FESTIVAL ROUND UP 2013
It’s once again time to decide how your heavy metal holidays will be spent this year with Download and Bloodstock both boasting reasonable line ups yet sadly another year with no Sonisphere for the U.K. Considering the impact of 2011‘s event this is a great disappointment with only Bloodstock able to give Download a run for its money. This year’s Download still boasts some decent headliners and none of them are Def Leppard! Slipknot, Iron Maiden and Rammstein top this year’s bill with appearances from grunge superstars Alice In Chains, Ex Metallica bassist Jason Newstead, Mastodon, Queens Of The Stone Age, Ghost, Black Stone Cherry, Converge, HIM, Vision Of Disorder, Walking Papers and Hacktivist also appearing.
Bloodstock as usual provides an alternative for the more old school metalhead with the U.K. exclusive performance of King Diamond, Lamb Of God and Slayer topping the bill with Voivod, Amorphis, Exodus and Firewind ably supporting although as usual there is nothing to tempt fans of doom and stoner to Catton Hall.
If Doom and Stoner is what you want then there is one Mecca to journey to known as Roadburn. This event emanates from Tilburg, Holland and boasts a line up of If you missed grabbing tickets for Roadburn then London or Berlin both host Desertfest from April 26th-28th featuring the likes of Unida, Uffomammut, Pagan Altar, Bongripper, Humanfly, Pentagram, Naam and Fatso Jetson.
If Def Leppard are what you crave then look no further than France’s premier metal event Hellfest which boasts a greatly diverse and impressive line up again this year. Kiss and Volbeat join the party as main stage headliners while Avantiasia, Korn, Danzig, Moonspell, Morbid Angel, My Dying Bride, Rotting Christ, Neurosis, SWANS, Cult Of Luna, Witchcraft, Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats, Sick Of It All, Gallows and The Buzzcocks all appear. This mix of post metal, punk, hardcore, black and doom metal has long attracted visitors from far and wide and looks set to dominate the calendar of many rock tourists this year.
Across the way in Belgium, Graspop Metal Meeting isn’t too spectacular this year in terms of differentiating too much from Download but The Dillinger Escape Plan, God Seed, Epica and W.A.S.P. make this a respectable showing from an event which has long been successful.
Of course the biggest event over Europe once again has to be the annual sell-out that is Germany’s Wacken Open Air. This year Henry Rollins, Arch Enemy, Manowar, Sabaton and Nightwish will be treading the boards on the 24th edition of Metal’s answer to the Glastonbury Festival.
If heavy is what you are looking for but Bloodstock doesn’t tickle your fancy then you could do much worse than giving German fest Summerbreeze a go. Set in Dinkelsbühl in Bavaria it plays host to the likes of Hatebreed, In Flames, Korpiklanni, The Vision Bleak, Tiamat and Leaves Eyes. The Bavarian countryside provides an idealic setting for a Festival and if it’s atmosphere you are looking for then Slovenia’s Metal Days runs from July 21st-27th (Formerly Metal Camp) and could be for you. Its beach side setting means that you have plenty of time to sunbathe and relax before the music begins at 3pm. Lasting an entire week pacing your drinking or having a clinic to rehabilitate you might be in order however with Iced Earth, Wintersun, Meshuggah, Orange Goblin, Eyehategod, Torche and Brutal Truth on hand you wouldn’t want to overdo it anyway.
Value for money wise you could do little better than the Czech Republic’s Masters Of Rock event which emanates from Vizovice and is set to feature Tobias Sammet’s Avantiasia, The Devin Townsend Project, Accept, Audrey Horne, Ameranthe and Anneke Van Giersbergen. Run by the biggest concert promoter in the Czech Rep and for only 30 Euros a ticket it’s a constantly growing event which promises much now and in the future.
Sticking with the Czech Rep, if it’s extreme metal you crave, then Obscene Extreme 2013 should blast your brains out! Canadian extremists Cryptopsy headlining along with death stalwarts Krisiun, Napalm Death and Anaal Nathrakh making for a particularly brutal line up which is fitting considering it’s held on the Trutnov Battlefield! From the battlefield to the fortress Josefov where between August 7-10th Killing Joke, Alcest, Borknagar, Carcass and Opeth will man the ramparts to make what has to be the best alternative to Bloodstock going.
