Over in  a land called Belgium lies a small but beautiful town that was technically built not long after WWI seeing as it was completely leveled during the battle. This town is known as Ypres (Ieper in ‘murcan). Beyond the city limits of this town lies many farms and there you will behold a monumental dual sound stage festival in the late summers. This darling little festival unleashes many bands from several different styles of metal and hardcore and even some of their close friends.

One of the most important things about this festival is that it has an ethical message. A lot of what the festival and its bands are about is a forward thinking lifestyle so it heavily promotes things such as recycling, tolerance, and veganism. I only felt like I was being preached to about veganism once and it was only because a band was buying time because another was late and it was otherwise just the occasional quip about how racism is not all that cool and neither is riddling the farmland we were on with toxic green radiation left from empty pop bottles. That may be all fine and dandy, but the most important thing to us is the music and how much fun can be had at such a place.

The lineup was excellent for people that dig both hardcore and metal, otherwise metal only fans would have way too much free time here. The genres the lineup spans include hardcore, screamo, post-hardcore, sludge, doom, death metal, grindcore, beatdown hardcore, powerviolence, thrash, metalcore, and old school deathcore that was actually death metal + hardcore and not chugga chugga town and the massive h8000 Belgian scene.  There’s a lot of variation here but even more crossover appeal than one would expect.

The festival consisted of one main outdoor stage and a smaller tented stage. Only one band would be playing at a time so one could set up while one was playing. The main outdoor stage was small for a festival and was not barricaded so that during a lot of the hardcore performances people were welcome to jump up there and stomp around, yell some favorite lyrics into the mic of the vocalist permitted it, and then dive off like a true underground hardcore show instead of a large restricted metal festival where security guards want to either fondle your jibbles or assault you for wearing black, having too many piercings, and not shaving the hair off your neck. Hardcore shows are way more awesome because of the general energy and atmosphere onset by the ability to interact with the artists that most venues over here would murder you for. Then you slap it in the middle of a gorgeous country/town and times it by 30? Everything you could ever want.

I took a bike back and forth from the festival and it took about a 10 minute ride doing average/slow speed to get back to town so walking back for food during the middle of the day is absolutely doable if you don’t mind missing a performance or two considering the time it takes to actually eat the food.

The idea of this trip was to promote the fact that the whole area of Flanders in Belgium has a lot of youthful summertime festivals going on and that people should make trips over there to go see them, and you definitely should.

-MW

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