That Way Madness Lies

A weekend during August meant it was time to travel to Germany again and the beautiful town of Hildesheim. In 2015 Smith and I went to the M’era Luna festival. This year we had tickets earlier, the tunnel booked earlier and also a plan! Except the plan had to be adjusted as Smith was flying into Brussels on the Friday morning. I spent the Thursday evening packing the car ready for the weekend and got up early on the Friday to head down the M20 to the Channel Tunnel. Last year there were problems with Operation Stack and this year the M20 was fine although the scene of a fallen pedestrian bridge a few weeks later.

After the tunnel I headed to Brussels, which wasn’t that far off the route we needed to get to Hildesheim. There are two main motorway routes that head to the industrial heartland of Germany’s Ruhr Valley and one goes via Brussels, the other via Antwerp. So the first three hours of the journey were completed on my own, with podcasts and talking books for company [I don’t do music on long journeys].

Smith sent a message saying he’d meet me in P1 level 3. Well, I wondered while traversing the Ring if that is what the signs on approach to the airport would say or would they be in another language or missing entirely. Fortunately they did and we found each other easily. A quick adjustment on the iPhone Googlemaps app and we were heading to Hildesheim past Leuven.

Not a great deal of note happened along the way until we got close to Bad Oeynhausen when the app was telling us that there was a 90 minute delay and would we like to go a different route? Well, yes please. So we left the A2 motorway, where speeds reach in excess of 110mph, and headed cross country to Hamelin and then Hildesheim. I think that all in all the journey was about eight hours, which isn’t that bad for five hundred miles. All we now had to do was load up the trolley and walk about a mile from the car to the festival entrance, find a spot to camp, put up the tent, eat food and drink. We camped almost exactly as we did last year, about as far from the main festival as possible. This meant it was reasonably quiet and the toilets weren’t over run.

Runway 07L
Runway 07

Friday evening meant wine, Jägermeister and Absinthe. This was possibly a little silly as Saturday was quite hard work for me. Although there is no live music on the Friday evening there is a disco in one of the hangers and plenty of stalls open along with the Medieval Village where you can practise your ax throwing, should you want to.

The weather wasn’t as hot this year compared with 2015. The forecast had 25C or so which suited me fine, the 33C of last year was too much. The night was good and Saturday morning meant a walk along the runway to showers and coffee. Not at the same time but I needed both. The shower marquee was pretty good and had lovely hot water to clean away the hours of travel yesterday. The queues for coffee were pretty long and I wondered whether it was worth bringing a stove to make a coffee each morning but it feels quite sophisticated drinking coffee in the morning sun on the taxiway of an airfield waiting for the outfits and music.

M’era Luna is cheap enough that if you just come along to display your costume and make up abilities then you don’t have to worry about the music. With Download coming in at about GBP200 the GBP80 for M’era Luna seems a bargain. It’s also small enough to feel cosy and pleasant. Getting ready for the day’s activities this year was a little more time consuming this year as Smith and I had plans for costumes, also it appeared there was a naked selfie competition on WhatsApp with a group of friends started by Walshe! These photos still exist in the ether but they are not going to be published anywhere public.

I should probably get on to the music with that being the reason for driving five hundred miles an’ all. But first there was getting an outfit on! Because Suicide Commando wasn’t playing on the Saturday it meant we dressed in white shirts [shock horror!] and Ayria ties bought when we saw her play at Electrowerkz.

And so on to the music. I seem to recall saying last year that the little details disappear from my mind and so what follows is mostly just a list with my thoughts at the time. Some of my favourite bands will appear with more details. There are two stages at M’Era Luna, the main stage and the hanger stage.


Shaargot [main stage] – good industrial metal.

Vlad In Tears [hanger stage] – shit.

Erdling [main stage] – goth. shit.

Time for lunch.

Gothminster [main stage] – killing a zombie on stage during the first song. Bat ventriloquism in the second. What the fuck is going on? Left to the hanger stage.


A Life Divided [hanger stage] – caught the last song. pop metal.

