Zur deutschen Version gehts hier.
I’m a feeling a bit blue, to be honest, to be writing these lines. When this article is finished, there will be a kind of finality to the end of the festival that I’m not mentally prepared for… Luckily, I still have the interviews to post and after that it’s just sleeping a couple of nights and it’s almost time again for next year’s Rockharz!
Thanks, once again, to lightinmirror.de for the awesome pictures!
Before any of you out there come for me and say „Stop writing about the pandemic, I can’t hear it anymore!“, let me tell you: I don’t want to talk about laws and other regulatory measures. I deal with that enough for my degree!
I want to shed some light on the impact the pandemic has had on me (and maybe on some of you).
I was always a bit anxious in huge crowds. I get these claustrophobic feelings that I never really liked. Has it been a problem so far? Not really.
But, and this is the point I’m going to make, it was all about being used to it. The more i stood in huge crowds, the better it was.
Then came the Saturday of the festival… Beforehand, I knew that the organizers sold day tickets for Saturday and that this offer was thoroughly used. I especially noticed that during the KNORKATOR set. Initially finding my group was quite the challenge, but when I wanted to get some food, shit really hit the fan for me. Unlike the days before, there were no clearings within these masses, no matter how far away from the stage I seemed to go. I’m not going to lie: It scared the hell out of me. It just didn’t end. People everywhere! After two years in which there no or hardly any big events, I was simply overwhelmed. Since I wanted to get my hoodie from my car anyway, I used the walk to my car as a measure to calm myself down.
I’m no medical expert, but it felt like I was very close to a panic attack, at least if my trembling hands were any indication.
Long story short: What am I trying to say? Simple! You are not alone if you felt and are still feeling like me. Find a place at the edge of the crowds and try to enjoy the show as best as you can, like I did. Oftentimes, the sound will be better there as well!
I personally realized what kind of mark the isolation left on me. It was a great festival nevertheless. It’s up to others to decide whether to implement new measures or not. It’s a fact though that we need to find a way to return to the normal pre-pandemic situation at some point.
There’s one thing left to say though: I hope that all the people, who had a positive test or were in contact with a positive person and spread Covid during the festival, will forever step into some weird fluid while wearing socks and that their blankets will always be 5cm too short!
Red alert and snow on stage
Enough ado about nothing, let’s talk about bands! The first in line that day were STORM SEEKER and damn, what a start! The sea-loving group filled the infield despite unholy-early slot which really impressed me. I feel like they could have easily gotten another slot to play in if you take their show experience into account, but what can you do? Whoever manages to mobilize so many people in the „morning“ at half past 11 and make them get down on the ground to do rowing motions, definitely wins the festival!
I can’t really say anything concerning the following bands THOMSEN and OBSCURITY because I kinda checked out at that time. The infield was quite empty during the THOMSEN slot, which made me feel a bit bad for the band, but the music wasn’t it either, at least not for me. It kinda put me into a lunch time nap which not even OBSCURITY managed to wake me from, even though I normally like their music.
The next band in the line-up was, quite literally, red alert! APRIL ART brought a mix of concert and PE lesson to the stage. Let me tell you, there’s hardly anything better than people who are so excited to be on stage that they jump around like a rubber ball on ecstasy (looking at you, Lisa!). What can I say? It was insanely awesome! It was visually captivating so that you couldn’t look away. Singer Lisa has a voice that lets the goosebumps spread on your skin. The music has so many twists and turns that you run the risk of missing something if you don’t listen to everything carefully. The last album P.O.K.E.R.F.A.C.E. really got to me and it was even better live. To see that the audience really was along for the whole ride really made me insanely happy for the band. It was totally warranted then, that singer Lisa dressed the festival crowd with the words that summarized the whole festival: „Rockharz, you sick fucks!“
If the female power in APRIL ART wasn’t enough, then you were treated to next fun thing right away: The international band AD INFINITUM showed once more how cool the mix of soft clean vocals and growls can be. It was noticeable that the band behind front woman Melissa Bonny hadn’t had that many opportunities to be on stage together so far, but you just gotta admire their drive. To release two album and an acoustic album during the pandemic is a powerful statement.
In addition, I was very impressed with Melissa’s graceful presence on stage. There are parts in the songs in which I wish here vocals were a bit fuller but that is being compensated well enough by the instruments, including extraordinary guitars.
Thrash-Metal fans also got their fill this year! TANKARD, who will release their 18th album this year, are always worth watching. I thought that their slot was rather early, I mean, you need to have had enough beer for this band afterall, but it was a lot of fun nevertheless. A special treat for the audience was the live premiere of their new single Ex-Fluencer, which will be released August 5th. I especially felt this song and it will be going directly in my playlist once it’s released!
A big fan moment for me was the INSOMNIUM gig. I’ve been listening to this band for almost ten years now and their music gets to me all the time. Admittedly, there have been some concerts where I thought they played horribly, but this was not one of them! Their melancholic approach to Melodic Death Metal is just superior! That I met them later via pure coincidence and was able to take a photo with them was just the icing on the cake!
After I just had to relax a bit in between everything and catch some sleep (I’m not getting any younger, ok?!), it was time for KNORKATOR. And what else is there to write other than Germany’s most band of the world delivered exactly what they’re known for? Absolute insanity and good music. The crowd was huge and the stage was, once again, not big enough for Stumpen. When you are looking for fun and entertainment and the exact opposite of seriousness, then KNORKATOR is just what you’re looking for!
After EISBRECHER let it snow on stage and ACCEPT made me happy by playing Balls to the Wall, it was finally time for ELUVEITIE who were also the very last band.
One thing beforehand though: Whoever decided to put THE Pagan Metal band on an after-headliner-slot should get their priorities checked. It’s just unacceptable! Please change that next time!
Despite that it was an absolutely amazing gig, which was emotionally charged by the departure of hurdy gurdy player Michalina. It was a very curious feeling watching this band and to know that the festival will be over any minute. In any case, it was my last highlight and it was effected by them playing Inis Mona as a third song.
Overall it was wonderful, albeit stressful festival. I want to use this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who made this possible! Huge thanks to Julia for being my wonderful on-the-ground-support, to Siffi and the Media-Team for organising the accreditation, to the Grabenschlampen for just being awesome, to our Rockharz camp for always knowing when to draw blank, to the Rockharz itself for existing and to all of you out there for making articles like these possible!
Next year we will talk again about this amazing festival. You know what ELUVEITIE sing in their song: „As long as I breathe, I’ll call you my home!“