My last weekend had a swedish beginning and a Swedish ending. No I haven’t been wandering around in IKEA or looking for a new Volvo. I have been spending last weekend at Groezrock in Belgium. Now here is my personal experience of this epic festival.

After a nice ride over there, putting my tent up, inflating my airbed and getting all my stuff in the tent except for 1 beer to start with, my friends and I slowly walked to the festival grounds to see the first band that we definitely did not want to miss. “Royal Republic” would be playing at the Impericon stage. This band has been my discovery of 2012 so far. After my friend introduced me to their music a few months ago, I was hooked to their uptempo and energising songs. So after checking video’s of them on youtube for the last few months, it was finally time to see them live. And it was worth it, they were everything I hoped them to be and even better.

Now you dont go to a whole festival for just one band and next one to visit was “Reel Big Fish”. This was a real party starter. I had never been able to enjoy the same song at a concert multiple times in a row, but they made me enjoy it. With the same song a little different, a amazing interpretation of “Enter Sandman” and my personal favourite “Take on Me” they made me forget everything that was going on outside the festival.

Also on the first day we went to see “de Heideroosjes”, for me personally the 4th time to see them play, but the friends I was with never saw them live. Now I can tell you, this sure is a band that I will never get tired of. The energy they unleash, their ideals, strong lyrics even from song that are 20 years old, it’s amazing. Dutch punk rock music at it’s best for sure.

Then we had to go and eat some and while listening to some acoustic set of “Face Tomorrow” we could enjoy our Belgian fries with sate. Walked around the festival market to buy me a hoodie since it was getting a little cold at that time and then after a short stop at “Lifetime” we went to the main stage. There we would get ready for “Lagwagon” at first and later “Rancid”. Those two bands really put a great ending to the first night. They made the main stage shake at all sides and made sure that the safety crew had their hands full with crowd surfers. So completely worn down after Rancid finished their set list we went back to the camping for some well deserved rest. Sadly enough it seemed my airbed had a small hole in the lowest compartment and the zipper of my sleeping bag didn’t want to close that much anymore at around half length.

After a short and cold night laying on the ground with half my body the next day started. But that couldnt stop me from going to see “Zebrahead”. Their video clip of “Playmate of the Year” has been on my mediacenter for nearly 10 years now, so I had to see them. Now this is the punk as I have been playing mostly when I was still working as a ‘DJ’ in a local alternative bar. Nothing is serious, all is fun and lets make it one big party. That is definitely the idea I got, inviting people on stage to dance at their inflatable cocktail bar and sit in the inflatable swimming pool, go crowd surfing in an inflatable boat. No matter how cranky I normally would have been after such a crappy night, these guys totally made me forget about it. Now I was in the lucky position that “MXPX All-Stars” was scheduled on the main stage after them. So without too much effort I could just enjoy another band from which I had been saving a video clip (“Party, My House, Be There”) of for nearly the same amount of time. After 2 of such great sets I had completely forgotten about how my body should have been hurting and how exhausted I should feel. That was a good thing, since we would soon arrive at the Impericon stage again to check out “Old Firm Casuals”, seeing a familiar face of the main act of the night before again. Now you can’t compare the two bands, which allows me to honestly say that I can enjoy both bands at an equal level, tho in complete different ways. It was a nice show as well and I will definitely look up more of them some day soon.

Next band I was really happy that I could finally see was “Anti-Flag”. As I mentioned before I can appreciate ideals in lyrics, which is just one of their trademarks. More clear than with other artists they would spread their messages while making sure the ground would tremble under and beyond the tent. Whether they played their songs with full surrender or you felt the passion of their short intermezzo’s, the crowd loved it and went completely crazy. So it was definitely worth being part of that.

Now it was time for some refreshments and to start heading towards the main stage again. We knew that at the end there would be a band that would make us look for new superlatives to describe them and wanted to be sure that we would have a great spot for that. Which made us arrive just before the stage was getting prepared for “Simple Plan”. Now I knew this was gonna fill the tent with loads of teenage wannabe’s and couldn’t have been more right. Soon we were surrounded by girls that found themselves too tough to listen to “One Direction” and therefor listened to “Punk”. Well, unanimous my friends and I have decided that the performance we saw was NOT punk. When you are filling the gaps between songs with oneliners like “I can feel it in my pants”, “I am so horny” and “make it bigger; that’s what she said” you are just a demonstration of the hormones that got released earlier that week since their first pubic hairs started to grow. The whole set was so damn depressing that not even all the alcohol in the world would have made a real punk happy while listening to it. And if any of the girls that were waving like Simple Plan suggested, as if we were at a damn elderly home, were able to sneak back stage some Post Natal Depression was the only logical and deserved consequence. A band like that might be able to get those girls hot, but just aint able to make a crowd achieve a climax in any way.

But it was worth the pain in our ears, since after the ugly white boxes were removed, the main stage was turned into a real rock stage again where, after some great build up of suspense, “Refused” just started a set that would blow you of your feet. Now I could say a lot about this, but I cant find any superlatives that would give a good impression of what I saw and heard other than “Epic”. The songs and the very few times they would speak would hit you right at the centre of your soul, yet you wouldn’t feel the least of pain. It was punk like punk should be and every self respecting punker should have been there.

And I know for sure, if any of those girls that came to see the band before them dared to stay a little longer and saw what punk should be like, that virgin teenage souls have been raped by some punk this weekend.

So after this I can only come to the conclusion it was just amazing, it was a great festival due to nearly every single person on there. The bands, the organisation, the safety crew, the caterers and the visitors. Some people I wanna thank in particular:

-The guy that I didn’t hit in the face after he showed some bro-mance since he respected my personal space once I told him so. I hope you didnt had a bad hangover mate, since you are really okay.

-The guys that loved my t-shirt, I hope you will never forget that Amsterdam is the capital of Holland again and I remembered later that I bought the t-shirt in Turkey.

-The German dude that gave us his remaining weed, you are awesome and I hope when my hair is grey like yours that I will also still be going to festivals like Groezrock.

-Last but not least my wonderful friends which were great company during the entire weekend, for sure I wouldnt have liked this weekend the way I did without you.

ps. to the person that found a sealed package of Davidoff cigarettes with a dutch tax stamp. You better have enjoyed them, since I sure would have if I didn’t loose them ;)

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