MetalCamp 2009 – Tolmin, Slovenia, 02/07/2009 – 08/07/2009

September 17th, 2009
by Hanntu
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The night wasn’t over yet, with a strip tease show at the Metal Bar – the problem was that there was more ‘strip’ than ‘tease’, the (admittedly lovely) girl got her kit off within five minutes! We spent the rest of the night drinking and wandering around, getting a last glimpse of the Metal Beach and the beautiful, ice-black river. For my part at least, there was a general feeling of contentment, a realisation that this is as good as metal festivals get.

The next day, we packed up to leave amid the ever-present threat of rain. The gloom overhead and the grim anticipation of a six hour bus ride was a bit of a downer, as were the departures of the various members of our crew. For some, it was back to England via Venice; for one, it was back home to Australia (inevitably, he missed every bus, train and plane he was meant to catch and reached home days after he was meant to arrive); for my lovely co-reviewer, it was back to London via Ljubjana (she missed the flight too – dopey!); and for the rest of us, it was back to Ljubjana and on to Vienna and Kaltenbach Open Air festival.

HannTu’s final words

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This is one of the best metal festivals in the world to go to, and I can’t think of many superlatives to adequately describe what’s so great about Metal Camp. I guess one word I’d use is ‘comprehensive’. Its location is amazing – the town of Tolmin fulfils the MetalCamper’s every conceivable need. Food, restaurants, supermarkets, a post office, petrol stations, booze, a national park and a stunning river, what else can you ask for? The Slovenian people of Tolmin are charming and beautiful (the ladies), enduring hordes of loud and muddy metalheads rampaging through their supermarkets and restaurants with a smile and helpful demeanour.

The mix of bands did not leave much to be desired, and in five days of music on two stages, everyone surely finds something he or she will enjoy. It’s a great move putting the bands late in the day: it gives people the chance to recover from the night before and to actually see something of the town and its surroundings. And also to get bladdered in time….

The food in the festival ground itself is pretty good for a festival, and the common consensus among us was that the pizza was pretty much superb (one of the pizza girls was a real darling as well, as were the lovely gals at the Metal Beach coupon counter and at the token exchange on the final night). I heard good reports about the vegetarian risotto, and the wursts were pretty good. On the flip side, avoid the vegetarian burger and the kebab. I tried the horse burger, but ‘meh’ would describe it best.

On the liquid front, the beer seemed to consist primarily of Lasko, Slovenia’s own pivo. There’s a good selection of cocktails at the Metal Beach bar at a decent price, with shots and mixers also having a presence. The juices and soft drinks are predictably expensive, but the beauty of living so close to a town is that you can bring your own booze into the campsite and get smashed before entering the stage area, which is only a two to fifteen minute walk away, depending on where you’re camped.

The toilets were pretty clean and plentiful, unlike Hellfest, Wacken and Bloodstock, for shame. It’s a real joy not to have to clog your arse full of Immodium so as to avoid having a shit. And if you really really need a shower and don’t want to pay a couple of euro for one of their showers, you can just jump into the river. Be prepared for frostbite.

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There’s been some complaints about how Metal Camp handled the awful weather and the mud. All I can say is that mud is a part of the festival experience, and is pretty much unavoidable, something that blights the biggest and smallest festivals alike. The weather was piss poor a lot of the time, and the mud at times was almost unbearable, but it says a lot about Metal Camp that I enjoyed myself in spite of the mud and rain.

I’ve more concerns about the poor sound on stage that affected a few bands than the mud and weather. For some bands, the sound was poorly balanced, for others, certain instruments were just completely lost. They need to sort that out.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience. Truly it was Hell Over Paradise, if Paradise were a beautiful location by a river in Slovenia and Hell was piss-poor weather. I’d say Metal Camp has a lot of things going for it, and it is just the perfect size: big enough to attract top drawer bands and up-and-coming acts, but small enough to be intimate and make the camping experience enjoyable as opposed to barely tolerable. So in closing, hvala, adio and nasvidanya, thanks and see you next year!

Favourite performances:

1. Blind Guardian

2. Amon Amarth

3. Vader

4. Satyricon

5. Destruction

6. Kreator

Best discovery:

That sipping pina coladas on a beach ISN’T actually as gay as it sounds. No, seriously, Negura Bunget did surprise me in a pleasant way.

Highlights:

Having a chat with Schmier backstage, one of my metal idols. Climbing the damn mountain in the rain, in shorts, sandals and fogged-up glasses and a beer in one hand. Getting hammered on grappa while the rain bashed down and the lightning flashed and thunder roared.

Biggest disappointment:

Not really a disappointment, but Dimmu’s behaviour, especially when contrasted to the professionalism of Satyricon the night before. Nightwish weren’t up to par either.

Most interesting/valuable item purchased:

I only bought the official Metal Camp t-shirt and a Bolt Thrower t-shirt, but there were some really cool stuff at the merch stands in the Metal Market, and for decent prices too.

Trease’s Highlights

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Trease and Phil Anselmo

Making friends from all over the world, especially Jill and Jenn from Terrorizer, Ruth and Haico from Fury Rocks in the Netherlands, creating our own Gash Thrash band (the better CCR!), shouting out ‘Manowar!’ or ‘Marion!’ at every given opportunity and of course experiencing the natural beauty of the rivers, gorges and forests of Slovenia.

Biggest Disappointment

The rain. Every fucking day.

Is this England???!

Most interesting/ valuable item purchased

I picked up a decent Death shirt and a pretty funky ring. Said ring was lost, found again in Ljubljana, returned to me by Hann back in London, and lost again due to my inability to keep track of my shit whilst pissed.

Random fans

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The Metal-Rules crew

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Arto Lehtinen (L) and Teemu Vahakangas (R)

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Trease Herriott (L) and Hann Ng (R)


Thanks to Ana Lipec and Metal Camp for the media passes!

http://www.metalcamp.com/

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