Paint It Black: Inside The Art Of Roadburn
For four days a year, the sleepy town of Tilburg in The Netherlands is overrun by thousands of music fans, all obsessed with sounds that exist only on the fringes. Hardcore, stoner, noise, goth, post-everything, and even more in between fill venues and churches for Roadburn festival; a celebration of the weird and wonderful side of rock. But there’s more to it than music. The side programme features panels, Q&As and more, but it’s the artistic community that make Roadburn a true embodiment of alternative culture, not just music.
“Visual art has always been extremely important at Roadburn; we have championed artists for many years now — in our posters, exhibitions and more,” says founder and promoter Walter Hoeijmakers. “Even down to the digital backdrops on the stages when bands play and between sets – we put a lot of care and attention in to the visual aesthetics of Roadburn. For me, it is a way to communicate the care and attention that goes into creating a creative and vibrant environment at the festival.”
“The foundations that Walter laid over the years have meant that Roadburn audiences are very receptive to creativity in all its forms,” agrees side programme coordinator Becky Laverty. “The worlds of art and music are so linked that it has made more and more sense over the years – especially when we have had people like Jacob Bannon (Converge) and John Baizley (Baroness) participating, as both are just as much at home on stage as they are exhibiting in a gallery space.”
Since 2017, Roadburn has hosted exhibitions from a variety of artists in the Full Bleed gallery. The project was the brainchild of Baroness frontman and John Baizley and creative studio BRLSQ.
“We talked many times over the years about having our own poster exhibition, so when John was asked to be both the curator and official artist at Roadburn Festival 2017 it was the perfect opportunity,” says BRLSQ general manager Jodi Milbert. “We worked closely with Walter that year to pull off what I think was the first ever poster show at Roadburn.”
This year the Full Bleed gallery will feature work from Jacob Bannon, Richey Beckett, Thomas Hooper and more.
“There was no shortage of suggestions,” says Jodi. “I aimed to gather up a good variety of art styles, as well as genuinely kind and hard-working people, all of whom have roots in heavy music. I’m really excited about how it all stacked up.”
The artistic and musical sides of Roadburn work in tandem to create another world, from the poster designs to the bands playing, it all works under the banner of the festival.
“With both the line up and the visual element we want to push boundaries and explore the possibilities in the world which Roadburn inhabits – and beyond,” says Walter. “We seek to celebrate the artists – both visual and musical – that have been pioneering trailblazers, and also help to uncover those that are still coming up and who are forging their own path.”
But how does the visual aesthetic change each year?
“A lot of Roadburn is based on my gut instinct, and feeling my way through the options that are available to me – as well as creating new opportunities. The same could be said for the visual part of Roadburn – some things just feel right, and some things I love but I feel would maybe work better another year or alongside a different band.”
Check out some of the artwork from this year’s Roadburn galleries below. The festival takes place April 11 – 14 in Tilburg, Netherlands.
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