Monthly Archives: März 2013

At the Festival: Metalfest 2012

One day, when I skimmed through a magazine I saw an advertisement for the Metalfest festivals – a series of festivals throughout Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, etc.). When I saw the billing I knew I would like to go there. 2012 the Metalfest was twice in Germany: One in Dessau (Metalfest East) and one in St. Goarshausen (Metalfest West) and according to the billing Blind Guardian – a brilliant band that I had last seen in Wacken 2011 – would only play in the western version of it.
Long story short: I asked around who would like to accompany me to the Metalfest West/Loreley – even though it would be farther away from home than East. Luckily it isn’t that far from DarkFairy’s place, so she volunteered and we managed to finally meet again after three years.

As you might remember Fairy and I are working on a book project called „Warlords“ and this meeting proved to be really productive in meanings of planning and editing. So when we had decided to go for it we also decided that I would stay a bit longer so we could work on it and also have a look around Koblenz. And we worked a lot on it. We even constantly carried around a little black notebook to write down whatever ideas we had. and that occurred mostly during any songs that somehow fit our characters/stories, so we even sat down in the Festival Area and scribbled those notes done. We even made sketches on a serviette, but we will cover that separately on our blog:

High above the Rhine Valley…

The Rhine Valley close to the Lorelei

A Castle in the Rhine Valley close to the Lorelei

The first day of the festival was a strange one.
It kind of put us in a roller coaster of experiences. It all started with Fairy’s satnav that calculated an interesting route to the festival area: The amphitheatre at the Lorelei (Loreley in German). Our route lead us straight through the Rhine, well basically it let us to a ferry to cross it. While figuring out what to do, we saw some other Metalheads and asked them if we were really at the right place and they told us, that we just had to take the next ferry as there were no bridges anywhere close by.
As we waited we had a chance to look at the amazingness that is the Rhine Valley…simply breathtaking beauty of nature and former craftsmanship of the wine-people. When we drove back that night, we found the way we wanted to go the first time on the other side of the Rhine, were we would cross the bridge in Koblenz. Really nice scenery on either side of the Rhine …

Crossing the river we then had to drive up serpentine like roads to reach the top of the Valley were the festival would take place. It was funny seeing as Fairy was used to it  – thanks to growing up in the Eifel – while others failed horribly and caused us to go as slow as them. When we finally reached the top, the next question became apparent: Where do we park?

A tractor mowing the remaining parking area.

We first asked some guy, that looked like he worked there and he sent us a bit further down to park there. But when we got down, another guy or girl told us, that we should park back were we just came from, so it was back up again…seemingly no one knew what the other did and unfortunately this was something that continued through this three days as the organization wasn’t the best one …

When we had finally parked and gotten ready, we saw something funny again: A tractor was still mowing the field for more cars to park.
The next thing was: Finding the way to the Festival Area. As we had seen something while we were mislead we tried that direction first and after some trial even found the bracelet booth.
And the queue, the awfully long queue, we might as well could have moved along the field you see in the photo to reach the end.

Standing in line …

Luckily for us we found one of Fairy’s fellow students in the line and after some contemplation joined them and managed to end up in about the middle of the queue and somehow it was the part where there was a nest of teachers or former teachers or those who aim to become teachers…all in all a weird bunch of people. When we didn’t move or at least only barely for quite a while, Fairy became restless and what did she do? She asked all those long haired males around us whether one would like her to braid his hair…and she indeed found a volunteer. 😀 Occupying ourself with our newly found companions in misfortune, we slowly moved down to the booth again. We talked about all kind of stuff, like school – teachers remember? – bands/music and the fact, that Fairy and I had bottles of water with us instead of beer or any other alcohol. Well, we wouldn’t be staying there over night so at least one of us would have to stay sober and it was pretty warm and sunny …
They wanted us to be their drivers whenever we came to their place, we kind of agreed if we managed to meet up again. Not much surprise here, that we didn’t. 😉
Anyway, originally we had planned to see Alestorm that day and even though we got there about two hours before their show: We made it into the area when they had just finished their set…
I think I complained quite a while about the organization of the booth – and still do – that had caused us to miss them …

Our local new friend =)

Well, this way we had enough time to look around the pretty small area. I mean, I am used to festivals like Wacken, but this was kind of „cute“ compared to it, even somewhat familial …
Above the theatre you have a lawn with trees were you can simply sit down and enjoy the view. The theatre itself consists of stone benches that lead down to the stage. Each bench had enough space to stand between or on top of them – and for the majority of people they became steps instead of benches. Just a brilliant and amazing setting for such a festival and some of the bands that we would get to see.

