Graspop Festival

This week-end we spent in Belgium at GRASPOP 2003 festival. Since the camping was only open Friday through Sunday we decided to drive up there and spend one night near Maastricht so we would have to drive only one hour in the morning to get to Dessel where the Festival was at. We even managed to find a nice camping site in Valkenburg (which actually is the center of the hollansk bodirflösser – uhm tourism). We nearly finished the beer we had bought since no glass was to be brought onto the festival site.

The next day started out rather chaotic since we were waiting for a call from Alex who was supposed to organize how we would meet him and the Luxembourg group at the festival. He didn’t call until too late of course so we came – despite an awful route description – to Dessel when just about everybody arrived. At Graspop the cars cannot be parked on the campsite (yeah I love Wacken) so we had to carry all our stuff first from the parking to the entry (about 3km) of the Graspop camping. There was a huge ‘line’ (rather a mob) of people waiting to be let in. We were expecting they’d control all our bags so there would be no ‘glas,wapens,cameras’. Of course Rolland had his camera, I had my huge knife (geez it’s for eating steaks) and we didn’t even know we had glass with us until we found out on sunday morning we had a glass of nutella.

Luckily we managed to get through that waiting mob by going right to the left of it all and we had to wait only one hour. Inside we were greeted by Alex, Roland and Kim. They had reserverd some space for us next to their tents – or so they said. When we came there somehow there was no more space. Oh well. The next open space wasn’t that far away and we started putting up the tents and of course the barbecue. What’s a festival without tons of steaks?

The first bands were already playing but what the hell the first ‘really important’ bands weren’t due until later in the day. After some rest we went to the festival grounds where we met pouting Alex – there was no mead sold anywhere!

I’ll not write about all the bands or so, since I liked some better and some less. I’ll write about what I liked most of course.

This was the second time I have seen O P E T H. Their show is the same “We are Opeth, and this is Deliverance” but that’s okay and even somewhat unique. I also liked the part “I guess we played our songs too fast so here is an extra one”. The sound was good, and this time I even knew half the songs they were playing.

APOCALYPTICA is cool no doubt. I had never heard much of their music before only what people told me so I was curious and I was not disappointed, quite the opposite. The people were even singing along some of the covers they played (Nothing else matters for one). I did not see much from back where I was but what I saw was good, but you could also call it ‘Mistreatment of a Cello by a long haired guy jumping up and down’

Well with a couple times being at “Das Fest” and twice at Wacken this has to be my best concert so far: Within Temptation. So I knew only one CD and that not by heart but this was the band I went to Graspop to see. And I loved every second of that concert which is the first time neither my knees nor my back started hurting half way through it all. On their homepage they call themselves ‘Gothic Metal Gods’ – I agree, though around here noone knew them before Graspop and I only knew them because I downloaded one of their songs once! Maybe I’ll write more later about this most memorable part of Graspop.

I guess it is good to have seen Iron Maiden play. They are good but I was still high from the Within Temptation show and a little bit stressed out because I had lost Rolland and the others. So I heard it all and saw all but ….

Other bands that played were Stratovarius which I liked half and half didn’t. Lacuna Coil was right after Within Temptation and so I didn’t quite notice them which is too bad since their sound was better this time than at Wacken 2001. I missed out on Alice Cooper because I had lost the others and gone back to the tents. I also missed Six Feet Under and Type O Negative because my knee hurt a lot and I could not stand anymore. Anthrax we listened to while sitting farther back. To me that’s mostly noise. Same for Sepultura. Which somehow reminds me of when I was younger ….

…. as far as I know Within Temptation is playing at the Summerbreeze festival again which is nearby so we could just go there for a day to see them again ….

Update: They are also playing at the Mera Luna festival which features a lot more cool bands (from my perspective) than the Summerbreeze so we are going there.

By Yashima

Writer of code and stories