Rock Area Festival, Loreley Sankt Goarshausen Germany. July 29-31, 2010.
On the world famous rock “Loreley”, standing 132 meters above the river Rhine, many years ago the Germans have built an amphitheater (“freilichtbuhne”). The Loreley Rock is situated between Koblenz and Wiesbaden, in the middle-Rhine valley and is a UNESCO world heritage site.
This rock is a legendary site, not only because of the myth but also because this amphitheater has seen many legendary shows and festivals for the last 30 years (for example the Rock Palast and Metal Hammer festivals took place here in the eighties and nineties).
For the second year in a row this amphitheater is for three days home to the Rock Area Festival (or Fest-evil as the organizers pronounce it).
The bands that play this amphitheatre usually are very impressed with the atmosphere and the site and the best thing for the audience is that from wherever you’re standing (or sitting), you can always have a perfect view of the stage!
This year approximately 4000 to 5000 metalheads found their way to the Rock to see the following bands perform:
Excrementory Grindfuckers, Axxis, JBO, Doro, Resistance of Yield, Ingrimm, Gama Bomb, Benediction, Dark Tranquillity, Ensiferum, Napalm Death, Sodom, Apocalyptica, Megeara, The Hand of Glory, Mob Rules, Desaster, Holy Moses, Thyrfing, Entombed, Sepultura, Sacred Reich, Arch Enemy, Dynyle, State of the Art, Godslave, Krypteria, Blaze Bailey, Gorilla Monsoon, Concept Insomnia, Hatred, Normahl and Cro-Mags.
No, we didn’t see all these bands. But it was three days of fun!
On Thursday, the first day of the festival, we arrived somewhere between three and four in the afternoon. Since we saw that the first camping site was getting full (and it was very hilly) we decided to wait until the organizers got clearance to use a second site for camping. After drinking a few beers on the parking, we were allowed to pitch our tents up in the second field. We had lots of space and it wasn’t nearly that hilly in comparison to the first campsite so we had no fear of rolling out of the tent at night. Sometimes it’s not that bad to not be the first to arrive at a festival.
At the festival site there were some changes in comparison to last year according to food. There were enough food-stands, but the only food they served this year was pommes (€2,-), bratwurst (€3,-), currywürst (€3,50) and schnitzel (€4,-). Considering the choice in food what else can we say than “welcome to Germany”. The bratwurst, currywürst and schnitzel were served with bread. For one evening this is not too bad, but if you have a three-day-festival we would like to have a bit more choice in food.
There were also plenty of drink-stands. One beer cost you €2,50 and for example a whiskey-cola €3,50. All glasses had a €1,- deposit.
For the first day there were only four bands on the bill and it was an all-German evening. The party started at 18.30 with the Excrementory Grindfuckers. As their official statement is “Musik machen anderen” (other people make music) you either love or hate this band. With songs like “The final grinddown”, “Ein bishen grind muss sein” and “Looking for Grindcore” these guys know how to make a party! If I recall correctly they opened the festival also in 2009 and we are very glad they did the same this year.
After Excrementory Grindfuckers ended their set, it was time for Axxis. This is a powermetal / hardrock band from Germany. Not exactly my cup of tea, but fairly popular in Germany.
We missed the next band, JBO, because we were partying at the camping site. When the last band of the night Doro started we headed back to see this show. Thanks to our press-passes we were allowed (if we wished) to see all the gigs from the side of the stage, so I saw half of the Doro set from the stage, which was quite cool. Doro, the former vocalist of the band Warlock, plays eighties heavy metal. She ended her set with the song “All We Are” and that was also the end of the first day of live music at Rock Area 2010.
At a smaller stage near the camping site the party continued until very, very late.
