Festival-goers and Alestorm pay a catchy tribute to deceased metal fan Robbe at Graspop: “A real goosebumps moment” | THE FESTIVAL SUMMER

desselA beautiful moment on Sunday afternoon on the main stage of Graspop Metal Meeting. The Scottish band Alestorm paid tribute to Robbe Deriemaeker, who passed away three months ago. His twin sister Rani had called on him to sing along to the chorus of his favorite song and many metalheads heeded it. “It was a beautiful moment.”

It can go wrong. While the mercury rose to a tropical 34 degrees on Saturday after already a few warm days, it was suddenly more than ten degrees colder on the festival meadow on Sunday. And yet Sunday was the hottest day, certainly the most heartwarming.

A few days ago, Rani Deriemaeker (28) from Zwevezele in West Flanders launched a call on social media to sing along to the chorus of ‘Zombies Ate My Pirateship’ during or after the set of Alestorm, but slightly modified: ‘Far across the sea, Robbe waits for me’. Robbe, that is Rani’s twin brother who took his own life three months ago.


“That night I lost the other half of my soul,” says Rani. “We shared joys and sorrows, grew up together and although we both no longer lived with our parents, we were still very close.” Robbe and Rani also planned to go to Graspop together, something they had already done twice before.

As a tribute to her brother, she already had a tattoo done, but at Graspop itself she wanted to go one step further and called for the song ‘Zombies Ate My Pirateship’. “That was pretty much our song. When he sent me a message or text from the song, I always replied with a picture of the singer of Alestorm.”

A lot of metal fans loudly sang ‘Zombies Ate My Pirateship’ during the set of Alestorm. © Wouter Demuynck

Goosebumps moment

Rani’s appeal not only resonated with metal fans, who shared the message thousands of times, but also reached the festival organization and the band itself. “Before the concert, the organization announced that the tribute to Robbe would follow after the concert,” Rani tells us after the set of Alestorm. “But in the end, the band dedicated the song to Robbe during the set. They sang the regular chorus, but a lot of fans sang our modified version. I was right up front and it was a real goosebumps moment. It’s great that the call has reached the band.”

For Rani it is a boost after the loss of her soul mate. “It was a wonderful moment, but it’s just weird to be here without him. I try to enjoy it, because Robbe wouldn’t have wanted me to hang my head.” At Graspop, Rani was also accompanied by her mother Carine. “I came to support Rani, although I certainly like to hear the music that is played here,” says Carine. “The concert was a very emotional moment, very comforting as well.”

If you have questions about suicide, you can contact the Suicide Line on the free number 1813 and on the website

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