Yes, when it comes to Germany, I’m always going to try and fit in a Rammstein related pun, somehow. If it’s not blatant by now, I love my music, and I attend a lot of related events, especially festivals (which should be pretty obvious, as I’ve talked about two of them already!) In 2015, I popped my abroad music festival cherry, and ventured to Cologne, Germany for Amphi Festival. Alas, I sadly missed out on it last year, although I’m already locked-in for Amphi 2017! However, determined to not miss out, I decided to book myself into a festival I’d been meaning to attend for years…
M’era Luna/Goths on a Bus – August 11th-15th 2016
So the Thursday arrived, and after meeting some mates at a bar in the wilds of Birmingham, we all headed off to Birmingham International to get our “Goth Bus”. For those of you that don’t know, Goths on a Bus is a scheme run by some awesome people! A number of coaches pick people up across the country, meet up at Dover for the ferry to Calais, before a massive trek across Europe, reaching the final destination at the festival itself in Hildesheim, Germany a day later. At over 600 miles (a quick check on Google Maps gave me 666 miles… eerie), this was no small journey! I was intrigued to see how this would all work, as I’d never done this before. Needless to say, this would end up being the journey of a lifetime!
Ready for departure… Deutschland, wir kommen!
When we approached the rest of the gang, we were given a warm welcome by old friends, and some awesome new people, and that’s when the party started! In fact, that pretty much sums up the journey! It was pretty much a non-stop party all the way there (with the exception of a quick nap later on), with some great conversation, awesome music, and hilarious shenanigans. How some of us made it over the border, I really have no idea. Needless to say, a huge supply of my weekend’s booze was pretty much gone by the time we reached our destination the following morning.
Upon arrival, setting up camp was pretty easy! We pitched our tents, had a quick rest, then went to explore the grounds of M’era Luna for the first time. I can honestly say that I’ve never been to such an organised festival before in my life! The walk from our campsite to the main arena was a mere 3-4 minutes away, and I could even see the main stage from my tent! Everything was literally minutes away from each other. Oh, and there were actual flushing toilets! Even then, the portaloos were the cleanest I’ve ever seen at any festival I’ve ever been to. Nothing horrid or rancid, no fears of catching some sort of weird disease, it was amazing! I’m aware I may have droned about toilets too much here, but I’ve seen some horrendous stuff in my time, which I still have ‘nam style flashbacks of to this very day!
The Medieval village was a fantastic place to visit! It had a full-on medieval look, with stalls also selling goods that related to the setting. The nerdy side of me was in bliss, as it literally felt like I’d walked straight into a D&D campaign! Oh, and the food was to absolutely die for! If you ever go to this festival (which why aren’t you now?), I highly recommend the garlic bread, it’s simply the best garlic bread you will ever have in your life.
A stall in the Medieval village, serving delicious food
As for night time entertainment, one of the hangars just outside of the arena is converted into a venue for club nights. Sure, you have to pay to get in, but it’s a night of epic proportions! For a start, it’s nice to actually see a room completely packed out at a goth industrial/EBM night! With there only being a select few small clubs in the UK, it’s nice to see that there’s somewhere in the world that truly embraces the scene. This was a great way to spend the Friday, prior to seeing any acts, and was a non-stop party with some fantastic tunes.
So, the Saturday arrived, and with it began the barrage of bands and artists! Gothminister was the first act we checked out, and it was quite fun! It was a great Gothic rock set, but did feel a bit cheesy, with the addition of props being used, and cheap ones at that. Mind you, they had their tongues firmly in their cheeks, and it was glorious! Sadly, we had to leave the set early to get to the next stage. This was my first experience in the hangar stage, and holy shit, it was industrial as fuck! The choice of venue was absolutely perfect for such a festival, and really added to the atmosphere. Chrom took to the stage, and they were absolutely incredible! Having recently released Peak & Decay, they played a fantastic mix of new anthems and classic hits of Synthpop goodness, the room was filled with an epic ambience, that got many moving to the beat. “Staring at the Sun” and “Visions” were true highlights. I highly anticipate that they will be a lot higher up the bill in the future.
Chrom performing an astounding set!
Staying in the hangar, Noisuf-X was next up, and he delivered a storming set. His trademark gritty hard dance beats literally got the entire room shaking, and the crowd went absolutely mental. Tracks like “Hit me hard”, “Warning” and “Big Bang” went down a storm. It was that packed out, that it was impossible to get close to the half way point! Finally, returning to the main stage, it was time to catch OOMPH!‘s set, and they were also brilliant. Heavy industrial metal filled the airwaves, with some riffs so heavy and epic, that it felt like being hit by a brick wall. I admit, I lost it to “Gott ist ein Popstar.”
The decor in the Hangar Stage was on point!
Diary of Dreams were next up, and they were pretty awesome too, delivering a set of dark, moody, ambience filled music. They’re a band I really need to check out a lot more. We returned to the hangar, and pretty much remained there for the rest of the day, as there was a pretty damn strong line-up ahead! This proceeded with Diorama, and they put on a great performance, with their catchy electropop sound going down a treat! They blitzed through tracks such as “Defcon”, “Exit the Grey” and “Advance”. The lack of “Synthesize Me” was a bit disappointing though. [:SITD:] followed, and they were one of the bands I was really looking forward to. Needless to say, they did not disappoint! A set of haunting EBM/Industrial tracks filled the hall, with an atmosphere so rich, you could cut it with a butter knife. I would’ve been moving more, if the room wasn’t so crammed with people! Opening with “Rot”, they went through a great choice of tracks, including “Dunkelziffer”, “Redemption”, “Richtfest”, ending on the mighty “Snuff Machinery.”
[:SITD:] put on a fantastic show
We managed to make our way to the front for Die Krupps, as one of my friends is a massive fan, and could not rave about them enough. Upon seeing them live for myself, it’s clear to see why, they’re fantastic! An onslaught of hard, heavy stunning industrial metal. At one point, lead singer Jürgen Engler even played a tune on a giant self-made xylophone style instrument.. only it was made with pipes, and was HUGE. It was quite quirky, and quite a spectacle to watch, even if it was harsh on the ear drums. They ended the set in style, rebelliously trashing their equipment.
Die Krupps cooking up a storm!
The final band I intended to see were Hocico, and the Mexican duo, as always, put on a spectacular show. It was a hard-hitting frantic set, filled with massive EBM anthems, bound to make anyone move their feet. Reassuringly, I was one of the only ones wielding glowsticks. Transparently it’s not a big thing over in Germany, so I got some funny looks. I didn’t care though, it was too much fun. Afterwards, I needed a good sit down outside, so met with some friends and chilled with them. Sadly, I caught the end of Sisters of Mercy. I say “sadly” because they definitely were not on form this night. You could barely see anything behind all the fog on stage, and they were totally off-key. Luckily, we only caught some tracks, and weren’t really playing too much attention. After a night of clubbing, having a glowstick rave with some of the gang in the communal Goths on a Bus tent, then talking to some lovely Germans until about 5am, I settled down for the night.
I asure you, Hocico are there… somewhere
Fuck… I sure can waffle, can’t I? There’s just so much to talk about, that it’s difficult to contain it all. So difficult, in fact, that I’m gonna have to split this article into two halves. Simply abridging it would not do it justice! Stay tuned for part two of my epic tales from M’era Luna soon!