In Waves – European Summer Festivals 2019

 

“ It seems bizarre to me that almost every festival we played in Europe was plagued with at least light rain, yet tens of thousands of people still show up and have an amazing time. Makes me realise how spoiled we are at home. These festivals have been going on in Europe since the beginning of time and they are gigantic regardless of the weather. At home, the weather is a giant factor for a festival’s success. Understandably, but I gotta hand it to the Europeans. Neither rain nor sleet nor snow will keep them from rocking.”

Todd Kerns

Some of you might know I am a rock n’ roll gal and music is a huge part of my everyday life. If there is something that I crave as much as being on a stage is to see other people do that. As years go by I keep on looking very proudly at concerts I’ve been to and I hold on to the wonderful memories I have of them. To this date, I have been to 77 shows of 56 different artists in 10 years. I was 13 years old when Patti Smith came to my hometown and my brother took me to my music baptism; it was so magical that from that moment I wanted more. In 2010, again with my brother, I was allowed to go to the KISS show in Milan, between thousands of people, which believe me, it is a big deal for a 14-year-old girl. After two months, luck was around the corner once again and Deep Purple played in my hometown. That was my very first front row experience and it was like taking ten different types of drugs in a single minute. I was now a lost cause, a short girl fighting like a Viking warrior to keep the spot for which she waited for hours to get. This might seem a bit extreme, but if it does, you definitely have never been to a show in Italy. People do not stand in queues, you often need to reevaluate your vital space and nobody cares if you’re a man or a woman, big or tiny; you get beaten. I believe my finest moment was surviving at an Iron Maiden’s show in the second row, but who knows what other war might be next!

The last thing I want is to scare you and I would like to focus on the positive sides of shows, particularly of summer festivals. Festivals have been existing for a long time and it looks like every year something new pops up, maybe discarding something old. When thinking of the past we all think of Woodstock, however, Europe is no less. Our biggest festivals are true pillars, people go crazy to attend them and the amount of money-spinning around these events is incredible. Todd Kerns is right, Europeans have their own way to experience shows and this makes no exception for summer festivals. Most of the times it’s like seeing the way we commonly behave at single shows multiplied, over and over again. It’s a moment when we release our inner emotions in a way we wouldn’t do anywhere else and we don’t care about anything else but our heart beating fast.

Among the things we usually don’t care about you will find clothes. Honestly, I never really understood why people should need a “festival look” as many clothing brands and influencers advertise it nowadays. Do we really need ten necklaces around our neck? Do we seriously want to wear open sandals or heels at open-air festivals? Respectfully, they can keep their shit for themselves; I would love to watch them get in a mosh pit and see how they come out of it. It is utterly impossible to come home from a festival and not being covered in dust, dirt, sweat…yours and other people’s too. I am the first in the room worshipping Christian Dior, but I believe we need to balance some point. That said, I don’t mean you have to attend those events looking like Frankenstein’s illegitimate child, but who says you can’t have comfortable stuff but pretty at the same time? Just fetch a comfortable light t-shirt (band logos are always welcome), running shorts, sneakers and you will be absolutely fine for all day long!

I’ve heard many people complain about summer festivals in terms of costs. I get what you mean and I know it can be quite an expense. However, that’s not a reason to be discouraged; when I was younger and didn’t have a job, I had to ask my parents for money all the time. I remember I used to save even cents, everything I could get, in order to buy a ticket for a concert. You can imagine why I always react with a bit of disbelief when grown up people with a full-time job and no kids tell me “I would love to go, but it’s too expensive”. I will tell you what I systematically tell these gentlemen: “If you really want to go, then do it. Nobody can ever give you back the opportunity you lost.” On the other side though, I truly admire those who are broke all the time, who have a family to raise, and still find the funds to attend shows, maybe bringing all their family along too. Perspective, that’s what all this is really about. And speaking of perspective, we should also consider that most of the times we pay a certain amount which is not that much if we consider how many bands usually one can see in one day.

A common festival tradition is camping. Most European festivals give you the opportunity to upgrade your ticket and have a reserved space for your tent and vehicle. Personally, I’d rather go see In Flames with a Justin Bieber t-shirt, but you wouldn’t imagine how many people choose this option. Maybe it’s the old fashion approach with nature that makes this popular, I am not sure, but of course, you can go rest whenever you want in no time and sleeping in a tent can be definitely cheaper than a hotel. For those who, like me, snorting ants in the middle of the night is not their cup of tea (I know, Ozzy would be so disappointed on me), there are always countless accommodation options in the surroundings of festival locations; you just need to be quick and book as soon as the festival dates are announced or you are pretty much likely to pay a hostel as a five star hotel.

No festival comes with no rules and we all have to respect them. We can agree on the fact that everything is in the light of our safety and if something bad happens we would all think that some twat didn’t check well a bag of some idiot. Don’t deny it, we would. At the same time though, some restrictions always seem a bit odd. Many festivals have banned water bottle stoppers so that if you want to keep your water you need to give up on your stopper. Thing is that you could possibly hide something explosive in the stopper and kill people. Skipping the fact that explosive material can be hidden even in someone’s pants, well, why don’t they check the stupid stopper and see if there’s something in it? Mysteries shall be mysteries, but as a frequent concert visitor I came up with at least ten creative and effective ways to hide stuff you shouldn’t bring in; and if I did, I’m sure many others did too.

My suggestion is to travel light: take with you essential things only. Yes, even if you are a woman. No, lipstick is not essential. You will find out that you will only need water, food, sunscreen and yourselves. You can add a few extra useful items, but always make sure you can fit everything into a small bag because you will probably move a lot and it would be silly to get tired because of a heavy backpack instead of jumping and headbanging.

I’m going to leave you with a list of festivals you will find around Europe this summer. Wherever music will take you, do not forget to live it at its fullest and have fun!

 

* DOWNLOAD – UK

* GLASTONBURY – UK

* READING & LEEDS – UK

* CAMDEN ROCKS FESTIVAL – UK

* THE WOMAD FESTIVALl – UK

* BESTIVAL – UK

* CREAMFIELDS – UK

* ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL – UK

* WIRELESS FESTIVAL – UK

* BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR – UK

* LOVEBOX FESTIVAL – UK

* BOOMTOWN FESTIVAL – UK

* FIRENZE ROCKS & MILANO ROCKS – IT

* ROCK IN ROMA – IT

* LUCCA SUMMER FESTIVAL – IT

* GRASPOP – BE

* TOMORROWLAND – BE

* ROCK WERCHTER – BE

* PRIMAVERASOUND – ES

* MAD COOL FESTIVAL – ES

* FIB BENICASSIM FESTIVAL – ES

* HELLFEST OPEN AIR – FR

* FESTIVAL DU BOUT DU MONDE – FR

* ROCK AM RING & ROCK IM PARK – DE

* WACKEN OPEN AIR – DE

* NOVA ROCK – AT

* DONAUINSELFEST FESTIVAL – AT

* DEFQON.1 – NL

* AWAKENINGS FESTIVAL – NL

* NOS PRIMAVERA SOUND – PT

* SUPER BOCK SUPER ROCK – PT

* SWEDEN FESTIVAL – SW

* SZIGET – HU

* BUKTA TROMSO OPEN AIR FESTIVAL – NW

* ROSKILDE FESTIVAL – DK

* ULTRA EUROPE – HR

* SOUNDWAVE FESTIVAL – HR

* COLOURS OF OSTRAVA – CZ

* EXIT – CS

* EARTH GARDEN FESTIVAL – MT

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