Chrom [hanger stage] – the first band I was really looking forward to. I liked the music but they were boring. A shame.


Stahlmann [main stage] – dressed in silver. female guitarist. slow goth rock. couple of faster ones, ok.

Noisuf X [hanger stage] – three blokes. White shirts. Two drumming. Heavy EBM. Good.

Cassandra Complex [hanger stage] – listened to this stuff before we went. Sounded ok. Turns out that live it’s just goth shit.


Oomph! [main stage] – Good German pop rock. 2 guitars, keyboards, percussion, drummer. Bass and singer.

Hamatom [hanger stage] – from outside hangar. Faster metal. Masks. Ok. A little derivative! Should be more dangerous given masks.

Apocalyptica [main stage] – Pretty good given it’s men with cellos. Too many Metallica covers.

[:SITD:] [hanger stage] – Solid good set. This was actually a pretty good set and they played well. Very good to finally see this band.

Die Krupps [hangar stage] – Fuck yes! Playing metal pipes. Breaking guitars. Industrial well done.

Die Krupps
Die Krupps

VNV nation [Main stage] – 1 song. Boring. I’ve listened to a lot of this at home and I like it. But only at certain times. It’s gentle music. The sort to put on when having dinner.

Hocico [Hanger stage] – Actually pretty good. Big sound. Two percussionists with black Angel wings!

Sisters of Mercy [main stage] – Bad. Dull.

And there ends the first day at M’Era Luna festival 2016. It was a good day. Plenty to see and the surprises of the day were Hamatom and Oomph! for me. I enjoyed both. Not to say I hated all the others, I just liked these two more. Oh, and Die Krupps were pretty awesome along with [:SITD:]. Hocico made a better impression that when I saw them previously at Electrowerkz, but still didn’t quite manage brilliant.


Morning time means the usual hunt for coffee. Showers and packing up the tent. Sunday’s plan was to pack up camp and then drive a couple of hundred miles after the last band. We had a date with Eurotunnel at about midday on Monday and we definitely wouldn’t make it if we left Monday morning. We walked the mile or so to the car and then got dressed in the costumes. Again we were dressed in white.

And here we have today’s list of acts we watched.

Me The Tiger [hanger stage] – Pretty good. One song. Good.

Aeverium [main stage] – Female main singer, sexy. Heavy. Male singer. Good contrast.

Rabia Sorda [hanger stage] – Rock, a bit pop? Guitar with keyboard sounds over top. Ok. Nothing special.

Rabia Sorda
Rabia Sorda

Heldmaschine [hanger stage] – Ok. Industrial. Correction very good.

Centhron [hangar stage] – Live bassist. Good. Shame we left early.

Combichrist [main stage] – Darn good. Pit. I’ve seen this band many times and they haven’t failed to impress although I do prefer their earlier electronic work! [go to 3:24 in the video and there I am!]

Faun [main stage] – Pagan shit.

Spock [Hangar stage] – Awesome Star Trek pop!

Zeromancer [hangar stage] – Sat at back. Sounds ok.

Eisbrecher [main stage] – Drunk girl talk, orange hair. Late on stage. Very good. Speaks too much. Liked the set and the black suits. Left early to see:

Suicide Commando [Hangar stage] – Live drummer. Excellent. Including song: Die Motherfucker Die.

Suicide Commando
Suicide Commando

In Extremo [Main stage] – 1 song. Fucking medieval rock.

Had cup of tea. Listened to Within Temptation. Went and got some food. Left.

We travelled just inside Belgium and parked the car up and slept for a few hours before waking, driving to a service station for coffee and then getting to Calais for the Eurotunnel and home. We chatted about music and costumes for next year. I’ve got some ideas but I need to learn about mammal skulls first.

It’s hard to sum up the entire weekend. Almost every aspect of it was brilliant. The journey, the chatting, the alcohol, the food, the vegan food server with her lovely freckles, the coffee, the costumes, the music, just being away and feeling like I was at home.

There may be more to add to this but it has taken a long time for me to get around to writing this so I will publish this communication. Changes and added bits will be noted as such.