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Merchants of Air


exploring the edges of the musical universe

Incubate 2014





Incubate, as they describe the festival themselves, is the annual celebration of independent art. It's not a music festival, it's not an art festival and it's not a movie festival. It's all of the above and a lot more. There's debates, workshops, live interviews and an Incubate cafe. Even the little children who live in the city are being put to bed by a parade of luminous bikes and athmospheric music. Local bars serve Incubate specials (the Tilburger, a huge delicious hamburger, is recommended, pizza is not) and the whole city enjoys the parade of art and rather strange looking people strolling between the clubs to see the next band play. There's free concerts at Incubate Zero, a free-for-all music program with amazing young bands, and weird artists like Crank Sturgeon deliver bizarre street performances.


The Consouling Store, a pop-up store operated by the Belgian label Consouling Sounds, has instore concerts, also free-for-all. So yes, ninety year old grannies and young mothers with their babies watch a sludge band destroy their eardrums, and may I add that these grannies and moms are as welcome as everybody. There's a lot more than concerts at the Consouling Store. They have a huge ammount of new and old CD's, LP's and books and you can watch a great exposion by the very talended Flemish photographer Nicky Hellemans.


There's a gaming expo with playable independent games. I didn't even know there was such a thing as independent game designers. But these are very talented people. The games we played (we're not gamers, we just build a SimCity once in a while) were filled with beautiful ambient music and strange graphical landscapes. Our favorite was Sounddodger, a game where you have to dodge arrows created by the sounds of the music you choose. This is how people learn to dance to dubstep.


All of this happens in the lovely city of Tilburg where everybody is friendly or at least well-mannered. Where market vendors shout about their fresh salmon and old cheese and where cyclists are more dangerous than cars. A city where public urinals rise from of the ground at night. Every year we spend a few days in this city, discovering new music and recharging our batteries. We can higly recommend this to you...