This is now an annual event. Travelling 1000 miles in a weekend to see a bunch of bands and spend time chilling out at a great music festival. Curiously we haven’t really watch any of the headline acts over the three years that we have attended but there are enough excellent bands elsewhere on the bill to make it worthwhile. I would argue that some of the bands I enjoyed should be higher in the playing order but I guess the bosses organise things to fit the mostly German audience.
We chose to try and spread the journey out a little this year. We left the UK on Thursday and drove to Dortmund to stay in a (very) cheap hotel, the bon marché hôtel, Bochum. We arrived there around 2 in the morning but checked in and got our room. It was clean and good value. 336 miles completed so far. When I woke up I was somewhat surprised to see hospital rooms right outside of my window!
It turns out there’s a hospital outside the room?? pic.twitter.com/c23R2jj1hm
— Ian Parish (@iparish) August 11, 2017
Friday morning meant a short trip to Hildesheim Airport to hopefully arrive early and get our choice of camping spot. 166 miles (ish). There were Facebook updates and app updates along the way asking people to hold off arriving because the rain was and had been very bad and the organisers wanted the ground to drain a little before 20,000 campers turned up. We detoured through Hildesheim itself, because in three attendances we haven’t been in to the town centre yet and it is designated a World Heritage Site and looks gorgeous on websites. We decided quite quickly that we would head to the campsite and see what happened. It was raining and we wanted to get our tents set up.
The weather was mostly light rain, the sort that really gets you wet. The forecast at this point was pretty shit with rain all night and also Saturday. We walked around and checked out the rest of the festival area. Picking out the most convenient [but quiet] toilets. There were some new additions along the runway, a food place, “posh” toilets and a small coffee place that was very stuck in the mud. The campsite was very busy when we arrived so our earlier than normal for us arrival didn’t really help, but with two tents this year we found somewhere suitable.
We looked around the medieval village and tried to pick out a festival t-shirt before really wanting to call it quits. The rain had got to us along with parking issues [covered elsewhere] and I was fed up and wanted to sleep. The tent beckoned and I pondered which outfit to where in the expected rain on Saturday.
Saturday morning meant finding somewhere for the daily routine. The “posh” loos mentioned already were spacious and didn’t smell. Wood chippings had to be thrown over the waste to stop the smell. These were also clean, but to be honest the receptacle was just a wheelie bin.
Time to get dressed and head to the festival. We had standard photos taken this year next to the M’era Luna sign and the overall joint aim of the weekend was to get our photograph taken and then on websites and in magazines. The costumes were designed to shock and be colourful, anything other than black stands out very well among the 25,000 attendees.
We got a neighbour to take a photo at our campsite area.
Then we had photographs taken at the entrance sign by the pond. You can’t see the mud here but there was tons of the fucking stuff. The rain had ruined the entire area of the festival.
I guess I out to talk about the music. That is why we were there. It was the music that had attracted us originally to a goth festival in the middle of Germany and the dressing up is just a little bit extra. As I have done in previous years I noted which bands I watched and what I thought on my phone. The following is pretty much what I noted down.
Circus of Fools. Main stage. Metal. Black and white outfits. Female singer with male. Circus act. Girls on a ring.
During this act I had a hayfever attack. I last had one of these in Cyprus and it lasted a few hours. I had a few episodes over the weekend, I think it was mostly to do with the air in the gas mask directed straight at my eyes. I even had an attack in my tent one morning so who knows what caused it. At times I could only wear the gas mask for a few minutes before I couldn’t see anything!
Eden Weint Im Grab. Main stage. Metal with violin and cello.
Ambassador 21. Hangar stage. Fast hardcore industrial. Female singer. Good.
Left to Unzucht. Main stage. I really enjoyed this band previously and once again they entertained. I really enjoyed their set.
Ost +Front. Main stage. Dita von Teese rip off with red liquid in the champagne glass. German industrial metal. Risqué show. Guitars dirty thrash sound.
We ate lunch at this point. The vegan Indian food stall was very good and most of the people working there remembered us from last year. We had a nice chat with them.
.com/kill on the hangar stage. Good electronic industrial. Could do with being heavier in places?? Less impressive than expected. The front man wasn’t that great and the lyrics were mostly repetitive which meant the singer didn’t do a great deal.
Feuerschwanz main stage from the side. Medieval German rock with violins. I don’t really need to add anything to this description.
Mesh. Main stage watched while getting a drink. Plodding electronica.
Faderhead. Hangar stage. Brilliant. Best act so far. I really enjoyed this set.
Ashbury Heights. Hangar stage. Female singer pretty much had her boobs out. Songs ok but too long and boring. It didn’t really work for me. Lacklustre front man/woman. I need band members to at least look as though they are enjoying themselves, which kinda goes against the Goth image!
