Ah, that magical time is upon us yet again. The European Summer Festival season – with a tantalising buffet of stomping grounds to choose from. Starting with the classics like Wacken Open Air and the UK’s Download Festival to the contenders like France’s Hellfest who have been giving these classics a severe run for their money. And moving to the more underground and flourishing festivals such as Metal Days in Slovenia. Here at Metal As Fuck we want to make sure you have the best experience on your festival travels this season....
Festival goers come in all manners and modes, many are rookies, many are well seasoned; you’ll see these hardened veterans around; they are the punters with (literally) 20+ festival armbands donning their arms like scalps, walking barefoot and running on zero hours sleep. These punters have the most incredible stories. You’ll pick out the rookies too – the one’s with Dettol travel packs clutched to their belt loops, waving their phones senselessly in the air for a signal; they have ridiculous footwear and basically either look like a kid in a candy store or horrendously overwhelmed.... We won’t sugar coat it, it can be gruelling at times even for the well seasoned; there are mornings when you are hung the fuck over and you wake inside a 40 degree tent covered in Margarita sugar [It was delicious the night before] or when you are literally a darker skin shade from the tornado’s of dust you’ve been covered in for 4 days straight [happened] or when your tent mate spew’s on your shoes after too many cocktails [*rolls eyes* true story] or when the 100 year storms decide to stop in and you find yourself slogging around in mud up to your knees the whole festival [holy fuck that did happen] – one thing you need to realise though; it’s all totally fucking worth it!! 5 day metal festivals are not for the feeble, they take stamina, incentive and a fucking great attitude.
In previous years Metal As Fuck have highlighted the must do’s at an outdoor festival and have shared our personal experiences with you to give you the best advice and tips and more importantly the tools you’ll need to have an unbeatable experience at your chosen destination – and why wouldn’t you have the best experience? You are surrounded by tens of thousands of your metal comrades, checking out your favourite bands, (and for Australians in particular – bands whom which we may never see on our shores) you’re cracking beer cans for breakfast, failing at any attempt of a second language, playing in the mud and dust and puddles and generally being a right royal feral – metal festivals are our favourite place to be. However, any aspirations you have for attending one of these festivals often over clouds your ability to recognise if you will be able to handle one of these festivals. The vast majority of us run with it, embrace it and fully get amongst it. Yet there are some who struggle.... and I have personally seen many struggle spectacularly. So before you go running off and purchasing your tickets and jumping on a plane to Europe - read Metal As Fuck’s: “10 Signs A European Festival Is Not For You”
1. You hate camping: I hate to break it to you folks who enjoy the comforts of your duvet and sleep number bed set at ‘#21, man the fuck up’; but 90% of European Festivals go for a period of 3 – 5 days and unless you go through the arduous process of nailing in a hotel miles from the festival ground and commuting each day – you will have to perch yourself in the polyester network of over 25,000 tents.....
2. Dirt: You will need to get comfortable with the fact that you will be absolutely dirt bag fucking filthy. And I mean, dirt bag fucking filthy. So to all you ‘germaphobes’ and Dettol abusers out there, you must learn to deal with this fact. Another fact is more scientific; according to one Dr. Joshua Zeichner, humans do not need to bathe as often as we do, so cut the ties from societal ‘norms’ and let your primordial side take over. Fuck it, you can shower laters... and I encourage the later part as there is absolutely no damn point showering at a 5 day ‘outdoor’ festival. No point.
3. Facilities: If you’re not dirt bag filthy enough, continue reading. Outdoor festival organisers go to great lengths to offer their punters the most hygienic facilities they can. Realistically though, this means the use of porta-potty’s. The overall preferred option at festivals. However, if you are happy enough to pay some measly Euros for a toilet VIP pass, then you’re laughing with clean, flushable toilets. Though at times you may need to dig deep and simply get over your fragile sensibilities and use the damn Porta-Potty.... My introduction to 5 days using festival toilets was crushing to say the least and if you attend the mecca outdoor festivals like Wacken or Hellfest – where you are miles away from anything resembling civilisation, sometimes you’ve just gotta do, what you gotta do. Let me help you to visualise what you would be in for: roughly 70,000 human beings on 5 days of heavy drinking and 5 days of questionable bowel obliterating festival food. These two components make for one hell of a toilet party *toot-toot*. And if you were one of the lucky ones to experience the disaster of the toilets that was Wacken Open Air 2015 [catastrophic weather denied any vacating of the toilets] then you know of the nightmares I speak *shivers*
4. Organisation: [Non-Euro specific] planning to attend a festival on another continent requires a fair amount of preparation. And if you are travelling with a group; even more so. Some particulars you will want to take into consideration: festival tickets, booking or acquiring tents, parking tickets/fees, planes, trains, festival bus bookings, currency exchange the list goes on – if you hate organising, either have someone else more competent do it for you or don’t do it at all. But to ensure your 5 days run as smoothly as possible, I suggest you get on top of it.
5. Weather: Prepare for the unexpected people – not all summer festivals are sunshine and lollipops and if they are, the sun is literally out to kill you while you choke on that fucking lollipop – you will gamble with the two extremes – you will either be cooking in the heat or drowning in the rain and if it rains – ffs, suck it up Bitch.
6. Get along with your neighbours: Everyone is there to have a great time and are generally (fermented) in great spirits. You will see a vast amount of metal heads from various cultures, backgrounds, territories, traditions and creeds and we’re all here for the same reason – our love for heavy metal.
7. You are your own responsibility: If you suffer from separation anxiety then get ready - you will be separated from your comrades at one point or another, it is inevitable and unavoidable. Don’t despair; it’s an opportunity to meet other radd people. Just make sure you have a meeting place or a tonne of battery on your phone to get in contact and try not to get lost in the dark. It’s a fucking pain in the arse.
8. For the ladies: Trust me, you will not recognise yourself after 2 hours. You will be the most hideous form of yourself you have ever seen. Avoid mirrors. Your hair will be matted, your face will break out in a fury of pimples and you will fucking smell.... Like the arse of a low flying duck to be specific. Look on the bright side though; everyone looks fucking terrible, so to put it simply; fuck the standards, you are here to rock! Embrace your fucked up festival face! Own it!
9. Beer: Do you like it warm, flat or full of dirt? It happens...
10. Lastly, don’t be ‘That Guy’: I don’t know how many times it can be said. You know the one we speak of; that one guy who can’t help but be the biggest fucking dick at a festival, who goes out of their way to ruin it for everybody. Don’t be that guy; no one likes that guy. And if you find yourself near that guy, or worse – camping with ‘that guy’, then boot that fucking guy.
So, if you’re reading this now and thinking to yourself, hmmm perhaps this isn’t for me – be it the toilets or the dirt or the camping then do everyone a favour and stay the fuck home.... But we know you can handle this like a boss. You’re a metal head - metal heads can embrace both the good and the bad at festivals, we live for it. So wherever you’re going this year be safe and mosh hard!
For all those heading to Metal As Fuck's favourite festival of the season - check out the official 2016 tralier for Wacken Open Air: