I know that there are three major reasons to go to this year's edition of Dunk! Festival, namely Swans, Earth and God Is An Astronaut. All three are absolute highflyers in their respective styles and all three are always an adventure to witness live. However, I also know that people tend to show up late at festivals like this one, too late to witness all the other good stuff. That's too bad, because those people are definitely missing out. So let me try to give you a bunch of reasons to come early this year, not limited to the bands.
Well, for me that is an issue! Certainly on a three day festival like Dunk! I need about two liters of the black stuff to get me through the day. So yeah, I'm happy that it's free. I think that's a very nice gesture of the good people at this festival and I would suggest every festival does that. No more people people sleeping through the best bands.
Yeah, I know. There is food on every festival but once you have been to Dunk!, you'll frown at the rubbish they serve your elsewhere. Dunk! has its own catering team, a team that can cook at least as good as your grandmother and is equally pleased to do so. Vegan? No problem, that can be arranged. Besides, that paella is divine. Dunk! also harbors the most famous fries fryers in the world. I mean, how many caterers do you know that have been interviewed? (watch)
Just look at these pictures. I shot these at last year's edition. The festival takes place in a rural area, near a forest. A short walk takes you into the meadows and nature reserve of Zottegem where you will be able to see all kinds of animals, including buzzards, butterflies and little ducklings. Enjoy the walk but promise me not to litter. Last year, I found a festival cup there. If I see you do something like that, I think I'll let Michael Gira torture you.
Ever since I watched Thisquietarmy perform in the forest, I am a huge fan of the concept. The organisation promised several gigs in the forest near the festival area, and believe me, they're all going to be worthwhile. Barst, Syndrome, CHVE, Ilydaen, Terraformer and Ashtoreth will perform there. Now let's just hope that the weather will cooperate.
If you are one of those people who believe that the human race is an evil one, incapable of friendliness, you have to come to Dunk! Festival. These people are so nice, so gentle and so friendly that you will cry your tears out the minutes you have to go home. Not only that, they're damn practical too and can find a solution for every problem.
Ok, there are a gazillion or so bands playing on Dunk! this year and it would be very nice of you to check out all of them but I know all too well that such a thing is not possible. So I'll pick out ten of them and leave the rest to be discovered at the festival itself. These are the then acts I'm specifically looking forward to.
Their new album, 'Refractions' is an absolute masterpiece, even better than 'War Of Currents' which was already one of my favorite post rock albums. I am sure that their gig at Dunk! will be one to remember. You will probably find me in the back of the tent, sitting down, eyes closed and enjoying a completely different dimension. I'll be ok, just leave me there...
He lives at merely three and a half kilometers from my place and still I will go all the way to Zottegem to watch him perform in that amazing forest. His drones will undoubtedly float through the woods for a long time. I'm sure that this will be a damn enchanting concert.
Did you see these two performances last year? If the answer is "yes", then you have absolute no excuse to miss them this year. Both acts play in the forest and both acts have gained a year of experience and experiment. Unless Zottegem will be struck by a meteor, these gigs just can't go wrong.
5. Karen Willems and Aidan Baker
Last years, Karen Willems and her band Inwolves played a daring and adventurous set. This year, Karen returns to play the drums over Aidan Baker's drones. As you might have guessed, this will be something to look forward to as both of these artists are extremely talented and experienced.
These masked noisemakers will aim directly at your soul and they will be merciless. Still, I'd rather be beaten down by these guys' sludge doom than by your dad's old porn magazines. No, I don't know where that came from. Go see Briqueville, they are awesome.
For beautiful, emotional post rock, I'd gladly guide you to the Pray For Sound set. From my review (read): Pray For Sound is a band from Boston, USA which started out in 2011 as a one-man project by Bruce Mallay. His story is somewhat of a nightmare for musicians. He had been diagnosed with Cholesteatoma (a large cyst is his left ear). Despites doctors' best efforts, Mallay still suffers from hearing loss, tinnitus and recurring pains. However, instead of giving up, Mallay decided to use this ordeal as an inspiration for his music and started translating his emotions in post rock compositions.
I just love pg.lost. For me, they are one of the greatest post rock bands out there. Their new album is a blast and their performance will amazing. I think I can almost promise you that. Then again, you should already know all that...
Belgian youngsters doing their own thing within the post rock & sludge metal scene. It will be nice to finally see them play live and I hope they will bewitch me as much as they did on their split with Raum Kingdom. I mean, their bandname abbreviates to AWE, and I think that is exactly the way you feel after their gig.
I'll finish with a band I don't know. I have never heard of Spurv. I don't know where they came from and I am only now listening to their music. Then why Spurv? Because that is exactly what Dunk! festival is all about: placing bands you have never heard of alongside some of your favorites and treat them with the same respect and quality as the big ones in the scene. I mean, just think about the magical concert by Spoiwo last year. They were out of this world and so was the audience. Dunk! is about discovering new music, about being amazed by something you know so well and about getting together with likeminded people. With that in mind. Let's all see the Spurv gig and prove me right. Besides, according to what I hear, they're already pretty damn good.
So yes, come early, stay late, take the weekend off and spend it in the lovely town of Zottegem. You don't even have to bring your friends. You will undoubtedly make some new ones. Dunk! Festival is no longer a post-rock festival, it's a magical gathering and it wants you to be a part of it.