This was my second festival experience after Wacken ‘10. I was quite satisfied and hopefully I’ll be back next year. Here are my notes about the festival. Hopefully I can remember to check back this post next year to apply todo list.
After a 3 hour drive, we arrived at the festival area via coach. After about 15 minutes of waiting I got my wristband and got in. First order of business was finding a spot to pitch my tent. This was a daunting task because I’ve never done it before. After struggling with the instructions for 10 minutes I started setting it up. It was easier than I was expecting and looks like all the tents work the same way, so I guess next time will be a breeze. After the tent was setup, the boring hours began! It was 2 P.M. and there was absolutely nothing to do around as the festival area was going to open at 5. I turned to my book and read a few hours (only reading session I had throughout my stay). The rest of the time passed with eating junk food and drinking beer while watching some “warm-up” bands.
Friday morning. After a very uncomfortable sleep, started a nice shiny day with a ton of nice gigs ahead. After getting an airbed from the festival area, I started patrolling the festival area. There are a number of choices for food but they were triple the normal price. I don’t understand why they try to rip off people at festivals. You already have thousands of people in a confined space who has nothing to do all day. Even with regular prices they can make a fortune but they are greedy as always. Saturday and Sunday were exact copies of Friday actually. Only the bands changed but my activities between the gigs were pretty much the same.
Here are my notes on the bands I’ve seen:
Friday – Ronnie James Dio Stage
Malefice : The opening band. I hadn’t heard about them before but they sounded strong and is definitely worth having a look at their albums.
Moonsorrow: I’m not too big on black metal but I’ve been enjoying their music for a decade now. I haven’t seen them live before so I was wondering how it’s going to be. They didn’t communicate with the audience (as none of the black metal bands). Overall it was a nice watch.
Iced Earth: I don’t know anything about their work after Something Wicked This Way Comes. But I’m happy to see them for the first time. Apparently they have a new lead singer. One funny moment was him dropping the microphone in the middle of a song. That was a unique incident thinking about all the concerts I’ve seen so far. He was quite chatty and I think he’s a good frontman. May worth checking out their new stuff.
Sepultura: Another legend and another first live show for me. I can’t believe how I managed to miss them over all these years but finally caught them. They have enough material for a much longer playlist but they were only allowed for 30 minutes. They killed with Roots as the closing song!
Watain: Never had seen them before and never will again! Classic black metal with similar songs. One interesting scene was the singer bringing a cup full of some liquid looked like blood and spilling it over the crowd in the front row.
Behemoth: I love these guys! They deserved being an headliner with a great show. Flames and burning crosses were nice visual elements of the show.
Saturday – Ronnie James Dio Stage
Benediction: I wonder why they got the earliest spot of the day. I think they are a great band. Even at 11 in the morning, they managed to create mosh pits in the crowd. It was my first time seeing them live, so it felt good to be able to mark another band as seen.
I am I: With a lead singer resembling Captain Jack Sparrow, it seemed to be a good band but power metal was never my thing!
Cthonic: A band from Taiwan. Definitely not a country on metal map IMO. Didn’t like the band except for the beautiful bass player. It was funny when lead singer tried to make the crowd shout “Cheers” in Taiwanese.
Crowbar: I used to have an album of this band (in cassette format!) that was one of the most boring albums I’ve ever listened to. The show was very boring too. Good thing I watched it from the beer tent!
Mayhem: I cannot understand how this band is still around. It was horrible! Worst metal band ever. They don’t deserve that spot in the middle of the day in the main stage. They should open the New Blood stage! Boring pointless screams with no melody or lyrics.
Sanctuary: Apparently they are an old band. Singer mentioned they were touring in the UK 20 years ago with Megadeth. I didn’t like their music much, wasn’t surprise why I never heard of them but rather how they survived all these years with this music. I hated them after the singer asked for the crowd to chant their name and said “Thank you for being so obedient” afterwards. I hate arrogant people!
Hatebreed: One of my top bands ever. I’ve seen them before and knew about the brutal pits but couldn’t resist again. Classical playlist. It was fun to watch when Jamie invited a 7 year old kid and his dad to the stage. (I think the organization tried to ban swearing on the stage after this. Jamie was swearing as usual with the boy on the stage)
Testament: Classic testament. I’ve seen them a couple of times before. Chuck Billy was awesome again with his stupid grin on his face :-). During the show they put a banner saying “Randy Free” which meant nothing to me at the moment. Later I learned about his incident here.
Machine Head: Another first show for me. I’m glad I finally saw them. I think they are the new Metallica (during their career peak – Master of Puppets and And Justice For All era). Beautiful show. I hope I can catch them some time soon.
Sunday – Ronnie James Dio Stage
Corrosion of Conformity: Pure rock ‘n roll. They have no crew so the lead singer/bass player had to deal with the technical issues during the show.
Evile: A very nice thrash metal band. Definitely under my watch now. I hope I can catch them around.
Nile: Pure death metal. I’m not a big fan of them. It wasn’t too bad for passing time but nothing special about it.
The Black Dahlia Murder: Not one of my favourite bands but the frontman had a nice dialog with the audience. One interesting detail was one guy trying to crowd-surf completely naked!
Paradies Lost: I used to like them in the old days, not so much anymore but still I enjoy their music. I didn’t understand the Nick Holmes’ attitude though. Making fun of festival name, trying to undermine common concert acts like asking the crows a question and make them make some noise. A dying band!
Dimmu Borgir: Another first show. And a great one. It wasn’t dark when they took the stage but still they managed to get the crowd in the mood. Good dialog with the audience which I didn’t expect. Alice Cooper: Amazing rock show. I’ve seen him in Wacken but this time I was much closer to the stage and enjoyed it a lot more. Best show I’ve ever seen. Even though I’m not a fan of his music, I enjoyed the classics.
Friday - Sunday – Other stages
During the breaks at the main stage, I sneaked into the other stages. Couldn’t see many interesting events except Sa-Da-Ko. I really enjoyed their music and got hem under my radar now. I’ll follow their albums.
After the live shows, there was a party in Sophie Lancaster stage with The 5 DJs of the Apocalypse. They played almost all the classic metal hits. The dancer girls on the stage on Sunday night were very hot!
I don’t know if I can make it there, but if I do here is my todo list based on my current experiences:
- Try to get a closer camping spot to the showers.
- Gear to buy:
- Same tent
- A better/thicker sleeping bag
- Airbed (from the festival area the first day)
- Suntan cream
- Check the weather first, bring rubber boots if it may rain (This year I was lucky)
- Get more info about the bands before the festival
- Don’t bring a camera. Use phone or just Google for the photos and videos. There are plenty of them all around.