The previous 12 months can be summarized in a few simple words: Coronavirus. Covid-19. Global pandemic. Quarantine. Self-isolation. Social distancing. Working from home. Home schooling. Zoom. Masks. Wash your hands. It’s been tough for most of us, having to adapt to this different lifestyle, but luckily humankind is quite capable in adapting and in the end most of us managed in some way or another. For the music industry it has been a really difficult year though, and adapting to these new circumstances have been an enormous challenge. Live music has been put to a complete stand still in most countries, and artists have had to find ways to express their creativity, to find that musical outlet or in many cases to make some money. Bands and labels have released a number of live albums, new merchandise has been sold en masse, and there have been a number of live streams, online collaborations and perhaps not surprisingly many artists have been working on solo materials.
Of course, music festivals have been hit hard as well, with the majority being cancelled and postponed till 2022, if we’re lucky. Sadly but completely understandable, last year Roadburn also took a late decision to cancel the festival, which didn’t come as a surprise to many. Instead, they held a small scale online event where they had a couple of Instagram live Q&As and a few limited streamed performances. From my “working from home desk” (i.e. the kitchen table) I look at my Roadburn Festival 2020 ticket on a near daily basis, as it’s still stuck behind one of the numerous cheesy magnets on my fridge. It was going to be my 5th straight Roadburn edition and I was looking forward to catch up with my Roadburn family and friends. Amazingly, and perhaps one of the best thing to have happened last year was the creation of the Facebook group “A group where everyone is pretending to be at Roadburn”, where many “pretend” Roadburn experiences were shared, bringing a lot of smiles to the Roadburn family, but sadly also many tears for things that were being missed. This kept the Roadburn spirits alive though and just emphasized the sense of the Roadburn community spirit and the massive black hole everybody felt by missing their favourite festival and not being able to meet up with their favourite fellow Roadburners. Don’t forget that for many involved Roadburn is more than just a festival, it’s an annual pilgrimage.
Roadburn wouldn’t be Roadburn though, if the organisers wouldn’t try to “do something” with the festival this year. Obviously, a in person festival wouldn’t be an option in 2021, but the last 12 months have provided ample time for Walter and Becky to come up with an alternative “online” festival, Roadburn Redux. This might very well be the most exciting online festival to take place anywhere in the world right now. Starting this coming Thursday and lasting 4 days, there will be a huge number of live performances, pre-recorded exclusive set performances, exclusive video premieres, exclusive album streams, and much more. The whole festival can be experiences for free, though the organisers kindly ask for a donation to help them support this year’s festival, which really shouldn’t be a big issue for many considering the vast amount of exciting artists Roadburn has lined up for us!
A plethora of Roadburn alumni and regulars together with a selection of newer names have been booked to bring you the best online festival you can think of. Just to name a few, Aaron Turner, Nadja, Steve Von Till, Body Void, Dawn Ray’d, Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou, Jo Quail, Inter Arma, Kayo Dot, Mizmor and many, many more will be performing or presenting new material. Some will do so using pre-recorded performances, but very excitingly, there will be actual performances streamed live from the 013 main stage in Tilburg. Because of reasons (i.e. quarantine, travel restrictions etc) these will be mainly done by Dutch and Belgium bands and artists, but these should nonetheless be an audial and visual spectacle. Some names to look out for are Autarkh, Dead Neanderthals, Dirk Serries, Emptiness, GOLD, and many more. Check out more details here.
Besides this two record labels will showcase a number of their artists, either through exclusive premieres, live performances or exclusive sets, namely Finland’s Svart Records, and Germany’s Pelagic Records. The Ocean will be playing Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic / Cenozoic in its entirety, with many songs on this album not been played in a live setting before. Local Dutch black metal duo Doodswens will play an exclusive set based on their forthcoming debut album, released later this year through Svart Records. These are just two examples of the sort of things you can expect this coming weekend. Check out the line-up on the Roadburn Redux website to get a good idea about this weekend’s content.
The aforementioned Roadburn community spirit and also the atmosphere will of course be hard to repeat in the online setting, but there will be an exciting way to meet fellow Roadburners, as Roadburn have partnered up with a public virtual gathering platform called Bramble. You get to walk around a trippy psychedelic world as an avatar, and whilst you move around you see and hear people and their conversations depending on who you’re close to, similar to like how you would move around in a physical place. This platform will be open from 5pm CET til 3am CET on each day of Roadburn Redux, and there will be four separate spaces where you can explore and hang out, The Grass Company, 8.6 Bar, The Wierdo Canyon and The Skate Hall. Basically Roadburn is going above and beyond to try and deliver you the best online Roadburn experience possible.
It wouldn’t be Roadburn if there are going to be a number of unannounced surprises, either in performances, streams or Q&A sessions, so keep an eye out on the Roadburn socials, either on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
So, with all this being said, check out the Roadburn website for updates, including the schedule of all the performances (or check the timetable below for each day). There’s still plenty of time to look for the ultimate ‘vegan kapsalon’ recipe to help you create that perfect Roadburn experience. I might “see” you on Bramble, who knows!
One last thing, if you miss a performance then you can still watch this at a later date/time. However, this will only be available for a few days, as the content will be taken offline shortly after the festival has finished.