Over in Scandinavia Sweden Rock and Denmark’s Copenhell are intriguing with Canadian proggers Rush headlining the former and appearances by Amon Amarth and Testament featuring on the latter. Sadly we also have to report that the follow up to last year’s extremely successful Metal Fest Croatia, Burning Sea Festival has been cancelled due to the Croatian government levelling it with a 25% V.A.T. increase due to it no longer having exemption from cultural association tax. The upside is that ticket holders can attend Metal Days in Slovenia with their Burning Sea ticket although, with prices set to rise for the Croatian event next year, it remains to be seen how this small but perfectly formed event can survive without large company investment.
Stateside now and Rock on the Range in Columbus Ohio weighs in with Soundgarden, Halestorm, Steel Panther, Smashing Pumpkins and Korn swinging through town. If further south tempts you, the Rocklahoma will see The Axl Rose ego project (Sorry Guns ‘N Roses) perform another set which surely will run late into the night.
Back in Blighty the annual August Bank holiday event that is the Reading and Leeds Festivals (from the 23rd to the 25th) have a couple of bands of interest with a returning Nine Inch Nails being the main thing to shout about with The Deftones and Scottish Pop rockers Biffy Clyro and Green Day headlining a day each alongside rapper Eminem.
Gilby Clarke, Dokken and Suffocation all appear in the exotic location of Guadalajara Mexico on the 18th and 19th of May for the Hell and Heaven Metal Fest which is headlined by Mötörhead and Anthrax. If a bit of spice is what you crave then you could do worse.
If complex polyrhythms and mathematical time signatures float your boat then get down to Peterborough for Tech Fest Open Air featuring Scar Symmetry, Monuments, Sky Harbor, Chimp Spanner and Djent metal heroes TesseracT who will be scrambling your brains from the 11th till the 15th of July. Yet if only the most brutal, eviscerating death will suffice then Denmark’s Kill Town delivers unpleasantness like Entrails, Indesinence and Convulse. In addition to that Neurotic Deathfest in Tilburg Holland sees Immolation, Decapitated, Vader and Pig Destroyer unite for the biggest indoor extreme metal festival in Europe which should satisfy the gore obsessed appetite of any grind fan. U.K. Death pioneers Bolt Thrower team up with ex Emperor frontman Ihsahn, Testament and Dr. Living Dead to terrorize Finland’s Tuska Open Air. Nightwish also feature on this event which takes place in Helsinki between the 28th and the 30th of June.
Further Krieg will be on offer with Ohio U.S.A the location for Nordic Midsummer fest for one night only on the 22nd of June featuring Befallen, Thou Shalt Not and Here Lies Another yet if you want true Norwegian Black Metal and missed Inferno 2013 then Bunker Festival will be in Oslo from the 22nd to the 24th of August and shall feature Aura Noir, Destroyer 666 and Integrity blasting for Satan.
Darkness of a more gothic nature falls over Hildesheim Germany between August 10th and 11th Featuring HIM, Blutengel, The 69 Eyes and Industrialist Front Line Assembly. This mix of Goth, industrial and darkwave should be enough to keep any self respecting rivethead occupied. Spain’s contribution to the rock calendar this year comes in the shape of Resurrection Fest in Viveiro between the 1st and 3rd of August. In addition to Slayer, a reunited Black Flag appear alongside Killswitch Engage, Bad Religion, Trivium and D.R.I.delivering high impact metal and hardcore. Sonisphere may be as dead as the dodo in England but across the water in Metz, France the event features many of Download Festival’s regulars along with Airbourne, Bring Me The Horizon and Children Of Bodom.
The discerning prog rocker will be lamenting missing out on Hawkwind, The Strawbs, Curved Air and The Von Hertzen Brothers at Hard Rock Hell Presents Prog and the lack of news regarding the returning High Voltage Festival in London. The Electric Garden Prog Festival on the 3rd and 4th of May in Blackpool features new school proggers like Mars Volta gone metal type Trojan Horse alongside female fronted act Karnataka and over in Belgium PPM Festival (August 12th – 14th) has the likes of Queensryche and intriguing Tunisian act Myrath delivering more metallic prog flavour.
Another calendar of rock and metal across Europe and further afield to wet the appetites of rockers, Goths, punks, thrashers, black metallers, doom fanatics and prog fans everywhere. Wherever you go at home or abroad keep rocking hard and living loud, live music needs you.