Some time during the day we just sat on the lawn and listened to whatever was on stage that time and we got a little company from one of the local residents. 😉 It seemed that he did not want to leave us after we had discovered him, but than he was just gone. Hopefully no one trampled or otherwise killed him by accident or on purpose …

Front row!

Besides this new friend we also found another of Fairy’s fellow students –  a former one this time – who was also at the festival and thanks to him, we kind of ended up in the first few rows of the Blind Guardian concert that day. As I mentioned in the beginning they were the main reason why I wanted to come to the Western Metalfest and I am more than grateful that he simple threw Fairy over his shoulder and jumped down the steps – except the fact that I had to rescue her from being strangled by her backpack, but it kind of was worth it. While the atmosphere in Wacken was amazing due to the masses of people, here it was awesome because of the setting (and our position to the stage) and come on: Who wouldn’t get goosebumps in a setting like in the video, when everyone is singing along (for what felt like about 5 minute s… we were kind of annoyed in a good way when we could finally stop).

This was one of several great experiences those days. Meeting up with her companion again we also were in the front rows for the Powerwolf concert the next day. As I told you in my concert review for last year, I had seen them in April in Berlin and now wanted to introduce Fairy to them and what can I say? They easily won her over, after the keyboarder had entered the stage. We both greatly enjoyed the concert and the companion again said something interesting about lead singers and the crowd: They are like dictators, they dictate what the people should do and then the people do it willingly without thinking twice. Well, there is some truth to that, but as long as this is just about clapping, jumping and/or singing along, who could blame any of them?
After their concert we noticed that Powerwolf would be signing autographs and again we stood in a queue…
Fairy got a picture of herself and her new-found favourite – the keyboarder, and I got an autograph for me and one I later sent Liathano as a memento for the concert we’ve been on together.

We’re sitting in the rain, just sitting in the rain…

The Side of the Stage between Rain and Sunshine

Shortly after that session the weather started to change. Luckily we had a large poncho with us to secure us from the rain. Weirdly there was this guy that first looked at us and than sat himself between us under the poncho starting a conversation. We felt kind of relieved when he was finally gone. Though we saw him again after that, but he wasn’t as intrusive as that time above. It stopped raining right before Edguy started their show. Causing a double rainbow to spread across the side of the Stage Area and also bathing the buildings in sunlight while the dark clouds still hung in the sky. It was a most impressive view and a good concert. Even though I would have liked them to play some more old songs and the singer not to make such bad jokes about their concert on the Metalfest East in Dessau. I have nothing against bad jokes – I make a lot of them myself, but I’ve simply had enough of jokes regarding the former GDR and so forth. Germany is reunited for more than 20 years now and people still judge the Eastern parts – and its people – the way it used to be. And that’s just childish and dumb and as good as the music is that Tobias Sammet creates, I can’t stand it when anyone makes jokes like that …

Anyway, the next day we hadn’t really had that many bands to look forward to. Only Ensiferum and In Extremo, but InEx where totally worth it. It was a brilliant concert, probably again thanks to the setting and a worthy ending for the festival. The bag pipes of this band are just great – so are the bag pipers, but that’s beside the point. 😀
As I with Edguy, Fairy had hoped to hear some other songs of Ensiferum, but instead we were met with the creepy sight of one of the guitarist shirtless and bearded. Seriously that dude has a beard that reaches nearly down to his belly and is cut like a rectangle. o.O
Weirder than that only were the dreadlocks of Equilibriums singer … and that dude that kick-danced to Fear Factory 

But that’s not yours!

