Baby’s First Roadburn: Arrival


Arriving in Amsterdam from the United States, I found myself more excited than I would’ve thought despite the early hour (7:30). The two hours of sleep I managed to get on my flight felt both generous and scarce at the same time. With an excited bounce in my step, I made my way to a Tilburg-bound train and proceeded to fall in love with the foggy countryside which passed by my window. In under two hours, I was off my train and set to wander the streets of Tilburg, my home for the week to come. My first stop, bag still in hand, was Sounds, a local record store featuring a broad selection of CDs and vinyl related to the festival. While it was tempting to spend a large sum on rare Roadburn-related records, I kept my senses about me and instead only spent 5 Euros on a used copy of Havohej’s Dethrone the Son of God, an album I should’ve purchased a decade ago. After briefly chatting excitement with the clerk, I decided my body needed food and caffeine if I was going to survive the day.

I made my way to a small cafe whose name felt inviting due to my own website’s name: Beans & Bites. The service was friendly and the double espresso was appropriately invigorating. My sandwich was huge and well-priced, with fresh cucumber and honey making me feel so alive at a time when exhaustion was controlling my every thought. I made good use of their WiFi and then wandered down to a purveyor of spirits, T Drink, to stock up on a few beers to better endure my stay, but we’ll discuss more of that later. For those looking for descriptions of the beers I drink on this visit, fear not. I’ll be making a separate post about the beers of Roadburn once the festival has finished. After T Drink, I found my way to Stoffel, a bar I can tell I’ll be spending much of my free time visiting. I enjoyed my first beer of the festival on the sunny patio while I waited for my host to get out of work for the day.


After a meal and a nap at my host’s lovely home just south of the area where Roadburn takes place, I made my way downtown to get my press pass and to attend the pre-Roadburn party at Cul de Sac. The Hard Rock Hideout is an annual Roadburn tradition, and I quickly learned just how popular and huge it would be. I was fortunate enough to arrive about 45 minutes early with a strong beer in hand. My view of the stage was perfect for the opening act, Bang, whose bluesy hard rock was just the kind of upbeat I needed to keep myself in motion after such a long day. I initially found myself apprehensive as an enthusiast for all things “extreme,” but the power of rock’n’roll won me over after a few songs and I found myself nodding along with a grin on my face. After Bang’s set, I found my way towards the entrance to Cul de Sac in order to meet with friends. This proved to be a delightful chance to convene and it also made it impossible for me to return to the stage area where the bands were performing. While I missed out on sets by The Skull and Jucifer, I learned a valuable lesson: Roadburn isn’t just for the music, it’s about the connections we make and the people who share our passions. With a dizzy mind, I found my way back to my host’s house to sleep for over ten hours in preparation for my first real day of Roadburn. As with the last post, images documenting my adventure follow.

Bang kicking Roadburn off!


The empty streets of Tilburg before Roadburn!


Morning in Tilburg


My first glimpse of Extase!


Afternoon beers with my host, Thomas!