Leaving Roadburn 2019

roadburn 2019 donders posters

04.15.19 – 12.21 CET – Monday afternoon – Gate D60, Schiphol Airport

Rumor has it we board in about an hour, but the plane isn’t here yet. There’s no rush apart from the usual going-to-a-place-so-I-gotta-get-to-the-place-I’m-going mania. Flying is always a lot of hurry up and hurry up and wait. That and recycled air.

This weekend was incredible. Over the course of a given year, especially as I’ve been trying to go to more shows, every April is always a reminder of how truly special Roadburn is. Not even just the bands playing — I think I knew fewer bands on this lineup than any of the previous 10 Roadburns I’d been to — but the setting, atmosphere, the intangible vibe of creativity that’s everywhere and so joyful. No matter how dark the music gets, or how grueling the emotions involved, if it’s to be a catharsis, then there is joy in that release.

When Treedeon were on stage, their bassist was on mic between songs talking about how fucked up the world is and so on, and that playing loud is their therapy. She then thanked the crowd for coming to their therapy session. Succinctly put and likely true. I’ve had days where the only thing that seems to keep my head on straight is writing. And I’ve had days as well where even that hasn’t worked. That’s the thing about getting old. You keep accumulating days.

I call that “sports wisdom.” It’s the act of declaring something obvious with an intent toward profundity. I’m sure the Germans have a better word for it. Think how many times you’ve heard professional athletes say things like, “They can’t catch it if you don’t throw the ball,” and be treated among the great thinkers of their generation. Sports wisdom.

Before I get on this plane and go home over the course of the next I don’t even know how many hours — 12-ish? 14? whatever — I want to say thank you to Walter Hoeijmakers, Becky Laverty and the entire team at Roadburn for having me back this year. It was an honor to work on what I think was the best Weirdo Canyon Dispatch we’ve ever done, and it couldn’t have happened without Walter advocating for us, the generosity of the 013 venue’s crew and resources, and the work of Lee Edwards, Paul Verhagen, Niels Vinck, Vince Trommel, and the entire staff of writers who’ve been so fantastic to work with these last six years. Editing that ‘zine has reminded me of what all the best parts were of working professionally in print media, and in that context, without any of the drag factor that came along with them back in the real world — as opposed, of course, to Planet Roadburn — it’s hard not to miss that. TheĀ WCD is an outlet I’m humbled and so fortunate to be a part of.

I got out of the van the other day at the 013 coming in from the airport, and though I was dead tired from the flight and ready to crash immediately over at the hotel (I didn’t, but I was ready to), I still took a moment to breathe in and feel like I was, in a very special, very specific way, home. I am so lucky to feel that in this place and with these people.

Thanks to The Patient Mrs., to The Pecan, to my mother, my sister, and to everyone who has followed along on this brief but wonderful bit of adventure. I’ve scaled way, way back on travelogue stuff because I figure people care most about the music and time’s short anyway and I’d rather focus on that, but it means a tremendous amount to me that you would check in, or give a like or a share, or comment on Instagram, or whatever it might be. Thank you for your support. It is the reason any of this can happen, and I will spend the rest of my life being grateful for that.

Okay, plane’s here. Boarding in a little bit, then off to Reykjavik, change in Reykjavik, then off to Boston. Then home.

Thanks for reading. Roadburn 2020 is April 16-19 in Tilburg, the Netherlands. I hope you go, and I’ll hope to get to see you there.

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