Bang Your Head!!! Review of festival in Balingen, Germany

Bang Your Head 01

Reporting by: Linda Evermore

This was the 20th Anniversary of Bang Your Head!!! Festival and we at celebrated the event in memory of the late Frank Riester, Deadlock vocalist, dear friend of South African metal, and creator of the now defunct Voice Of Rock online radio station.

Held in his former home town, Balingen, in the South of Germany, Frank’s band Deadlock played at the very first festival held at this venue.

Bang Your Head 02Bang Your Head!!! is one of the smaller metal festivals held annually in Germany, taking into consideration that nigh on 20 000 people is not really THAT small, and neither are the bands that perform there!

It was a sultry HOT summer in Germany with temperatures reaching as high as 38 degrees Celsius. This year, as it does every year, festival proceedings began with a warm up party in the hall on Wednesday (13th July 2015), featuring six bands; of those, none other than Nuclear Assault, on their Final Assault tour, and Sepultura. What a great start to the festival! J.B.O. ended the show – the twenty-five year old German comedy metal act, dressed in pink, set the scene for pompous partying and proved to be very popular among their native nation.

The main festival grounds opened the following morning, where the large open air stage was located. Bands were playing on this stage as well as on the smaller stage located in the hall. Fortunately, most band’s times overlapped or were well-spaced; so one could always see a bit of both acts, but there were several cases where one would have to decide which one to give their undivided attention to.

Bang Your Head 10Main stage headliners included Sabaton on Thursday night, Kreator on Friday night, and Accept on Saturday night, followed by a fireworks show. However, it didn’t all end there in terms of headliners, as once the main stage shows were over, the shows went on in the hall, featuring more headliners – Crazy Lixx (Thursday), Flotsam & Jetsam (Fri) and Destruction officially closing the festival on Saturday… although when it comes to opinion of headliners in the minds of the crowd, it gets tricky when other greats such as Death Angel, W.A.S.P., Queensrysche, Korpiklaani and Arch Enemy are also part of the line-up, to mention but a few.

Most impressive was to see how Sabaton has fast risen to success, yet not allowing it to go to their heads and still holding onto their beer guzzling party spirit, and maintaining a tremendous entertaining rapport with their huge fan base.

Bang Your Head 04New Arch Enemy front lady, Alissa White-Gluz, has certainly proved her mettle in taking up the role. Strangely, this was the only band not allowing official press photographers into the photo pit. My assistant photographer, Guido Wagner, managed to sneak a few shots in though. No doubt, due to this attitude, it was during their show only that the skies decided to open and pour down a heavy deluge of ‘angel tears’… and rather large teardrops they were indeed!

The deluge was very welcome nevertheless, as it helped to cool things down a bit, soften the parched cracked earth, and settle the dust. No mud! The main “Metalcamp” grounds were located some distance from the festival site. Here, shuttle buses ran to and fro every fifteen minutes, to the festival grounds, and stopping nearby the public swimming pool en-route where people could have a warm shower in privacy, or soak all their dirt off in the heated pool en-masse for a small fee.

Bang Your Head 03Having a shower wasn’t really such a trek though, as more convenient cold showers could be had closer to ‘home’ in the open air and natural sunshine. Furthermore, teeth could be brushed at the even more open air trough basins adjacent to the party and dinner tents. The showers were at least enclosed with thick plastic shrouded fencing, but there was a crane lift in the road outside where members of the public could rise up to take a peek at those under the showers and beyond, just to satisfy their curiosity that Metalheads do also perform acts of cleanliness… and that we really do exist in droves.

The Metalcamp mega party tent festivities went on from early evening until the wee hours of the morning, with Metal DJ’s, sexy exotic dancers, and booze in abundance. The camp also boasted a supermarket, working in conjunction with the local Edeka store, providing the sale of all sorts of grocery type products such as meat, fresh fruit and veg, booze, bags of ice, charcoal, soap, toilet paper, over the counter medicines etc… if it wasn’t in stock, the product could be ordered with a delivery time of only one hour! German efficiency at it’s best.

Bang Your Head 05A plentiful, reasonably priced and assorted variety of delicious, freshly cooked food could even more conveniently be bought at the festival site. An addition to the many food stalls, there was also a shopping mecca, the biggest by far of these merchandise stalls was the famous “Metalbӧrse” – the largest online store in Germany, in the flesh. Here, in the massive tented halls, was a huge selection of clothing, CD’s, vinyl, jewelry and all sorts of other alternative accessories. This was the only store with a cover charge. Many other amazing stalls were on the premises and a person could go crazy shopping there… both literally and figuratively… especially if a tight reign wasn’t kept on the budget!!

All in all, a fantastic Metal festival, excellent music and loads of good fun!!! It goes without saying that the best times are had when we can bang our heads \m/ !!!

Photo credits: Linda Evermore & Guido Wagner
See full set of photos at the metal4africa facebook page
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