – and have one hell of a party.