So, after a night of partying pretty hard with my good friend Daniël in The Hague, I turned towards Tilburg, arriving at the campsite during the afternoon, in beautiful, warm spring weather.

Getting off the train, the first thing I noticed was of course all the fantastic Becky Cloonan banners gracing the town – which was such a great pleasure to see – her art is amazing and all those banners did add quite the atmosphere and perhaps even lent everything a bit of a surreal tinge. This is not actually Tilburg, but rather Roadburn City.

Pitching the tent was of course no problem, so all I had to do was wait for the Hardrock Hideout at the Cul De Sac this evening. Time spent buying some necessities and sleeping for a bit, since the effects of alcohol consumption from the day before was starting to show somewhat…

Around 7 I then ventured out in search for the 013 place to get some kind of understanding of the place where I’ll be immersing myself into great music for the coming 4 days – and also to get my wristband, so I can get into the arena in time for Cult Of Lunas performance, and not having to stand in line through the hole thing.

There was an atmosphere of expectation surrounding the 013, an aura of things to come quite tangible – but the crew there seemed incredibly relaxed and there was this feeling of friendly togetherness already. And in no time the wristband was in place, and it dawned upon me – yeah, I really am at Roadburn 2016.

So I made my way to the Cul De Sac, a small bar with an even smaller stage, where the Hardrock Hideout was set to go down. Where Bang would be kicking everything off – which was of course a real pleasure, seeing as I wouldn’t be able to catch their regular show during the festival.

Really nice set by Bang, 3 guys on the stage simply enjoying dthe hell out of themselves, on their very first European tour ever – quite something for a band with more than 40 years under their belt. And boy was the venue packed – the heat, the people, the music – such a great way to get started.

And of course, things didn’t turn for the worse when The Skull took the tiny stage, delivering a great, intimate set perfectly balanced between old Trouble classics and newer material of their own – material that actually did seem to stand out above the classics, as a testament to exactly how great an album For Those Which Are Asleep really is. And ending the set with a beautiful rendition of the title track from that album, really whet my appetite for the 2 sets they’ll be playing at the festival itself.

By the time The Skull finished up, the heat, the lack of sleep etc did start taking its toll, so even though I would have loved seeing Jucifer tear apart the Cul De Sac, I had to leave early – with butterflies churning in my stomach with expectations for the things to come on the first day of the festival.

And, as a testament to how ridiculously fantastic the line-up is at Roadburn 2016 – here’s a list of some of the artists from the Thursday programme I’m not going to catch, even though I would really have loved to, and I’ll be mourning the loss!

First up is the amazing drone-masters from The Poisoned Glass.

Then Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand, whose blend of electro-rock and sheer psychedelia got wedged in at an unfortunate time in the programme. For me.

Oranssi Pazuzu should be an amazing psychedelic experience, as should artist-in-residence Misthyrming with their amazing slab of dark, dark Icelandic black metal.

And finally Abysmal Grief‘s incredible doomy landscapes.

All fantastic bands who would enhance any festival in the world.

Roadburn here we come!