Well, we had some fun encounters throughout the weekend – beside the rain-guy.
The first day we were able to bring water bottles into the Stage Area, the next day we had to take them away, so we went to look for a place to put our bottles without having to walk all the way to the car.
Well, luckily for us, we found an aged couple – we called them „The J.B.O. people“ – not far away from the entrance and asked them whether we could place our bottles in their tent, which we could and that let to a fun discussion later on.
When we returned the next day their neighbors were present and watched us and when we were done drinking one of them actually dared to say:
„That’s bold.“ As we asked him what was, he said: „The water. Just taking the water out of the tent.“
As we told them that it is ours he replied: „No that’s our neighbors.“
To which we then told him: „No it’s our water, they allowed us to put it there.“
Where they only awkwardly looked at us and said they were sorry.

The Rhine from the Side of the amphitheatre

The Rhine from the Side of the amphitheatre

Another encounter was with one of the guards at the side. We just sat near the autograph booth and listened to the band that was just playing and saw that he was taking some photos of the Rhine from his position.
So we looked at each other and knew we had to ask him too. and thus the photo you can see on the side here came to existence.
Isn’t it just nice?

Oh, and before I forget it: We encountered Metal Tigger. A Winnie the Pooh plushy with Metal-vest that was appropriately decorated with badges. The mascot was on several festivals and managed to get pictures taken with tons of Metal fans and musician and now there is a picture of him and Fairy in the Gallery for the Metalfest Loreley. 🙂

Music-wise we listened to quite a bit while on the compound, some of it only partly as it didn’t fit us, like Tranquility, Legion of the Damned, Hypocrisy, Megadeth, Kreator or Moonspell – mostly because they are Death and/or Black Metal bands.
Some others, like Epica, we had to leave because the sound was not appropriate for the band or – Saltatio Mortis – where we discovered that they were much better suited for smaller stages.
Behemoth were we only saw the end of their set were especially funny, as they blasted black plastic shredding into the audience. Well, it was more fun to see all those helpers and their broomsticks trying to get rid of them before the next concert – we secretly called them: The Evil Shred Band („Böse Schnipsel Band“). 😀

When we waited for In Extremo we listened in on Kyuss Lives!, which are not bad, while having a hot dog and trying to figure out if Alea from SaMo had a secret side-job as hot dog vendor and watching some dudes playing with a Footbag. Yeah that was a nice evening.

And now for something entirely different …

Well, not just a nice evening, but also a great week(end). After a bit relaxing on Sunday Fairy showed me around in the pretty green Koblenz. We went sightseeing in the city and an old former fort as well as an area that had held a gardening show some years before, high above the city.
We also were at the „Deutsches Eck“ were the Moselle joins the Rhine. When we approached the large statue Fairy told me that it was for some kind of „Karl“, well as we came closer we could make out the letters and it started with a „W“, so it wasn’t that much of a Karl … 😀
We also waited for a watch-face to poke out its tongue, but not all of this in that order.

Still, this was a great week and if the billing would have been better this year, I guess we would have returned to the Metalfest.

We’ll see what next year brings. 🙂


© The rights of the video lay with Metalfest that has provided this over their Youtube-page.