Project Pitchfork. Main stage. 3 drummers, why? All seemed to be playing the same thing. Plodding but very well done. Not quite my stuff but glad to have seen them.
Solar Fake. Hangar stage. I put no notes here so I have no idea what I thought about them!
At this point I went to take my Camelbak off. I had filled it with Pimms but I wasn’t really drinking it much and it was annoying me at this point.
Subway To Sally main stage. while waking through. I don’t like this band.
KMFDM hangar stage. Pretty much as excellent as expected. Very guitar orientated sound and almost thrash at times. Played a few songs from the new album. Technical issues.
Food (stuffed bread) while ASP (main stage) technical difficulties meant he was delayed and that also meant that Korn were going to start late. The Saturday entertainment finished around 01:00 on Sunday. I had already left and was asleep. I couldn’t care for Korn and it had been a long day with plenty of rain. The whole site was a mud bath and I wasn’t feeling the happiest.
This morning we had to get costumes from the car, which fortunately was “parked” reasonably close. We could also try and take back stuff we wouldn’t need anymore to reduce the load we would carry Monday morning. My inspiration for this costume was a banana republic dictator although it has been pointed out to me that I need some medals. This photo of me captures me unaware, which normally gives good results.
Over the last two days the campsite had been turned into an excellent mud wrestling venue:
I guess this is the accepted standard of things once it rains a lot. Who would have expected this in August in the centre of Germany though? I’m glad my boots help up to the challenge of keeping my feet warm and dry.
Here’s the run down of the bands seen:
Johnny Deathshadow. Main stage. Metal. Actually good. Good crowd interaction. Good metal.
Then I had a vegan breakfast and whiskey with ginger, Of course!
SchwarzerEngel. Main stage. Ok-ish. Metal. Not ok-ish. A bit shit really. Boring plodding metal.
Darkhaus. Main stage. Dies in middle of song. Quite well done Rock-pop. Songs start well but die. This band could have been really good but their musical style just angered me. The songs started really well but then during the bridge they utterly lost all beat and sound. Not good.
Absurd Minds. Hangar stage. Electronica. Upbeat but not quite feeling it.
Versen gold. Main stage. Irish medieval rock. Makes me want to dance. This is really a ceilidh. Couple of songs.
Tyske Ludder. Hangar stage. Good dance industrial with German language. Good. Russian flag waving. Good front man. Really good set.
Outside for a drink. Megahertz on main stage. A fucking ballad!!
Leather Strip in the hangar. Very good EBM. What it’s all about. Still very good today. Really impressive and great fun.
Haujobb in the hangar.Moody electronica. Artistic and very well done music but not really for dancing or watching? A little bit of politics!
Caught a little bit of Mono Inc. on the main stage and fuck me they sang a terrible cover of “After the war”.
Front Line Assembly. Hangar. Somewhat lacklustre. Left for a meal at the vegan store.
Went to have some mead. Saw the fish kebab, possibly the most disturbing thing I have ever seen, it looked puke-worthy.
DAF. Hangar stage. Early electronic. Basic like Nitzer Ebb. Probably something really special and transformative but not quite my stuff.
Came out for Blutengel on the main stage. Witches with fire. Started with “Black” first. Lesbian nuns and a female devil stage show. Girls stripping down to underwear. Is this 2017?? Rock Pop goth. The dancing girls were needed because the front man and woman are really boring.
To medieval village for Rhambrot and an orange flavoured cookie.
De/vision in the hangar, we lasted one third of a song.
Outside to And One headlining the main stage. Clean pop-type electronic. Nothing special really.
And that was it. Favourite bands were Faderhead, KMFDM, Leather Strip and Tyske Ludder. The weather on the Sunday was much better and the general mood was great. Monday morning we woke early [ish] and packed up, got the car loaded and headed home. It was a foggy start in central Germany! This is a last photo of our camping area:
There are reasons the car looks quite lonely in the parking field and these will be covered in another communication. I had some parking issues over the summer and as the summer isn’t currently over I expect a few more to come!
The return journey included a poorly sign-posted diversion around Duisberg and we ended up relying on Apple Maps as Google was failing us at this point! We returned to Calais via the Brussels ring road and Lille. This route has a few more corners and hills along the way! 525 miles.
We got to the tunnel check-in two hours and 2 minutes before our train was due to depart and the woman working there delayed our check in by two minutes so we wouldn’t have to exit and go through the queuing system again. We met up with some friends for a chat at the Eurotunnel terminal and during the return train journey I cleaned my nails. What else are you going to do?
Did my nails the best I’ve done them for this years M’era Luna. Andy agreed. #mera17
— Ian Parish (@iparish) August 14, 2017
I am already trying to plan costumes for next year although I am not sure how to top this year’s.