Mudfest,Venlo, Netherlands 01-02/11/2013


On the 1st and 2nd of November Mudfest gives us the third edition of this festival. The first edition took place in the Azijnfabriek in Roermond (the south of the Netherlands), the second editon and the third edition which we are going to talk about right now take place in the Perron 55 in Venlo. Mudfest drowns you in a deep swamp of two days with psychedelic heaviness, trippy stoner rock, Post rock and swampy Doom, Noise, Drone and Sludge.

A little grasp of bands that have played the Mudfest before are: Huata, Toner Low, Tank 86, Kadavar, Celeste, Sungrazer, Bitcho, The Grand Astoria and Radar Men From The Moon. The festival gives the opportunity for known and unknown bands to play at an awesome stage, if I may quote “We’re an international orientated stoner/doom/psychedelic festival, a gathering of likeminded people and mudded-music enthusiasts. We give both known and unknown bands a stage to wreck.”

The line-up this year exists of the bands: Throw Me In The Crater, Stonerfront Nijmegen, Gigatron 2000, Wangunst, Mantra Machine, Acid Deathtrip, Downfall of Gaia, Abrahma, Cultura Tres, Atlantis, Toner Low, Rorcal and Pilgrim. As you see this is a pretty diverse group of bands, which we are going to talk about later in this review.

When we went to the festival we immediately got lured by the good smell of meat smoking on the barbeque, there is not much difference in food. But the food they have is good (we loved the hamburgers), fresh and you even have the choice to get something healthy (read: Lettuce on your burger). After the food we went up to the merch tables, this is not a big massive commercial festival so the expectations of merchandise were a bit low. I was wrong, the merchandise was diverse and every band had something to offer for us. There was someone to talk to and things to look at the entire festival.

The whole atmosphere of the festival suits the music, you have nice places to sit and just talk when you feel the need to pull back from the music once in a while. The venue is perfectly chosen, the 2nd stage that is upstairs has a couch in the back, some standing tables and cabins to sit in while you listen to the band on the stage. Especially the cabins can give you what I call the Mudfest Massage, sit in them during a band and the music vibrates trough the material and in this way it massages your back. Well it is just one of the feelings of having a tantric massage. Enough fooling around, let us go to the music.

MUDFEST-III-DIGIFLYER-FINALI would like provide you with some highlights of this festival, starting with Rorcal. This is a band that gives you a spherical sound mixed with apocalyptic and atmospheric feelings. This is not a band for easy listeners; you need to keep your head with the band to have the whole experience. After a long spherical intro you get shoved to a long vibe of intense drone. The trance you get pulled in is getting interrupted by some strong black metal complete with blast beats, scorching riffs and cold blooded screams. They put in a lot of feedback to support their sound mixed with blood clotting samples. This band really gets to you and knows how to transfer a feeling. You could say it is pretty impressionistic. Also I’d like to highlight the band Pilgrim. Nowadays you see the post-metal and post-rock influences in a lot of bands, some pioneers in this genre like Amenra, Celeste and Deafheaven set a new trend in the scene. Facing away from the audience and low lighting are just a few examples of things you see in a lot of bands. I am not telling you this is wrong, not trve or something. But it is just so nice to see a band once in a while that takes the music by the roots. Pilgrim is a good example of a band that plays pure Doom, this is as pure as it gets. Their vocalist named The Wizard uses a very unctuous voice which enhances a very nice contrast with the raw doom coming from the background. For me this was a very relieving and one of the best performances of the evening. Another band that I would like to bring forth is Gigatron 2000. If you are up for some no nonsense up tempo stoner you are at the right address. These guys don’t let the tempo drift away at any time, and even when they give you the suggestion of getting slow, the drummer picks up the pass again. This way you will get a lot of surprises in many different ways. They mix in some really anxious spacy sounds which take you away on a long journey into space mixed into their energetic mix of stoner. If you happen to see this band in the future, I bet you won’t stand still. This was definitely the most energetic band, and for a band without a vocalist or distinctive front-man this is quite of an achievement. Mostly I get bored with bands that don’t use vocals, some bands are the exception and Gigatron 2000 is one of those bands that get my head into space.  Last band I would like to tell you guys about is Atlantis which bring forth a very thick and blasting sound. From the front to the end their muddy and vivacious sound gets thrown in your face. Together with samples this band creates a sound that grasps around you and takes you with them into a trance. This is definitely a band that brings us quality, and knows how to bring the audience to higher states.

This festival has the potential to grow big, but would we want that? Do we want a new Roadburn, (which also is an awesome festival!) or would we rather go to a smaller festival which definitely bonds people and gives you a really nice experience with these specific genres. To be honest, there is no reason to compare Mudfest with a settled festival as Roadburn, exept for the genres.
The festival just had their 3rd edition, but we are looking forward to next editions. How is the festival going to envolve in the next years? We had a little chat with the organisation named Mudgate to find out, and go deeper into the mud. 

Hello guys! Thank you for your time. Our first question, what kept you guys buisy before Mudfest existed?
Before Mudfest I organised some stoner/doom shows in the Azijnfabriek in Roermond (RIP). Mudfest comes from the idea to start a small festival with the same gernes we booked before, that envolved into the first edition of Mudfest in January 2012 that we organised together with some friends and volunteers from the Azijnfabriek. 

Do you have a specific vision on the musical industry of today and what is your answord to that?
The music industry these days takes place on the Internet. Bands are able to arrange everything for themselves, eventual with the cooperation of some smaller labels and/or booking agencies. The distribution canals on the internet give bands the opportunity to launch their music outside of their country’s borders, and lovers of all genres and sub-genres have the acces to all music out there. I think this is a really good change in comparison with before, because of this technology the (commercial) radio-music became a very different music industry then the other alternative trends in the music.

For us mudfest 2013 really was a blast! But you are the organisation, how do you look at this edition?
We also found this edition amazing! But there always is room for improvements for things that didnt go flawless, but if we look at the festival in general we are very pleased!
Are there more shows and festivals that are being organised by Mudgate?
Like I’ve said, before Mudfest even existed we did more shows. But it has gotten harder to arrange gigs for bands in the south of the Netherlands. Venues have a big offer of bands but have less and less to spent due to the economy and political state we are in. What we’ve also noticed, is that it seems to be that the genres that we book have lesser followers in the south.
Do you have some kind of vision behind the festival Mudfest?
Like as you can read on our website. We want to provide known and unknown “muddy” bands a stage and we really want to give the fans of these genres an amazing weekend.
Do you notice as a small festival that the economical state of the Netherlands isnt that good?
Well yes, people want to spend less money to concerts and festivals. That is the reason why we want to keep the price as low as possible.
How do you guys choose and come across the bands you book for Mudfest?
We are always looking for (new) bands on the internet and we roam on sites as bandcamp, youtube and soundcloud. We try to search these engines as much as possible to keep updated with as much as possible bands out there.
What kind of dreams do you guys have for the future?
We want to keep this festival small. But what we dream of is to give the audience a great offer of bands every time they come to the Mudfest. We would like to keep doing this for a long time, and make a party of every edition.
You cant keep dreaming forever, so if we look at the reality what can we expect from mudfest in the future?
Well, if you follow us on facebook, ur the first to know! :)
I hope you guys enjoyed my little writing about Mudfest and the interview with the organisers. We’ve had a blast! And if you would like to go next year keep updated about the Mudfest. It is definitely recomended to go!

About Del Preston

So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door, and mentions there's a little sweet shop on the edge of town. So - we go. And - it's closed. So there's me and Keith Moon and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweet shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they've got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shop owner and his son, that's a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business really. But sure enough, I got the M&Ms and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.