There are a lot of people out there with a vision. Anyone with a targeted daydream can claim to have one. Whatever it is you dream of doing. I dream of owning and running a venue. I can see it in my head, how it comes together, the people there, the music playing, all of it. That’s my dream. I’m working toward it, but it’s not anywhere close to being a reality at this point. That’s where most people are. Walter Hoeijmakers (Obelisk questionnaire here) is on the other end of it — that rare person who has taken his vision, made it real, and continues to work with unmatched drive in refining and remaking his dream.
I’ve spoken at length before in admiration of what Walter does and all he continues to accomplish with the annual Roadburn festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands. It’s not just him — there’s Jurgen, Yvonne, the 013 crew, many, many people — but he’s widely regarded as the driving force, and his passion and heart reside at the core of what Roadburn has become. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you Roadburn has changed my life and changed the way I experience music every single day. In many ways, it has been the anchor of my last six years, and I was so, so happy to be there again in 2014.
When I arrived at the 013 for this year’s fest, and was greeted by Walter, the first thing I saw was the camera crew from Vice/Noisey filming the Mr. Roadburn documentary. I hadn’t slept, was unshowered, could barely keep my head up, but there was Walter, guru-calm in being unphased by the familiar stresses of the festival that was about to launch. Comment from Walter himself, as well as those playing and attending the fest (because even when you play, you also attend), it’s a good look at somebody whose work has genuinely contributed to the course of underground heavy music for more than the last decade, and someone whose influence runs toe-to-toe with any artist against whom you might want to measure. I know that when it comes to my own daydreams, he’s a major inspiration.