Tilburg, a profound sound

| Sanne Leenders

Sunny days bouncing on tantalizing beats, dark nights banging on the hardest rock or floating on the tastiest techno. Tilburg knows how to party. We love a good party! How to organize that party? Ruud Lemmen can you tell you all about it. He is the main programmer within 013 and also festival director at WOO HAH! 
Photo’s: Camiel Donders

In May 2010 Ruud started his career at 013. A totally different direction than you would expect when we tell you that Ruud once started as a higher computer science student in Breda. ‘Studying was never really my thing. After 2 years I started working. I worked in ICT for a number of years, but in the meantime I was always busy with music.’ Ruud even had his own record label! On this label he released a number of festivals. 

The Ruud of then and now
‘In 2008, 2009 and 2010 I organized the festival Neurotic Deathfest.’ When in 2010, a spot became available at 013, Ruud was quickly informed about it. ‘I was ready for colleagues to tell them on a Monday morning what my weekend had been like. I also wanted to do what I like.’ And it turns out, he is also very good at it. Ruud Lemmen is now here as the main programmer within 013. He is responsible for the artistic vision, which means that together with 3 colleagues he decides on the program of 013. ‘Certain frameworks and an artistic vision have been set up within which programming takes place.’ Ruud is also a member of the management team. If that wasn't enough, we think he has a great responsibility to be festival director at WOO HAH! That sounds like music to our ears. We want to hear more!

‘Who's really not supposed to perform in 013?’
‘In itself we are quite broad, but what I don't really like are the regular cover bands. I don't think this is the place for that. There is sometimes a cover band here, but that's more like a tribute or something like that. An Australian Pink Floyd is something else than a wedding band. 013 guarantees all regular pop music and pop culture. We focus more on hip-hop, heavy music, electric music and alternative mainstream. These are the 4 pillars for which we try harder than regular pop music’. In order to achieve all this, contact with bookers is extremely important, according to Ruud. ‘It's really a people business.’

‘In terms of music, it was always happening’
Ruud has been living in Tilburg since he was 21 years old and he can't get away from it anymore. On a blue Monday he also decided to live in Breda, but there he soon noticed that he had made a mistake. Breda has never been my city. Not the way Tilburg is. In Tilburg it was always possible to do it in terms of music. In Breda there was nothing at all. Tilburg is just better in everything. We radiate more music than Breda, they are more burgundian. Even his parents moved to Tilburg, because they wanted some more action. With Ruud Lemmen on board at 013 that will be all right. Welcome to Tilburg!

‘Was it always happening? It IS always happening here!’

Because, according to Ruud, Tilburg is definitely a festival city. ‘In Amsterdam there is a festival every weekend in the summer, but is that a festival city or is it just the capital? What can make the difference is that in a city like Tilburg, when many festivals happen, it can transcend the city and lift it. In Amsterdam you can organise up to 300 festivals, but they are all absorbed by what the city is. It's a metropolis, nothing gets over it. So Amsterdam is technically a festival city, but in terms of appearance that will never be the case.’ Although Tilburg might be able to get hold of this name, according to Ruud there is certainly still room for new initiatives. This is also one of the reasons why they are now considering something new for 2020. 

Tilburg, an strong line-up
The sound of Tilburg is profound and strong. ‘The city wants to profile itself as a festival city. I think that at some point it will also be the case with Draaimolen, WOO HAH!, Mundial, Levenslied... There were quite a lot of activities in that area. With Roadburn and an Incubate festival, which still existed in those days. Well, then you had quite a diversity of festivals. Unfortunately Mundial and Incubate had to stop. According to Ruud, Tilburg is not at its peak as a festival city, but that could certainly happen again. With the right stimulus and the right ideas, things can go the way they were a while ago.'

WOO HAH! has made Tilburg famous
As people from Tilburg, we are very proud of WOO HAH! and Roadburn. People from all over the world know where to find our city for their favorite music. Ruud says: 'I have an enormous love for hip-hop myself. By 013, we had decided that we wanted to do more with hip-hop, because it is an important movement of music. We just couldn't get those artists to Tilburg, because a hip-hop artist from Atlanta with a manager in LA and an agent in New York have no idea what Tilburg is. With a festival like WOO HAH! we announced Tilburg there. These New York agents are already asking their booker if they can play in Tilburg. So the city is now known within those circles.’ And what about the big names that have become known here? Yes, the one and only Vince Staples and Travis Scott started at WOO HAH! very small and are now really big. Post Malone? His very first performance in the Netherlands was in 013. That’s why we say: becoming world famous starts in Tilburg.

Roadburn colours the streets of Tilburg
Roadburn also has its international allure. ‘It really is a niche festival in the darker genres and also very progressive. In recent years these kinds of festivals have been added in Belgium, Germany, England and Las Vegas, only now they all do what Roadburn did about 5 to 7 years ago. Roadburn has an advantage in this and instead of taking back, of which our director Walter knows for sure what works, he's busy with what's new in those circles. So we're pushing the boundaries and that translates back into the people who come here from all over the world.’

‘Tilburg has its own mentality of not talking, but doing and working. Not too much hassle, but just acceleration and that translates into music in a certain way'. Those who, according to Ruud, should be allowed to give more power are the municipality. What he sometimes misses, and what would also suit the city, is to enter into dialogue more than sporadically suggesting ideas. ‘If you want something as a municipality, such as profiling yourself as a festival city, you have to start talking to the parties that do it. Ruud takes the MOB-complex as an example. The municipality wants more to be done in that area. Then involve us in those wishes and needs. For the time being, that will not happen. That's not unwillingness, but it's perhaps not quite right on the radar.’

Proud Tilburger with biggest dreams
‘I think there is still room for a larger city festival, similar to what Incubate used to be, but with a different perspective. There are a lot of pubs that have live music and I think that can be stimulated a bit more by a city festival.’ According to Ruud, Tilburg is the place for an 'iconic event'. He means image-defining, nationally attractive with a large crowd and great artists on the line-up. ‘I am totally in favour of something like this fitting in well with Tilburg. We are easily accessible, a city that breathes music and with the right people and players, we are the city to achieve something like this.’ Ruud is proud of Tilburg. ‘We're working hard! I'm curious about the Spoorpark, I think the LocHal is fantastic and Doloris seems cool to me. These are developments that I could not have imagined 10 years ago that they would arise in a city like Tilburg. It makes you really proud of Tilburg instead of just living here. Yes, I like that very much.’


Unfiltered​ opinion of Tilburgers
Within this section we give creative Tilburgers a stage. A Ticket to... the expression of their unfiltered opinion about the city. Are you curious who also has something to say about Tilburg other than Rob van Trier? Then you should definitely read these interviews:

  • Chris Oomes: 'Black and white, lots of contrast, with a story or a wink'
  • Rob van Trier: ‘Rob van Trier wants to catch the light of Tilburg’
  • Marc Storms: ‘De kuierlatten nemen’