Last time, three years ago, metal fans were allowed to enter an airfield to experience concerts at the Rockharz festival and just have a good time at this festival. For me, it was the first time after the long pandemic break that I could visit a festival, so I was even more excited about how it will be.
After the journey and a relatively short festival traffic jam, I arrived at the camping site quite uncomplicated. So that was already well organized. After I set up my tent and opened a beer, it went towards the festival site. Admittedly, on the first day, there were not many bands for me personally that I wanted to see. Usually, at the Rockharz festival on the first day, there is a warm-up event of a few bands that play that day. There was as a kind of compensation for the long pandemic break up an extra full festival day instead of the warm-up for the festival visitors, which is pretty nice. I walked around the festival site and looked at the food, drink, and shopping stands. Everything looked the same as before the pandemic, but somehow there were more food stands than I remembered, especially more vegetarian alternatives for the meat-free visitors.
The first band of the festival for me was Evil Invaders. This Belgian speed metal band just knows how to party and get the crowd cheering. In their old school performance and the old school music style, the guys could also show us their new album ‘Shattering Reflection’, which was released in April, and create a good atmosphere. It was definitely a good start to the festival.
After some snacks and a little shopping tour in the various vinyl stands of the festival (oh boy I missed rummaging in such stands), it continued musically with Kataklysm. While the guys started to play I was waiting quite long at the drink stand to get a drink, but then I remembered the announcement where the Rockharz people announced beer vending machines. So I went to one of those stands and as a tech affine guy, I was very taken with how the beer was poured for me… But back to the music: Kataklysm played a very mixed set of 7 albums across. I personally really liked that, because I was at least from the latest album ‘Unconquered’ not too excited, but live the tracks were really powerful and delighting! Very good gig, even if singer Mauricio Iacono appealed for a “security stress test” to encourage people to crowd surf. I think it was funny for the visitors and charming as Mauricio has asked for it, but the security people were there probably not too enthusiastic about I guess, haha. Nevertheless, the performance was excellent and it was nice to see Kataklysm after the long break live again!
Further, the band that was nice to see again is Sepultura. I did not see this metal archetype band for a long time and I was really looking forward to it. Sepultura played a mixed set also but relied more on the old-school stuff from the ‘Chaos A.D.’ or ‘Roots’ album. As it seems the crowd was just right delighted and it was a great atmosphere in the crowd. Headbangers, mosh pits and beaming faces were the majority that evening. At the latest with the classic track “Roots, Bloody Roots” everyone was taken by the guys on stage. That was a very cool gig and I’m already looking forward to the next time!
The sound from the stages was sometimes not that good, especially when it was windy, but maybe it will be better the next day, I thought at the end of the day.
The first day went by and it was a musically quite relaxed but still great day at the Rockharz festival. After the long pandemic break, it was again awesome to listen to good music among people and have a good time!