Last night I dreamed that I was at Dunk! festival again. I had rented an extremely ugly orange Volkswagen van for the occasion and there was a goat named Julius at the camping ground. Everything else was pretty much as normal as Dunk can get: great music, sweet people, delicious food and feet full of blisters. Now, you might say "bullshit, you just invented all that to start an article with some recommendations". And that is also true. Enjoy:
To Post Rock and Beyond...
Besides, what makes Dunk! such a stand-out is the vast amount of overall quality which turns a young, nervous band like The End Of The Ocean, Radare or Spoiwo into a world class performance act, let's not forget about that. Undoubtedly, in 2019 there will be plenty of bands with that classic post rock sound. Perhaps one or two of the previously mentioned bands will make a glorious return, since I read that they're both working on new material. Same goes for Cecilia::Eyes and Astodan. With those last two, we remain on Belgian territory and since Amenra climbed the Dunk! stage we all know what Belgians are capable of.
Should Amenra return? That question has been on a lot of people's lips in the past few years. If that means that CHVE and Syndrome do solo performances at the forest stage I'm all in. Besides, an acoustic full-band set at the forest stage would also be wonderful. I'd actually rather see that: their version of 'Het Dorp' in the forest. The goosebumps would be tremendous, no doubt.
You Can Dance If You Wanna
And since we're on the subject of being instrumental and rocking, why not let the inventor of the forest stage make a glorious return to Dunk!. Some years ago, Eric occupied the woods and with that Thisquietarmy changed the whole atmosphere of the festival. I recently witnessed his full-band performance at Antwerp Music City. If anyone can outperform the seismic shock of Telepathy last year, it's Thisquietarmy The Band. In his turn, Eric could invite Aidan Baker over and have an evening-filling program with Hypnodrone Ensemble, Caudal and Nadja. Of course, Telepathy is also very welcome to return, so I'd say: "who not both?".
Heaviness. Are we ready for post black metal yet? Deafhaven? Sólstafir? Alcest? Drawn Into Descent? Little by little blast-beats and screams have been infiltrating the line-up, so who knows. Then again, I'm not sure if that's what the Dunk audience is waiting for. Perhaps they like their heaviness a bit slower but still crushing like a steamroller. That takes me to Melvins or Neurosis or Cult Of Luna or something by former Isis members. Here in Belgium that would open the door for Charnia, Hæster or Angakok. Crushing riffs that smash skulls to pieces. Or why not go wild with some sludgy stoner grunge rock. There too is plenty to choose from, with Belgian nutcrackers Tangled Horns being the first one that comes to mind. Perhaps they could take over where Steak Number Eight left.
Throughout the years, Dunk Festival evolved from a post rock festival to an allround atmospheric music event. There is plenty of variation to be found. Even (dark) jazz has a place there, with Dirk Serries and Tomas Jarmyr paving the way for bands like Radare and Bolt to shine and charm. That brings me to Dale Cooper Quartet and the Dictaphones, Bohren Und Der Club Of Gore, A Sun Amissa or The Thing With Five Eyes. I have no idea who is when available to be where but some jazz would be neat indeed.
And Now For Something Completely The Same
There are truckloads of decent post rock band to be found, more than enough to fill a thousand stages at a thousand Dunk festivals. I'm sure that the organisation will come up with some classics, some surprises and a lot of excellence. But, do you know what I'd secretly like, even more than seeing someone finally propose to his girlfriend on stage: a guided tour through the pressing plant. I think it takes guts and a massive pair of testicles to throw an idea like that into motion, especially in these rough financial times. Building a pressing plant was a serious risk and a tremendous undertaking and I'd like to see it in action. Don't you?
So anyway, before I crawl my tired ass to bed: there can and probably will be some amazing bands appearing on the line-up in the next months. I can't wait to go back to the fields of Zottegem and watch the splendor of music turn everyday strangers into close friends. Because that's pretty much what Dunk is all about: they true spirit of the festivals, as Woodstock or Jazz Bilzen initially were intended. Sweet get-togethers with sweet people and sweet music in one of Belgium's greenest environments. I'm looking forward to that.