Festival Report 2015

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

With 2015, the third edition of Metaldays was upon us, but if you look further back into history, and acknowledge this as being the continuation of Metalcamp that it really is, we here at Metalmoments were actually celebrating a more impressive anniversary – this was actually our tenth time in Tolmin!
This may make us sound old, but on the other hand it pretty much describes how much we like coming to this place as well.

Like so many times before, Metaldays provided a nice line-up and the best, to my knowledge, location in the world for a metal festival.
The line-up this year wasn’t the best going by my personal taste, but there were still several names I was looking forward to, and even more that I acknowledge as being popular bands of the genre. One thing the festival had going for it was a well-rounded line-up – nearly all genres were visited, in both the big name section and the small. Names like Fear Factory, Moonspell, and Devin Townsend Project are all bands that we have seen many times before, but will still revisit every chance we get. I was very much looking forward to seeing Queensrÿche for the very first time, and even though we have seen them in the past, Rotting Christ was another rarely visited gem that was high on our priority list. And of course Death Angel, Sepultura, and Dickless Tracy, how could we miss out on them? As you can imagine, the list could grow long, so let’s leave it for the individual reviews for now.

You see, there was another big event that we were going to attend this year, something completely new.
At last years’ festival, it was announced that the Tolmin Museum together with … photo club and the Metaldays festival was having a photo competition. Three categories were open for participation; “Around the stage”, “Metalheads in the Socͮa valley”, and “The Metaldays festival”, and Sunday evening before the festival began there was an award ceremony and opening of the exhibition at the museum.
The ceremony was nice, with free beer flowing from the tap, and a local folk music quartet playing fun covers of famous hard rock and metal songs. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Metalmoments photographer Lunah Lauridsen walked away with 1st prize in the “Around the stage” category, 2nd prize in the “The Metaldays festival” category, and 3rd prize in the “Metalheads in the Socͮa valley” category. Oh, and then there was the “Overall winner” special category which she also won. Shameless self-promoting is not only allowed, but also mandatory under said circumstances.

Besides this, our Metaldays days flew by too quickly. We managed to do a lot, but somehow Slovenia always seems to have more to offer than it’s possible to fit in, even during this lengthy festival.
As has become a custom, we took some day-trips around the countryside and up in the mountains (as far as I could handle anyway), we got some great food from Tolmin and nearby towns, and we got to hang out with friends whom we hadn’t met in a long time.
There was one significant change that made staying at the festival itself even more interesting than usual though – sponsorships had changed a little since our previous few years, and lo and behold, Lasͮko was once again being served to the thirsty masses! A dream come true, truly!
And yes, the masses were definitely thirsty. You see, even though our weather forecast for the festival looked extremely bleak, we only got a single concert of rain, and the rest of the days were baking warm, with temperatures averaging around 35 ͦC, reaching a high point that we measured to 39 ͦC!
This of course made a trip to the Socͮa and the beach bar not only pleasant, but also downright mandatory. How the volleyball players managed to keep it up is a wonder, although there were several times the ball “accidentally” ended up in the river and the players had to take a bath to fetch it. Divers, drifters, and deep ones were seen all over, and the health food vendor was well visited, selling many exquisite juices, smoothies and ice creams.

Back up at the field, music was pounding out of course, and there were enough people to visit the shows as well.
I’ll have to be honest and say that I missed one or several shows this year that truly knocked me off my feet. This never happened.
Metaldays did however serve up several solid and entertaining shows well worth seeing, even though they may have lacked somewhat in the surprise department. Thinking back, I would have to say that Fear Factory and Moonspell delivered my favourite shows, while my greatest disappointment was sadly the anticipated show by Queensrÿche.
Suicide Silence and Arch Enemy surprised me by having an impressive grip on their respective audiences, and what it means to perform, but musically I felt no love for either one.
Only two bands on my to-watch list was missed, which in a way is quite a good score, but I regret missing them even so. The one was Shirenc plays Pungent Stench, which strangely enough was placed at the same time as Cannibal Corpse. Odd to place to classic death metal acts at the same time. I have no real knowledge of Pungent Stench I admit, but I absolutely love Shirenc’s later work in Hollenthon, and for this reason alone I figured this would be an interesting show to attend.
The other was Rotting Christ… No, they didn’t play at the same time as anyone else or something silly like that, but they did have the closing show on the 2nd stage, which meant they were playing pretty darn late, and we were both completely exhausted, and try as we might, we simply couldn’t stay up for it. Annoyingly, no one we met could shut up about how extremely great they had been for the rest of the festival…

Bands weren’t the only ones being great at the festival though.
For some years now, we haven’t always seen completely eye to eye with some of the security personnel, because they simply didn’t seem to realize what it meant to be at a festival, and a metal one in particular.
This was changed for this year though, and even though they seemed to be from the same company (I think I recognised the shirts), their behaviour was completely different. They were kind, smiling, and helpful, enhancing peoples experience rather than ruining it. Especially one big guy with a warhawk (you can see him in some of the photos, spraying water on the crowd) who was working in the main stage security pit, mainly following crowd surfers out of the way, almost deserves a medal for his awesome behaviour. Sadly, we never got his name or the chance to congratulate him, so hopefully this reaches him in some way. Good job mate!
All in all, the festival ran very smoothly, with only minor delays, and the only large hiccup created, the unexpected move of Moonspell’s show from the main to the 2nd stage, came not at the hands of the festival but by one of the other bands. The festival did however do what it could to make the transition as smooth and easy as possible for the fans, so that as little as possible would have to change. And in the end, Moonspell worked better in the dark of night than they would have in glaring sunlight.

As a 10th anniversary, the 2015 edition of Metaldays worked splendidly. On paper it may not have looked as exiting to us as previous years, but going to Metaldays is as much about being at the festival itself as it is about what bands are coming, maybe even more. That’s not to say that the line-up is irrelevant, but staying in Tolmin, and having the beach bar to visit, among so many other things the festival has to offer, is simply amazing, and it is an event we keep on coming back to, obviously. Heck, 10 years in, and we still haven’t uncovered all of its secrets – just this year we noticed a beautiful war monument located in the camping ground woods for one thing, and we’re not just talking about a small stone or something either, this was an entire building, with garden and all!
So, do yourself a favour and try this festival out if you haven’t already done so. Like us, I’m you sure you won’t be able to stay away afterwards either.

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