Every large enough project needs to be split into several phases: Each phase ending with a milestone. A kind of sign post that tells you: This is done, let’s move on.
And as life itself is one of the largest projects there are it does have some as well. As it ranges from childhood, over the teenage years, up until adulthood and beyond.
When you are young you don’t really care about your milestones. You just care about things children do, like playing, your favourite food/toys, etc.. But your parents care. They celebrate every little thing you do. Your first steps, your first words, the first birthdays and so on.
The first big milestones you have as child is entering/leaving nursery school, kindergarten (In some places in Germany you have two parts of the nursery school: “Kinderkrippe” and “Kindergarten” that’s why I split it) and entering elementary school.
From then on out the steps become bigger.
When it only took weeks, months or a few years to accomplish them before, it now takes three to six years and more.
Explaining the German school system is tricky. Especially as a lot has changed since I left it. But when I went through it I passed three milestones: Finishing Elementary School (“Grundschule”), Secondary School (“Realschule”) and Grammar School/ (Vocational) High School (“(Fach)Gymnasium”).
Those years weren’t really what a kid/teenager would have liked to experience, but that kind of made me who I am: A pessimistic, weird loner. 😉
An always interesting thought process is that when you are still in the system you want to get out of it. But when you have actually left it, you understand that those years were way easier than anything life throws at you when you’re done with school. And you realize all these adults that told you “One day you will miss school!” were right. Well, I don’t really “miss school” I just miss the spare time I had thanks to the short schedules and stuff. You could do so much more in one day…
Since I started studying in a dual-mode course of study in 2009 spare time was (occasionally) there, but so was stress. Studying in this system means you don’t have semester breaks. Because if you do, you have to work. Work for the company that gives you your paycheck and also pays for your education. That leaves you with 24 to 30 vacation days a year to recuperate. Direct studies aren’t that much different to this by now, but I still think it is different though. As you have a company that wishes to see good – if not the best – results of you. Both in studies and at work.
And with a certain amount of stress neither is really achievable – at least not without paying a high price for it. And I don’t mean bribing the lecturers. 😀
Throughout those years I had to re-experience things that I hoped would have gotten better as the people would be more mature. But I was soon proven wrong. People prefer uniformity and despise everything that is different. It had looked well in the first semester, but it then went downhill.
I had a pretty low phase in my fourth semester, where I didn’t want to continue and in the end failed 4 of the 6 exams that term. Being used to school standards with somewhat easy and divided possibilities to gain your final mark this feels like a stab in the chest every time you see the red mark in the overview.
Failure was my steady companion throughout this time.
I needed a second try in quite a bunch of exams unfortunately.
But I think most of it was because of my mental state and the little time we had for learning and during the exams. Five exams in one week is not really the nicest thing to push onto a student.
I’m not proud of my failings nor the marks I got in the end, but I managed to pass every last one of them.
It is what you gain from failing that forms your character. You can rise from your ashes and manage to do it the next time or just stop trying and let the whole thing drag you down even further.
Even though I have the tendency to drag myself down for a while after a failure at some point I start doing what has to be done regardless of that. As I am too stubborn and proud to just give up.
And I wanted to at several points.
But failure wasn’t my only company.
There also were people that stayed with me every now and again.
I am horrible with making friends and staying friends with people I meet and like. It takes time for me to actually trust people and see/refer to them as “friends”.
They’re mostly pals, fellow students, colleagues and whichever other word you can use for describing a non-friend.
But that’s just how complicated a person I am. 😉
And regardless of how I refer to them, those that are dear and important to me know that they are, at least I hope they do.
But what do people have to do with milestones?
People help us accomplish our milestones. They show us a different path or put obstacles in our way, make us re-think our strategies or assist us in overcoming our troubles and most importantly give us new strength to carry on.
As much as I despise the treatment I had to ensure throughout the years.
There were always a few people that stuck with me.
That I could talk to for hours and not get the slightest bit bored or annoyed.
People that I really enjoy/ed spending time with.
As I said, I am not that good at keeping friends, given my pessimistic nature, but I try.
So I am grateful for all the people that crossed my path and walked with me for a while.
I don’t know how often I will be able to meet some of them again and not lose track of them. As I kind of did with so many other people.
But those few I am currently thinking of helped me through the last semesters (and exams).
They talked some sense into me when I was down or unrealistic or just provided entertainment, great conversations and company. They helped me to strive for better marks again, so that I managed to even get some really good ones in some of the last exams.
And given a little more time I even might be able to achieve what they already managed to do recently – my next milestone:
Obtaining my Bachelor’s degree.
One day I will have it as well!
Without the fancy robe and the official ceremony, but I will have it! 😀
And all this above is the reason I should not write blog posts when I’m feeling down….Sounds far too cheesy… 😀