We’re honoured to invite Emma Ruth Rundle back to Roadburn as a curator.

Each year we give over a slice of Roadburn’s line up to a carefully hand picked curator; they put their distinctive stamp on a corner of the festival and make it their own. For 2020, we have not one but two curators stepping up to the plate. Operating entirely separately, and connected by little more than their common association with Roadburn Festival – and of course their insatiable appetite for creativity – Roadburn’s 2020 curators are limbering up to deliver something special. Expect the unexpected.

It’s highly unlikely that Roadburners are unfamiliar with Emma Ruth Rundle – she’s left such a mark on the festival, and the wider musical landscape over the past few years. We’re honoured to invite her back to Roadburn as a curator – a new role for her, but one that she is more than ready for. Her expansive creativity and curious explorations have already led her towards collaborations – both live and on record. Her musical taste is broad and in keeping with Roadburn’s desire to explore the many facets of heavy music.

We’ve spoken often of Emma’s set at Roadburn 2017; she held a full-to-capacity (and then some) Green Room audience in a rapturous haze whilst she performed a solo set. Not only was the air thick with an intoxicating magick, it represented a pivotal moment for us at Roadburn – something of an epiphany if you will. In that moment and for some time afterwards we discussed among ourselves what made that show so special, and how it fit in to the technicolour tapestry of Roadburn. In short, Emma kicked off our journey towards redefining what heaviness meant to us.

If one woman and a guitar could perform one of the heaviest sets of the weekend, what exactly did heaviness mean now? So we set off exploring, and that mindset has shaped many of the choices we have made at the festival since that day. Therefore, it was with much joy that we offered the curator title to Emma, a somehow ceremonial gift that once again offers her the power to define what heaviness is.

Early conversations into the direction of her curation have confirmed that we’re very much on the same page; there is a wealth of bold emerging bands who are reinvigorating genres that we previously thought we knew inside out. Emma’s insatiable appetite for discovery will see her championing many such bands via her curation, as well as hand-picking artists that have helped shape her as a musician.

Emma comments: “As co-curator I hope to honor Roadburn’s legacy, and our community, by bringing artists to the festival – both new and established – who are creating important work. Craft that is pushing what it means to be part of the heavy music world and pulling with them some real emotional weight. While the genres may vary, each artist will be coming to the festival because of their ability to elicit a visceral and emotional reaction in my heart, and hopefully yours too. I’m excited to share this experience with the most unique and dedicated people who make up the Roadburn family.”

More information on Emma’s curation, titled The Gilded Cage, will be available in the coming months.

Becky Laverty / August 2019