First thing: coffee (something to do with too much beer and too little sleep last night). Luckily the guys had brought me some coffee from wherever they had breakfast. Slowly waking up, it was time to head to the amphitheater again for the first bands of the day. The first two bands were Resistance of Yield and Ingrimm. Resistance of Yield won the metal battle for Rock Area and was thus the opener on Friday. Good gig from these young guys. Ingrimm plays some folk-metal but not really my cup of tea. Luckily there was a good place full of grass at the back of the amphitheatre, were you could lie down and still have a perfect view on the stage so we decided to crash there for an hour or two and having fun and drinking a few beers.
Next band we saw, still lying in the grass, was Gama Bomb. Thrash metal from Ireland. Nice!!!
I missed Benediction on the last fest I was, but luckily this time we saw them rule over the Loreley. When Benediction finished their set it was time to head closer to the stage for Dark Tranquillity.
I’m a bit biased, because I’m a huge fan of this band, so I can say it was the band of the festival! Where Benediction ruled, Dark Tranquillity conquered. Too bad their set was only 45 minutes long… but luckily they played some good songs like “The Wonders at Your Feet” and “Misery’s Crown”. And finally “Terminus (where death is most alive)” is still a fantastic song to end your set.
Sweden was replaced by Finland for the next gig: Ensiferum. They played a nice gig.
After Ensiferum it was time for Napalm Death. As this was the fourth time in a year we saw them perform, and we just spotted some folks we knew, so we had a great time drinking beer and having a lot of fun and completely missed everything on stage. After all, that is what festivals are also about: socializing and having fun with everybody. I have to say, the atmosphere was very, very good at this fest, everybody was having fun!
Next band was one of the great German Trash-metal acts from the eighties: Sodom! Tom Angelripper still knows how to please the crowd with the Teutonic Trash metal of Sodom, though every time I see Sodom I hope they’ll play a few Uncle Tom songs. But with songs like “Ausgebombt” and “Agent Orange” they really can’t do anything wrong for me.
Near the end of the set of Sodom I couldn’t be bothered anymore, and was very tired from the party the night before so I skipped Apocalyptica and called it a night. Unfortunately it also meant I missed Blaze Bailey on the second stage, though on the way to the camping site I stopped for a few songs at the second stage to see Krypteria play.
We missed the first band of the day because next to our campsite was a farm where they sold ice-cold beers so on our way to the festival site we had to stop there to drink a few beers. Second band (and for us the first we saw) was The Hand of Glory. They play a mix of melodic death metal and metalcore. Nice music to start the day with.
After The Hand of Glory it was time for Mob Rules. Power metal, nice music, but we decided to do the same as Friday, hanging / lying around in the grass in the back of the amphitheatre and listening to the first few bands of the day.
From a distance we saw Desaster, Holy Moses, Thyrfing and Entombed. We made some new friends and hang around with them all afternoon having fun and drinking beer.
When it was time for Sepultura I headed backstage to see them perform from the side of the stage. They kicked ass. You can say what you want about the Cavalera brothers not playing in Sepultura anymore, but I saw Sepultura for the last few years and without the brothers this band is growing back to a solid metal-band without the egos of the Cavalera brothers. It’s just pure music now and I like it.
I saw Sacred Reich for a bit from backstage and for a bit from the crowd. Nice to see these guys finally live on stage.
Then it was time for Arch Enemy. Wow! Second best band of the festival, it was a great way to end the festival. “Dead eyes see no future”, “We Will Rise”, it just sounds so good on CD and even better when played live!
When Arch Enemy was over, the organizers and volunteers came on stage to thank the crowd for a fantastic festival.
Next morning, after some breakfast and coffee, it was time to hit the road again, and the autobahn back to the Netherlands.
Overall: cool festival, very cool festival-site, cool people, good weather, too much beer, not enough sleep. In other words, this is how a festival is supposed to be! I can’t wait for the 2011 edition. Only one point of criticism for the organizers: do something about the food next year, because we can’t live on pommes and würst / schnitzel for three days in a row…
Daniël Verbiest / Photos: Lukas Bergman